S7 E2 | Three Reasons Traditional Goal Setting Doesn't Work (Julie Ross)
Julie H. Ross believes that every child needs a feast of living ideas to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. As a former school teacher, curriculum coordinator, and assistant director of a homeschool academy, Julie has worked with hundreds of students and parents over the past 20 years. She has also been homeschooling her own five children for over a decade. Julie developed the Charlotte Mason curriculum, A Gentle Feast, to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to provide a rich and abundant educational feast full of books, beauty, and Biblical truth. Julie lives in South Carolina. When she’s not busy homeschooling, reading children’s books, hiking, or writing curriculum, you can find her taking a nap.
Julie Ross | Instagram
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Julie Ross Welcome to The Charlotte Mason Show, a podcast dedicated to discussing Miss. Mason's philosophy, principles, and methods. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and it is my hope that each episode will leave you inspired and offer practical wisdom on how to provide this rich, living education in your modern homeschool. So pull up a chair. I'm glad you're here.
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Julie Ross Hey, everyone, I want to talk to you today about why traditional goal setting doesn't work. As the New Year approaches, we tend to set goals for ourselves--New Year's resolutions, those kind of things. And oftentimes that might motivate us and give us some direction for a couple of weeks, but most people don't actually ever achieve those goals or meet their New Year's resolutions. And by February, they've moved on and completely forgotten about them. So in order to see lasting change, in order to see the growth and the things that we want to accomplish in our life actually come to fruition, we have to set our goals differently. So today I want to talk about why traditional goal setting often fails. If you're not familiar with me, my name is Julie Ross. I am the CEO of A Gentle Feast: A Charlotte Mason Homeschool Curriculum. I also have my own podcast. I'm a keynote speaker for several homeschool conventions. I'm a single mom of five kids and I do a lot. And people often ask me, "How do you do all these things?" And one of the secrets has been setting goals and being very intentional about the direction and the actions that I want to take in my life. I have been teaching goal-setting classes for the past eight years, just because I think it's so powerful and this process is so important. I also am a certified Christian life coach and I've seen the power of coaching, and changing our thoughts and our mindset, and how that can make it so much easier to reach the goals and ambitions that we have. So I want to combine those two areas--goal setting and coaching--and kind of give you three simple practical strategies here.
Julie Ross So let's talk about why traditional goal setting often fails. The first reason is because we lack vision. If you don't know where you're going, how do you expect to get there, right? Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker, had as a quote, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." So often our goals don't hold any effectiveness, and the reason is because we don't have a vision for what we want in our lives. I don't know about you, but as a little kid, I had all these hopes and dreams for what I wanted my life to be like. And it was always waiting to get to the next thing, right? Like, "Oh, I can't wait till I'm in high school." Or, "Oh, I can't wait till I can drive." Or, "Oh, I can't wait till I get to college." And then, "I can't wait till I get married." And then, "I can wait till I have children." It was always these visions of what could come in the future, and these dreams and these hopes for what I wanted. But then somehow in my thirties, in the midst of having lots of children and lots of different demands on me, and different constraints in my life, I just stopped dreaming. I stopped setting goals and my life just kind of became whatever was being thrown at me. That was what I was constantly dealing with. I didn't have any more vision and purpose and direction, and it wasn't until I went to this goal-setting seminar and just got a fire again for what could be possible. And like I said, ever since then, and implementing some of those principles I've learned, I've taught goal setting to other people as well. And so it's really key to kind of wake up to who God has created you to be and the potential that you have in your life. In Ephesians 5:10, it says, "Wake up, Sleeper, let Christ shine on you. Be careful how you live. Make the most of every opportunity." And so I really feel like the enemy can just kind of lull us to sleep, and we kind of just drift from one year to the next and we don't have clarity, and we don't have direction, and we're not being the people that God has created us to be and making the impact that He wants us to make because we're kind of lulled asleep with all the different expectations of responsibilities and things that we have going on. And when we don't have clarity about where we're going and what we want--when we stop dreaming--it makes goal setting really difficult. So we can set a New Year's resolution because everybody else is doing it, or write down a New Year's goal because that's "what we're supposed to do" at the beginning of the year, but we're not actually really motivated to do it. It really doesn't fit into our core design, and our core desires, and our core values. So I think it's super important before you sit down to set any goals, to let yourself dream again. Develop a vision of what is possible. I heard a speaker say that "We greatly overestimate what we can accomplish in the year, and vastly underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years.".
