"The purpose of a goal is not to achieve the goal."
Today we’re answering the following questions, together:
- Do goals still matter, or should we just focus on being in the moment and enjoying our lives?
- Or can we do both?
- And if goals do matter, is there any part of the process of achieving a goal that is more important for us to focus on than the goal itself?
- And if there is a part of the process of achieving our goals that deserves more of our focus, what is that and how can we harness it to achieve and experience everything we want in life?
I’ve recently overcome some struggles when it comes to setting and achieving goals, and in this episode, I’m asking questions as I explore and share how my perspective and practice has changed over time.
You’ll learn some of the pros and cons of goal setting, how to identify the real purpose of your goals (and why it’s rarely about successfully achieving them), and some simple steps on how to effectively set goals and establish effective behaviors.
- How goal setting can stop you from being present.
- Why we often falsely believe that achieving our goals means that we’ve succeeded – and why our feeling of satisfaction after achieving a goal can ring so hollow.
- Why moving in the direction of a goal matters more than hitting a target or achieving a specific outcome.
- The process I learned at 19 to set and achieve goals – and how accountability helped me pursue sales records, write books, and grow every business I’ve ever aspired to build.
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is Hal Elrod, your host. Thank you for tuning in today. I am grateful that you're here and I hope you get a lot of value out of our discussion today. And the discussion is around a question: What's more important than goals? Now, this is the Achieve Your Goals Podcast, and depending on the context of that question, in fact, if it's taken out of context or there is no context, you can answer the question, "What's more important than goals?” in a lot of different ways. You could say, well, sure, love is more important than goals or relationships are more important than goals or fulfillment or spirituality, God, all more important than goals. So, you could answer that really a lot of different ways. But let me give you the context through which we're discussing that question today. The context is around goals. So, when it comes to your goals, when it comes to goals in general, setting goals, achieve goals, what, if anything, is more important than the goal itself? And so, that's what we're going to talk about today. And I think that you'll get a new perspective on setting goals, achieving goals, what really matters most in your day-to-day life when it comes to your relationship with your goals. So, that's what we're going to go to today.
Now, before we dive into the podcast, if any of your goals involve either optimizing your health or writing a book or both, and I know those are two different categories by far, but if either your goals revolve around optimizing health or writing a book, I want to invite you to check out both of our sponsors today or one or both, depending on what applies to you. And I'm a customer of both of these companies. I’m a big fan, which is why I endorse them on the podcast. The first is Organifi and Organifi makes nutritional products, supplements that I've been taking for years. In fact, I don't know if I ever mentioned this on the podcast, but they were a sponsor at one of our first live events like five years ago at one of our Best Year Ever Blueprint events that are no longer going on. But Organifi, I take their protein powder every day, their probiotics. They've got green juice, red juice, they've got all sorts of different supplements, and they're made from whole food ingredients, not synthetic vitamins. So, if you're interested in checking out health-related products, go to Organifi.com/Hal and then use the code HAL at checkout to get 15% off of your entire order. And I hope you find something there that you love. Like I said, I'm a big fan of their products.
And last but not least, I want to give a shoutout to Self-Publishing School. You may have heard my interview with Chandler Bolt on the podcast a few weeks back. I've had Chandler on multiple times. He's a good friend of mine. He's the founder of Self-Publishing School and Self-Publishing School will essentially take your dream of writing a book and becoming an author and make it a reality in as little as 90 days. And personally, I paid for my sister to go through Self-Publishing School. We've had hundreds of members of the Miracle Morning community successfully write and publish their books through Self-Publishing School. And you can get a free training that I did with Chandler pretty recently and it's a free training on how to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days. Just go to Self-PublishingSchool.com/Hal. One more time, that is Self-PublishingSchool.com/Hal and you'll get access to that free training. And on the free training, Chandler may set up a special offer where you can get a free call with no strings attached with one of the Self-Publishing School coaches to actually get specific coaching and feedback on laying out your book and getting that started. So, yes, I think you'll get a ton of value from the training and then you can go further if you want. Of course, you don't have to.
So, if you want to boost your health, check out Organifi. If you want to write a book, check out Self-Publishing School. And if you want to learn what's more important than goals and how to achieve your goals, go ahead and I hope you enjoy today's podcast. Thank you so much for listening and enjoy!
