Part 1 – Goal setting strategies
My name is Petter Sigvaldsen and I am one of the founders of the company that has developed and built the NoLimit-app.
Since we released the first version of the app to the market we have received a lot of positive feedback, and of course some feedback about the complexity of the app.
We totally understand the feeling that the goal setting app might seem complex and demanding for the user, and thus I decided to share how I use the app with you so that you might see how this can apply to yourself. You might get some inputs that can help you get your process going but most importantly I hope my story will make you understand the process and accept that we do not manage to get everything done immediately.
NoLimit- goal setting app is built to be a facilitating tool for your growth and it only works when you actually do things that will make you improve your life standard.
Although the app is built so that you can define several goals in your life, I have chosen to build mine with one main goal. My goal is quite big and requires that I use all the six areas defined in the app. The procedure I have used might be a bit different from what you planned to do, and please remember that there is no one right way to do this – you do what is best for you. It is important that you understand the various levels you can use this tool. It ranges from a simple task administration towards a goal in the near future on the one side, to encompass the complexity of developing several aspects in your life to bring forth your potential.
Step one: identify the goal I want to accomplish
In order to use the goal tracking app, I went for the latter and thus the procedure started with finding the goal that I must strive hard to achieve: To live a Life I am proud of.
In the beginning, this might sound a bit “goofy”. It did to me as well, but when I gave it some time to mature, it became the goal I wanted and needed to achieve. Needless to say, the process of concluding, that this is my goal did not come up by itself. My goal is a result of a process where I juggled thoughts in my head for a day or two along with a specific exercise I chose to use.
Goal setting exercises
There are of course many exercises that can help you in this process. For those of you who already have a clear goal, whether it is to build a new career, become world champion, complete an ongoing project that has been neglected, spend more time with your family or whatever it is, good on you – then get things going. All journeys start with the first step. If you find this part a bit difficult, then you should try one of these tasks I am describing below. I used the first one, but I am just as fond of the second one.
- The old person is looking back at his/her life. You should imagine yourself as an old person, and reflect on the life you have lived. What are the memories you can look back at? Which stories can you tell? How do you feel? Who are you with? Specify this as much as possible, if you get tired or frustrated then relax and take a break. You might want to let this process mature, not to worry just put it aside for a while and pick it up again later. Do not let the break be too long, maximum a day or two. When you initiate this process, it continues to work in your head even when you leave it aside and it becomes easier to complement the document when you go back to it again. This exercise paints a picture of how you want to live your life and with this, your lifelong goal should emerge for you.
- The best version of me. Imagine yourself in the future. Everything has gone just like you wanted it to. You have been striving hard and reached your goals. All of your dreams have materialized and you have achieved your potential to the full extent. See how everything has concluded in the best possible way, it turned out just like you wanted.
Set your timer watch at 15 minutes and start the countdown. Your task is to write down everything you see in the future with as many details as possible: where do you live? Who are around you? How do you feel? How do you spend your days? How have you developed as a person?
The only rule here is that you must write continuously for the 15 minutes without a break. If you run out of things to write then start repeating the things you have already written. Don’t mind grammar or anything, no one – not even you – are going to read it afterward.
When the 15 minutes are out, you complete your sentence and then the writing is done. You now set the timer for 5 minutes and start the countdown. You should close your eyes and imagine everything you have written like a movie with as many details as possible.
Repeat this exercise for two or more days and you will see one or more important goals in your life that you can start working towards.
There are many sources that have described these exercises. The first one has been in my head for 15-20 years, but it was when I read a version of it in the book called “Meningen med hela skiten” by Nina Åkestam I managed to specify the full content of the exercise (I am not sure if the book is in any other language than Swedish). The second one is taken from the book “Må bra” by Mats & Susan Billmark, but can also be found in other books (King, L.A (2001). The health benefits of writing about life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, (27(7)), 789-807.
The goal must challenge me
Regarding the goal defined, I felt the need to emphasize that the goal reflects the things I want to achieve without being affected by the past. My goal defined comprises the foundation for how I can be the person I want to be and to provide support to those around me. It is a goal that will challenge me to continuously look for the things in my life that is important, force me to evaluate my decisions and to keep me focused on the daily things to make up the puzzle called my life. It is a goal that triggers me with goal tracking apps and will help me – to become a better me.
My thinking process gave me several answers to why this is important to me:
- I want to minimize the time I spend on things that are not important.
- I want to work towards something that challenges me and require me to maintain focused and disciplined.
- I want to feel that the things I do, not only brings me forward but also supports people around me and those who connect through my work.
- In the evening, I should be able to evaluate my day as challenging and according to my expectations.
- When I grow old, I should be able to look back at my life and find that I made a difference for the better.
- I should be able to tell stories to people, so they understand that most of the things are possible, if they put sound effort to the things they do.
And more importantly; I believe I can accomplish this, the process starts now with the use of our NoLimit-app.
My first step towards my goal is taken and the information is recorded into the system.
For reasons you will learn through my story, it becomes clear that I had to set the time for this goal a bit forward in time. I try not set it so far ahead that I could feel that it is possible to postpone my tasks and start it later.
One day, or day one? I choose day one.
My date for accomplishing the goal of “live a life I am proud of” is set to December 31st, 2018. When I write this text, the calendar reads July 2017 so we are talking about 17 months to accomplish my goal, and there are lots of work to do for me to get there. I do not have the full overview of all the tasks I must accomplish. I know some and those are the ones I will be starting with – I am confident that the rest will rise naturally on my path.
The PQM roadmap – dedicate time
At this point I feel confident that I have completed the first step of my journey that includes the first three elements of the PQM roadmap (Goal, Why and When), it feels good and I am eager to continue.
The challenge here is, that this process has taken quite some time. This is probably easier to accept for me who knows what is to come than for all new users that haven’t seen the app procedure. The actual typing in the app doesn’t take that long, but the process of identifying valid information to put into the app is a different story. Unfortunately, it is a paradox that we have worked hard to design the app so that you can easily get going on your journey – to become a better you.
If you do not dedicate time in the beginning to define a sound goal for you that stimulates the extra effort required then your journey will probably not be worthwhile. Hence providing shortcuts, in the beginning, to get you going can easily result in frustration later. It’s not a situation we want to put you in. However, if you already have a clear goal which you want to achieve when you download this goal tracking app, these initial steps should not take too long and only strengthen your belief in your goal, maybe with some corrections.