Julie Ross So having this long-term vision: What do I want my life to look like ten years from now? It's probably going to be very different, especially if you're a mom. Like you might have all your kids in the house ten years from now, right? Or, you know, be doing something else careerwise. But having this kind of long-term path can kind of give you some direction and focus on where to go so that you're setting goals that really tune into who you are. Take some time to dream. Okay. Just an ideal day...an ideal experience... What would it be like? You can think about what-- Let's say it's the end of 2023 right now, and you are sitting there celebrating New Year's Eve with your family. What do you want to have accomplished? How do you want to feel? What are some things you have wanted to experience? Setting that dream and spending some time journaling-- Getting to know yourself-- I had to kind of go through that process because, honestly, I forgot how to have fun. At some point I just forgot what I actually like to do. My counselor encouraged me to list ten things that I like to do, or wanted to learn to do (maybe some things that I had liked to do as a child that I didn't do anymore). And that was such a challenging task for me because I really had shut down that part of me. And that was really contributing to kind of my lack of joy in life. My lack of being able to have fun, to tune into the things that I wanted-- The part of me that God made me to be-- By shutting that all down, it creates a life that none of us really are too excited to wake up to. So the first step, I believe, in setting effective goals is coming up with a vision, the clarity of where you want to be, what direction you're headed.
Julie Ross Today's episode is brought to you by A Gentle Feast. A Gentle Feast is a complete curriculum for grades 1 through 12 that is family-centered, inspired by Miss. Mason's programs and philosophy, and is rooted in books, beauty, and biblical truth. You can find out how smooth and easy days are closer than you think at AGentleFeast.com.
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Julie Ross The second reason traditional goal setting doesn't work is because you are the same person on December 31st as you are on January 1. So it's not like you wake up on New Year's morning and you suddenly are the person that can accomplish all the goals and desires and dreams that you have. So how do we get ourselves from where we are right now to the person that can accomplish those goals? The person you are right now may not be able to accomplish the goals that you want. You might have to grow and stretch and change yourself. And quite often we don't want to do that. Okay, our brains are naturally wired for safety. We want to do things that feel comfortable. We don't want to challenge ourselves. We don't want to stretch ourselves. And all these fears and doubts and "what ifs"-- And we overanalyze and over plan and overthink anything, we don't actually take any action on the goals and the things that we want to achieve because we're so kind of stuck in this "over-analysis paralysis" I've heard it called. And so we have to be willing to change. We have to know what steps we can take to overcome those fears, to relieve those doubts--how we need to look at our thoughts, how we need to approach the world. What kind of person do I need to be to accomplish that goal? Perhaps there's some habits that we need to change in order to become the person that can accomplish that goal. So traditional goal setting often doesn't work because we're not willing to change who we are. We can't expect to achieve different things than what we currently have in our life if we stay the same.
Julie Ross And then the last reason why traditional goal setting doesn't work is because our goals often lack clarity and a compelling "why". So we aren't really motivated. We don't really have a clear vision of where we're going. We're not really willing to work on our thoughts and our mindsets that are holding us back. And so we make really vague goals because: "That's what everybody's doing, so, you know, I want to get healthy." And we make this vague goal. How do you ever know if you accomplished that?! What does that even mean? Like, getting healthy to me might mean completely something different to you, right? So when am I going to do that? How am I going to do that? There's no actual steps into the goals that we're creating. They're very vague. And vague goals can't be achieved because you don't know if you've actually achieved them. You have to make them measurable. You have to have some kind of result. And you have to have some kind of timeline of "I'm going to do this by this date". And then you have to have a compelling "why"--a reason why you want to achieve this goal. Not because you're writing New Year's resolutions and everybody else is doing it. That's really not going to motivate you. I mean, it might motivate you for, like I said, a couple of weeks. But by the end of January, that self-determination and motivation isn't just going to carry you through. So you need a compelling "why". So as you're thinking through setting your goals, WHY do you want to accomplish this? If it doesn't make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get taking action on that goal, you do not have enough of a compelling reason why. I've heard Tony Robbins say, "Your 'why' needs to make you cry." It needs to be so meaningful that, no matter what, you want to accomplish this goal. No matter how hard it is, no matter all the doubts and fears and emotions it brings up inside of you, no matter what obstacles you might meet along the way, no matter how hard it might be at times, no matter how people might react to you trying to achieve this goal and talk you out of it, if you don't have a compelling "why", you are not going to be able to sustain that.