Hal Elrod: Hey, goal achievers. It's Hal Elrod. Welcome to the podcast today. Members of the Miracle Morning Community and anybody else listening, whatever community you're a part of, thank you for being here today. I really, really appreciate it. And guess what? We're going to talk about today, believe it or not, we're going to talk about achieving your goals. We’re going to talk about goals, right? This is the Achieve Your Goals podcast. And I joked on our last episode. In fact, I joke on many episodes how I often stray from that topic, because since I named the podcast, it's evolved and hopefully, I have evolved. And yeah, we go down different rabbit holes. We approach different topics. It's what feels right in the moment. Sometimes my guests talk about all sorts of different things. And today, though, I thought, you know what, let's dive back into goals.
And what started today was the question, it was originally going to be the question that was the premise of the episode, which it still kind of is, but do goals still matter? That was the question I was going to ask for today. Do goals still matter? And so, today, I want to talk about, to answer that question, I want to talk about the pros and the cons of goal setting. Believe it or not, there are cons, right? I want to share a little bit about my experience as it pertains to setting and achieving goals and how my perspective has changed over time. And then, I want to ultimately help you identify and achieve everything that you want in your life, a.k.a., your most important goals. So, I want to share with you, okay, well, whether or not goals matter, if they do matter, how do you set them? How do you achieve them? If there's something that matters more, and that's really where we landed today is kind of, is there anything that's more important than goals? So, do goals matter? Yeah, I think goals matter for sure. There's a huge benefit to goals, and I owe a lot of my life, the quality of my life and success, however you might define that to my learning how to set and achieve goals when I was 19 years old. And I'll talk more about that here when we get into the kind of my background, my experience with studying and achieving goals, but let's start with the pros and the cons of goal setting.
So, here are the cons. Goals can take you out of the present moment. That's the first column that I want to share. Goals can take you out of the present moment, and if you listen to the podcast for a while, I've been talking a lot about the present moment and being present and how life is the moment, right? Life isn't what's happening tomorrow or next week or what happened yesterday or five minutes ago. This moment right now when you're listening to the podcast, this moment is life. Life is the moment. So, we've been talking a lot about the present moment, what goals can take you out of the present moment, because you're constantly, if you have a goal that is somewhere out there in the future, whether it's your annual goals that you're pursuing or you've got your goal for the week or whatever it is, a goal inherently is some future point.
And so, one of the cons of goal setting is it takes you out of the present moment. One of my favorite lines from any song is from a Jason Mraz song. In fact, the song is called, I think it's the song Living in the Moment, interestingly enough, but Jason Mraz, the line in the song, and it's one of my mantras. You've heard of me say it before, if you're listening to the podcast, life is for Living. Life is for living. It's such simple, almost too simple where it could just kind of fly right over our head and go, yeah, yeah, life's for a living, got it, but what does that mean? Life is for living this moment, living this moment that is life, not working toward projecting some future moment. Now, I'm going to contradict myself as we go forward because there's value to working towards a future moment, but we'll get to that in a few minutes here, but goals take you out of the present moment very often, right?
Now, to be clear, you can have a goal that you're working towards and simultaneously. So, even though it's a future moment, that goal, it's a future goal simultaneously be fully present to the task at hand, fully present to every moment while you know, in the back of your mind, your peripheral vision, you see that there's something on the horizon that you're working towards. There is a future goal that you are working towards, but you can still be fully present. So, it's not one or the other. It's not that you can't be present, but a lot of folks myself, I've been guilty of this, when you're working towards goals, sometimes, you delay satisfaction, you delay fulfillment. We'll all be happy when I get there. I'll feel fulfilled when I finally achieve that thing I've been working so hard for so long. Until then, I'm not fully giving myself permission to actually feel satisfied, to feel whole because I'm missing that goal, I got to achieve that goal. So, in that way, you can take this out of the present moment.
