ode to the secret goal - and how to make it happen
Common wisdom says that when you set a goal — any goal — you should share it with someone. An accountability buddy. Someone who can keep you on task. That’s how you achieve the goal.
Except I’m gonna call bunk on that.
When I think back over my life, I realize that some of the biggest goals I ever set for myself were the ones that I never told a soul.
When I was 21, I decided to set a goal of entering law school. To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I just wanted to see if I could. (Besides, L.A. Law looked cool.) I didn’t tell a soul until I got accepted to the two law schools I applied for. I didn’t even tell my family until I was about to accept my offer from University of Houston Law Center.
When I was 22, I decided to set a goal of being signed to a modeling agency. I never told anyone when I got signed or even while I was modeling — it was just for a couple of years while I was in law school, never intended to be a career move — and people just slowly found out when they saw my picture in local magazines and newspapers.
Those are just two examples, but I’ve held my plans close to my vest at least a half a dozen times, for goals that I thought might be out of my reach. If I’m honest, often the real reason that I haven’t told people in the past was because I thought they might laugh at me. But still, somehow, keeping them secret made me more determined. And once I achieved them, and people expressed their surprise, my accomplishment felt even more meaningful. On the other hand, goals that I made public never felt as special, and often, I didn’t end up making them happen.
To this day, I still keep my biggest goals quiet … but I also have a few tricks I use to keep myself motivated and on task. So if you have a secret goal, one that you don’t want to tell people, here are they things I do that might help you make them happen:
Do morning pages, and add your goal to your daily intentions. A little over a year ago, I shared a practice I’d begun of setting intentions every day. I’ve kept this practice up since, where every morning I ask myself three questions that I use as journal prompts: (a) How can I feel healthy today? (b) How can I feel connected today? (c) How can I feel purposeful today? I write the answers to these questions, stream-of-consciousness, in my journal. It’s a huge part of my self-care.
But I’ve also found that when I have a secret goal, it often can fit under one of those three categories. So I force myself to answer that question for my goal. It helps me keep my goal at the forefront of my mind.
Add that intention to your day’s to-do list. Once I’ve come up with how I can incorporate my goal into an action for the day, I add it to my to-do list. Because I refer to my to-do list all day long, I’m reminded of my goal all day, and a small step that can move me to it.
Come up with a mantra to repeat to yourself. It doesn’t have to be profound. (I am, after all, the person who came up with the ridiculous “afroliciousby50” when I decided to grow my hair out 6 years ago. But, admittedly, even though that was a public goal, the mantra worked.) I’ve always found that if I could distill my goals into a catchy phrase that I could remember easily, it helped guide decisions I made to stay on track. So if it’s “10 pounds in 10 months” for a weight loss goal or “Freedom from the Man 2020” for a goal of starting your own business — whatever works to keep your goal front of mind.
So there you go, friends — a few little tricks to make your secret goal happen.
(Although honestly? These will likely work if you have an accountability partner, too.)
did you miss the news? lime retreats is now open.
Speaking of goals, if you’d like the chance to hang out with me and an intimate group of light-chasers and goal-makers, consider joining me for the brand new Lime Retreats on Saturday, November 16th, for a dream-making, goal-setting, strategy-activating day retreat with good food, good music and good fun! Held in a funky art gallery in downtown Houston, the day promises to set you on your way to curating a joyful life.
Click here or the button below to register — space is very limited.