Julie Ross So as you're writing your goals, think through, "Why do I want to do this? What is the motivation?" Make your goals clear, like I said. Not something vague like, "I want to get healthy." Make it clear: "I want to run a 5K." Well, when are you going to run? "I'm going to go online. I'm going to look. Okay. There's a 5K in April. Okay. How am I going to train for that? What do I need? I might need some new running shoes. I might need to find some friends who already are running and ask them to maybe run with me sometimes, or help me come up with a training plan, or ask them questions." Get really clear on what some steps are that you can take. Don't try to, like I said, overanalyze it too much and get stuck in the planning that you never actually take action. But make the goal very specific and very clear and then have a compelling "why". Why do you want to run a 5K? "I don't know. It sounds like a good thing to do." Okay, that's not going to motivate you at 7:00 on a Saturday morning to get up and run when it's 29 degrees outside. So you need to have a compelling reason: "I want to be in good enough shape that I can play with my kids, and I have enough energy and stamina that when my child asked me to come play ball with them at the end of the day, I can go out there and physically I'm able to do that." Maybe a compelling reason would be, "I want to set a good example for my kids. I want them to see what it's like to set a goal, to reach that goal-- I want to show them that I prioritize my health and well-being, and I want to set that example for them." Those reasons would make me get up out of bed at 7:00 in the morning, right?
Julie Ross So as you're setting through your goals, if you don't really have that compelling of a "why", it's probably not something you really, really care about. So again, going back to that vision and that core of what your dreams truly are, what your desires truly are-- If you could care less if you are able to run a 5K, and you want to-- Maybe like you always had this burning desire to learn how to ice skate. And, you know, you want to express yourself that way and you want to see if that would be something that would help you maintain your fitness goals. Don't just pick something because everybody else is doing it, or you feel like you have to because it's the beginning of the year. You need to have something that really speaks to the core essence of who God has created you to be to help you reach that vision--the step one that I was talking about--that's going to help you have that determination to work on the things that will come up as you are working on your goal-- Quite honestly, reaching the goal is great, but the journey means so much more. The process that it is going to take, the growth that's going to have to happen within you to reach that goal is going to change the trajectory of your life. That's going to change the person that you become. And the great thing about reaching little goals like this is it has a compounding effect as you learn to do one thing, as you develop new habits that are going to lead to this goal...Woah! Well, now you can accomplish this area of your life and make the goal they're working on that as well. And it kind of has the snowball effect. But when we make goals that are vague, they don't mean anything to us, there's no timeline, we're not willing to put in the effort to grow and change, then, quite honestly, it's discouraging. We think, "Oh, I'm never going to be able to be successful. I'm never going to be able to create the life of my dreams." Because we give up on ourselves way too easily and we don't ever see these things through. And the problem, not necessarily, is us and what we're doing, it's just the goals were wrong to begin with.
Julie Ross So I hope that kind of helps give you a little bit of clarity as you might be working on setting your goals this time of year. If you would like more in-depth help with this and you would like someone to kind of be your coach, be your guide, kind of walk you through this as those fears and those doubts come up, as the procrastination starts to set in and you go into overanalysis, over-planning mode, as you want to give up on yourself and you need some accountability...I've created an eight-week course called Propel. It is focused on goal setting and life coaching combined. So I will be joining you on weekly calls where I will walk you through some of these principles on how to set better goals, but then also walk you through for the next several weeks after you've set the goals, to help you work through the mindset and the fears and doubts and procrastination that will come up so that you can actually achieve the goals and get the results that you want. If you'd like to join me for Propel, go to AGentleFeast.com/Propel. We'll also put a link in the show notes. I love to have you join this amazing community of other women where we're going to keep each other accountable and encourage each other to make our hopes and dreams a reality. Thanks everyone.
Julie Ross Hey, thanks for listening to today's episode. If you'd like to know more about the Charlotte Mason style of education, check out AGentleFeast.com and click on the "Learn More" button for a free four-day introduction course. If you'd like the show notes for today's episode, you can find those at Homeschooling.mom and click on "The Charlotte Mason Show". If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, could you leave us a quick review? This will help other homeschooling parents, like you, get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @HomeschoolingDotMom--that's @HomeschoolingDotMom--and let us know what you thought of today's episode. Don't forget to check out the people at Medi-Share because you deserve healthcare you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share, and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/MediShare.
Julie Ross Have you joined us at one of The Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the United States. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there. Until next time, I hope your days are full of books, beauty, and biblical truth. Thanks for listening.