The second thing, the second con, if you will, is that we often falsely believe that achieving goals means being successful. And when I say, falsely believe, that's not probably the best way to put it, because what I'm sharing, a lot of this is just ways to look at this. It's perspectives, it's not inherently black and white at all. Very few things are black and white, at least that's my belief. Very few things are black and white, some things are, but I think very few things. And there's a lot more gray, life is very fluid. And two people can look at the same exact thing, but two different perspectives create two different realities, experiences, feelings, etc. So, it's not black and white because you go, this horrible thing happened to me. And something else goes, well, the same thing happened to me, but I thought it was great. I mean, it was difficult, sure, but I really learned a lot and I grew from it. And the other person's going, what are you talking about? This is the worst thing ever. So, not black and white, same exact experience, but two different perspectives, two different approaches, responses, interpretations, create two different realities and maybe two different outcomes, right?
So, no, but I said we often believe that achieving goals means being successful, but think about that for a second. And by the way, when I say being successful, I always want to qualify that with your definition of success. I think society teaches us many definitions of success that are around materialism. And you work hard and you get a job, you make money, you buy stuff, and the more stuff you can buy, the more successful you are. The more money you make, the more successful you are. And is that really success, right? That's up to you. I talked about this a few weeks ago, I think that you take the person that is the multimillionaire celebrity who's living from the outside, you're like, oh, my God, they're living the perfect life. Like, that's the life of anyone's dreams, but maybe that same successful multimillionaire celebrity is stressed out all the time and they have anxiety because they're always trying to be on and perform, and they're always afraid of losing their fame and their fortune and they're afraid of other people not liking them. And you think about that, like, is that success to have all the material wealth, but internally, to be like a mess, or you're stressed and you're anxious and you're in fear?
So, when I say success, I think that that's your definition of it. And I know for me, the society's definition of success was the one that I adhered to for most of my life. If you saw the movie The Matrix, I think that's such a beautiful metaphor. It's a sci-fi action movie, but the metaphor is that we are plugged into the matrix. We're plugged into the matrix, we have this society that we live in, it's created these paradigms and these expectations. And you grow up going, oh, I'm supposed to do this and this, and go to school and get a job and buy a house. And that's normal, that's success. That's this matrix that we've been plugged into. And I think that you reach a new level of consciousness when you unplug and you go, hmmm, I'm going to examine every belief that I have by first and foremost asking, how did I come to those beliefs? Did I come to those on my own accord? Did I evaluate all perspectives and possibilities, and then make an educated, informed conclusion as to what life was about, what success was, is, what matters most? Did I create my own paradigm? Or am I following along with society's, right?
And I know for most of us, and for me, for most of my life, it was society's paradigm, but here's the point, I hope you guys can handle and/or enjoy and/or gain value from my tangents, but I try to make them relevant and important here. So, think about what happens after you achieve your goals. So, I mentioned that one of the cons is that we believe achieving goals means being successful, but think about what happens after you achieve a goal. Right after you achieve it, you usually feel good, right? Typically, I achieve my goal, you achieve your goal, you feel good, sure, but how long does that feeling last? How rooted and sustained is that feeling of satisfaction after you achieve a goal? How long does that sense of accomplishment last? And then what happens?
Well, you may have experienced that you kind of feel empty, right? Like you achieve your goals if you work toward it so hard for so long, and then you finally get there and you might have felt like something is missing. Like that goal then brings you everything you thought that it would, that fulfill, you thought, oh, once I achieve the goal, I've arrived, but what do you do then? You set another goal, you go, oh, well, I made a million dollars. Well, you often go into that fear mode. You're like, oh, gosh, well, I don't want to lose it. What should I do with it? I'm going to be taxed on it. Should I– Right. So, that often comes with goal achievement, depending on the nature of the goal, if it can turn into fear or anxiety, right? So, what happens is we usually set another goal once we achieve a goal.
So, here's the point. It begs the question, is it achieving the goal that brings you fulfillment, like true sustained fulfillment? Or is it pursuing the goal in which we experience fulfillment? Is it pursuing the goal where you go, wow, I woke up today, I committed to do these things to work towards this goal I have, I committed to these behaviors, these actions. And I did it today, I followed through, right? So, meaning is the fulfillment when the goal is achieved, or is it every night when your head hits the pillow? Is it during the day when you're engaged in the right activities, the activities you committed to, is that where fulfillment is found? And I would argue that this is found more in your daily activities, your daily behavior, your follow-through. I would argue, or at least invite us to consider that our daily follow-through, our pursuit of the goal may, in fact, bring us more fulfillment than once we've actually arrived at the destination, because then what happens again, that feeling, if I did it starts to fade, starts to be replaced, a little anxiety, maybe a little fear, and then you go, well, what do we do next? What's next? What’s going to be next? What's next, right? And then you start the process over again, but then when you're engaged in the pursuit of the next goal, when you're engaging in the behaviors every day that you know are moving you forward, that are fulfilling you, that are making you better, that are bringing you the outcomes that you want in your life, both short term, in the moment, on the day, I give you exercise in the morning, you feel great.
So, for example, you want to lose 10 pounds. Well, once you lose the weight, that feels good, sure, but it's true that daily behavior. So, I said begging the question, is it achieving the goal that brings us fulfillment? Or is it pursuing the goal in which we experience that fulfillment? Or is it neither? Because when you pursue the goal, it can often be a stressful experience, right? I would imagine you've been there, feeling like you're not on track, and then you aren't sure if you're going to get there and then you fear failure and then you have a setback and then you second guess yourself and you go, wait a minute, is this even the right goal? You have a conversation with a friend who expresses this new idea that you've never heard, this new opportunity, and you go, wait a minute, I put all my energy into this one goal, but you just shared an opportunity or an option that I had never even thought of. And now, I'm second guessing, I'm thinking maybe I'm pursuing the wrong goal. So maybe it's neither the achievement nor the pursuit, because when you achieve the goal, you're left often with that void, wondering what's next.
Let's talk about the purpose of a goal for a minute. And if you've read The Miracle Equation, you may remember, I think it was Chapter 5, I think, going off to remember Chapter 4, Chapter 5. The chapter was titled A New Paradigm of Possibility: Your Goal is Not the Goal. And in that chapter, I explained, it was really born, it was a philosophy. So, I was sharing my interpretation, it wasn't a completely original idea and I credited Jim Rohn, but with a philosophy that I learned from Jim where he said essentially, the purpose of a goal is not to achieve the goal. Sorry, I'm stuttering here, let me slow down. The purpose of a goal is not to achieve the goal, and I know it's counterintuitive, it goes against what most of us have been conditioned to believe, which is you set a goal and you try to hit the goal, and if you don't hit the goal, then you failed and you got to dust yourself off and try again, but however, Jim’s take on goals, which, by the way, has also been expanded on in the bestselling book, The ONE Thing, I don't know if they credit it to Jim, and these are all just ideas and different people have different ideas, but essentially, the purpose of a goal is to enable you to become a better version of yourself by using the goal as a target to inform your behavior. I'll say that again, and this is my memory, my interpretation of this philosophy, combining Jim Rohn and Gary Keller and Jay Papasan and The ONE Thing and my own life experience.
So, the purpose of a goal and this is worth writing down, if this isn't top of mind for you and you want to remember it, the purpose of a goal is to enable you to become a better version of yourself. I think that Jim said to become the type of person who can achieve goals. So, I'm bringing Matthew Kelly in here, Matthew Kelly talks about your purpose in life is to become the best version of yourself. So, the purpose of a goal is to enable you to become a better version of yourself by using the goal as a target to inform your behavior, meaning okay, here's the goal I want to accomplish, I'm going to reverse engineer and go, okay, what's the daily behavior that I've got to commit to, the actions, the habits, the rituals, the routines? What’s the daily process that I've got to identify and commit to that if I do that every day, it will move me in the direction of achieving that goal? I might hit it, I might achieve the goal, I might even surpass it and beyond my wildest dreams, I might fall short of it, but by having that goal articulated, identified, written down, committed to, it informs the behavior that you need to engage in on a daily or a consistent basis that will move you toward that goal. In other words, you set a goal so that you can figure out what you have to do in order to achieve it, and it's what you do, your behavior, not the goal itself, that provides the ultimate value for you.
So, for example, if you are trying to achieve your goal of losing 10 pounds or putting on 10 pounds of muscle, is it more important for you to focus on establishing and maintaining the behaviors of eating healthy foods and exercising every day? Then it is whether or not you lose 10 pounds or 9 pounds or 12 pounds, the outcome is the goal, but if you really stop and think, isn't the behavior of eating healthy foods that's going to benefit your entire body, your energy level, your health, your longevity, exercising every day, you're going to have more energy, be more fit, does it really matter how many pounds drop or are added at the end of your period that you're working towards this goal? So, is it the goal that's ultimately important or is it the behavior? In other words, could it be that identifying the behaviors that will keep your life in harmony, that will keep you happy, that will keep you healthy, that will give you freedom, that will enhance your relationships? Is identifying those behaviors and committing to those arguably more important than setting and achieving specific goals? Like if you had to pick, we're playing kind of right, you don't have to pick, I think it's an end game. You do both, I do both, I set goals, identify behaviors, but I'm not attached to the goal. If I hit the goal, great. If I don't, whatever, I try to set my life up so those are the rules that I play by.
And as long as I'm every day engaged in the behaviors that I've identified will move me in the direction of that goal, those behaviors are what I care about. Checking off, hey, today, I wrote down that I was going to do these three things, I was going to do this exercise, I was going to work on this, I was in a riot, I was going to do whatever it was. I got clear on my behaviors for the day, I wrote them down, I was accountable, I followed through, and I can go to bed satisfied. I can go to bed knowing that I am living to my full potential every single day. I won't hit all the goals I set, I don't know anyone that's ever hit every goal they set, some will hit, some will exceed, some will fall way short of, some will change direction mid goal and realize, oh, that was not the right goal, but it opened my eyes to maybe a different goal, but the behaviors is what I care most about.
So, do goals still matter? Going back to that question, do goals still matter? Absolutely. Absolutely, but remember, each one of your goals is just a target to inform and direct your behavior. Losing those 10 pounds isn't the ultimate goal, it's eating healthy foods, it's exercising regularly, those are the real objectives as those behaviors are what will make you healthy and fit and give you all the other benefits that come along with that. So, for every one of your goals, I encourage you to identify and focus more on the behaviors and less on whether or not you achieve the goal. I mentioned that I would share my experience with goals. I'm going to give you kind of like a quick history, if you will. So, for me, I'd say the first goal, and there were like, I guess in school, you have a goal of finishing a project, but it was never framed as a goal.
When I was 15, I set out to start my first business. It was a mobile DJ business. I had DJ’d a couple of school dances and then a buddy of mine, I go, hey, why don't we, like, see if we could save up money and buy DJ equipment and then start our own business where we could DJ school dances and like weddings and all the other things that they have mobile DJs to play music. My buddy loved the idea, so I didn't really set the goal. It wasn't formal, I’d never been formally taught how to set goals. So, it wasn't something I learned in school, which, by the way, talk about an important skill we should learn in school. Achieve Your Goals should be not just a podcast, it should be a class in high school or even before that, but I went out and I worked. I created fliers. I did all these behaviors, these activities, and I started this DJ business and it was really successful. I would earn a hundred dollars an hour for like a four or five or six-hour wedding. And then, as a 15-year-old, it was really great money. And so, it was really cool.
So, I achieved success in that because without even knowing it, I was setting goals to save up money. My first goal was to save up enough money to buy DJ equipment, and then it was buying the equipment and then it was okay. Now, I've got to get my first gig, and I got a wedding. My first wedding was a hundred bucks total. What a deal by the way, if you’ve ever done a wedding to have a DJ for a hundred dollars total, but I was 15, I don't know what I was doing. And then I started calling other DJ companies, that was my next goal, to find out what I should charge. So, it was setting all these little mini goals that led to me having this successful business eventually.
Now, when I formally learned goal setting, actually, it was phrases, hey, we're going to teach you how to set and achieve goals. It was when I was 19 years old and I learned how to set goals in my Cutco three-day sales training seminar. It was my first formal training on goal setting, and I decided to set a goal. It was a big goal to break the all-time company fast-start record, which essentially consisted of my first 10 days of selling Cutco and the record at that time, it was 1998, so I'm aging myself a little bit. In 1998, the record was $12,000 in sales. And so, I set the goal and with the help of my manager, I started kind of basic goal setting 101, which is where you set the goal, then you gotta break it down. If you just set a goal and go after it without any kind of roadmap, you're flying blind. So, for me, I just pulled up the calculator, I went, okay, $12,000 is the goal or that's the record I need to break. It's a 10-day fast start. It was 10 days, and then the fast start was over. And so, I simply divided 12,000 by 10 days, and it meant I needed to average about over $1,200 a day to break the record.
And now, here's the deal. What I'm going to share with right now, I was set up for success in a way that most people are not, most of us never have this training on how to set and achieve goals, and these components that are important, like breaking it down, for example. Most of us don't have accountability. So, here, I'm just going to kind of walk you through what I had that set me up for success, and to this day, these are crucial components. So, first and foremost, I got total clarity in writing on the goal. Number two, so that's step one right down the goal, and this is simple stuff, but it's still what works. You don't need a fancy process. In fact, the simpler it is, the more effective it is, the more proven it is, the better. So, step one is you’re getting clear on what is the goal, what's the outcome that excites you, that you want to write down?
Step two is breaking that down. If it's a numerical goal, for example, breaking it down into what are the daily milestones through the weekly milestones? And then it's going, what are the behaviors? So, for me, one of the keys is I had strict structured accountability. So, what I mean by that is my manager, Jesse Levine, is one of my close friends, he was in my wedding. I wasn't in his, though, that's kind of messed up. He went to Italy, I couldn't make the trip, but anyway, I still talk to Jesse probably once a month. This was what, 98? So, we're looking at 23 years ago he hired me and trained me. Anyway, so I had structured accountability where that consisted of, I had to call Jesse twice a day, minimum. And I usually called him between all of my appointments, but I called him every morning, and this was so I could tell him, “Hey, here's how many appointments I have scheduled for today. Here's how many calls I'm going to make today.” Like he wanted to know my numbers so that it helped me be clear, and then I was accountable because I was giving him my word that I was going to do these things.
And then, I didn't get off the hook because I knew that at the end of the day, I had committed, we made an agreement in training that I would call every morning and every night, not just me, there were other trainees that were doing the same thing. And every night, I had to call and give my daily report, which is like, okay, I did this. I had these many appointments set, I did these many appointments, one of them forgot, didn't show up, canceled, or whatever. Here, I sold this much on the appointments, and I have this many for tomorrow. I'm going to be up at 8:00 a.m. and making calls again in the morning. So, I had that accountability that structured specific accountability. A quick but important side note is how valuable it is for all of us to have a structured system for accountability because I'll tell you, if it wasn't for that commitment to check in with Jesse every morning and every night, I felt like giving up so many times during those 10 days.
My first day, I was all excited to break the record. I did three appointments that I thought would surely be some of my best customers. It was like my grandparents and their neighbors and a family friend, people that like, knew me and loved me and vice versa. And I went, no sale. So, I went, oh, for three, I didn’t sell anything. And I was like, oh, I talked about all this big game that I wanted to break this record. Well, how humiliating, like I didn't sell anything, and my confidence was shot. I'm like, I obviously am not cut out for this. And I called Jesse and I said, “Hey, Jesse, man, um, um, like, I don't know what to say. Today did not go as planned, I'm sorry. I guess I'm not going to break the record,” like I was ready to give up. And this is what happens so often when we pursue goals in isolation. When it's just us and nobody is on our team, nobody knows what we're working towards, nobody knows what we're committed to. This is why accountability is so crucial.
And later on, I took some notes and I'll give you some different strategies for setting up accountability. There are different options, different ways to do it, but that first day I called Jesse and I was ready to quit. And he said, “Hal, there's one of two ways you can approach this. Number one, you could quit and just give up because you had a bad day.” And I said, kind of joking, but kind of serious, like, “Yeah, that's what I'm leaning towards, like what's option number two?” He said, “or let me ask you a question. Do you want to be successful in life?” I said, “Of course.” And he said, “I know it's a rhetorical question,” he said, “but here's the thing, this is a gut check.” He said, “You can do, if you give up, obviously, that's a behavior that's not going to lead to success in any area of life.” He said, “rather than giving up and giving in to your feelings of failure, disappointment, whatever,” he said, “you can ask yourself, what would a successful person do in this situation?” He said, “You could think of somebody like your favorite athlete or a successful person in any walk of life. What would they do?” He said, “If I would imagine, they would get on the phone, they would make more calls, they wouldn't give up, they would keep going and give it everything they had until the last possible moment.”
And I believe that's arguably one of the most important and simplest secrets to success, which is to commit, to give it everything you have until the last possible moment, the last possible moment of a goal of your life, whatever it is. And so, if I didn't have that system for accountability, and accountability isn't just black and white where it's like, hey, do what you say you're going to do. Yeah, that's an element of it, but to me, effective accountability includes encouragement. It includes perspective. And when we're in the midst of challenge, when we're struggling, it's really hard to gain a positive, proactive, multi-dimensional perspective. Usually our perspective is like, I suck, this sucks, I feel like a failure, I'm humiliated, I'm not going to reach my goal now. Oh my gosh, what does that mean? Like, our perspective gets really narrow and can be really negative, but then you've been there before, right?
Even a conversation, you call a friend or you talk to your spouse, like I was having a tough day, I think, it was yesterday, I was stressed out about some financial stuff. And I went to my wife like, sweetie, I'm having a nervous breakdown, and we were in the kitchen. She's like, well, what's wrong? And I just talk to her about some financial stuff going on. And we kind of made a big investment recently. And I'm like, I got scared. I'm like, was this the right decision? Is this too big of an investment? I don't know. Are we doing the right thing? And she talked me off the ledge and she offered perspective and she encouraged and reassured me. And it's amazing how that changed my entire state of mind, my state of being. And we all need that at times. So, to me, having structured accountability, what I mean structured, it just means having someone or having a system or having something that is consistent. Like, if you had a coach before, I don't have a coach right now, I don't think, but like half of my friends are coaches, so they just coach me all the time. I get coaching all the time, but I don't have a coach that I’ve hired right now, but I've had many coaches over the last 20 years that I've hired. I've hired business coaches, I've hired spiritual coaches, I've hired life coaches, I've hired marriage coaches, you name it. I believe in outsourcing perspective and guidance.
And so, where was I going with that? Anyway, the point is having that systematic accountability is crucial because there will be days when you feel like giving up and if you don't have accountability, there's days where you go, well, nobody knows that I'm supposed to be making these calls or writing this thing or going to the gym or going for a run or going for a walk or cleaning the house or whatever. Nobody knows. I don't have any accountability. So, I think I'm just going to relax today and put off what I know I should do for another day. And in doing that, you put off that fulfillment that comes from doing what you should do for another day, and then that becomes a habitual way of being where you conditioned yourself to be okay with putting off the things you know you should be doing. And that becomes a habitual way of being with no accountability to correct that, that turns into a life that we didn't live to our full potential. I believe that's one of the biggest causes, in fact, in the Miracle Morning book, what's the chapter? I think it was the chapter, The 95% Reality Check, but I had what the causes of personal mediocrity are, meaning like what causes us to not fulfill our potential to live up to who we know we can be, to settle for less than we truly want and are capable of.
And one of the causes was a lack of accountability. And I believe that when you think about it, when you're a kid from age 0 to 18, you have all sorts of accountability. You got parents making sure you eat your vegetables so you're healthy and making sure you bathe so you're clean and making sure you go to bed on time so you're not sleep deprived. You got teachers holding you accountable to make sure you study for the task or do your homework because you got deadlines. You got all these people and they had accountability they give you, help you to be healthy and disciplined and focused and consistent and rested and nurtured and all those things, but then what happens is we turn 18 and for many of us, we leave the nest and we go off to college. And this isn't true for everybody, but I'd imagine at some point, you left your parents’ care. So, whatever point that was for you, whether it was going off to college, again, that, by the way, is society’s road map that we're conditioned to follow. Go to school, go to college, blah, blah, blah, take out a bunch of student loans, be in ridiculous amounts of debt, and then get a job to pay back your student loans.
That's another topic, but the point is when we leave that safe haven of accountability, that was our parents’ care and/or high school and/or teachers and counselors and the people that were looking out for us, for most people, and I was guilty of this, all of those positive behaviors, like going to bed on time and eating healthy, they went out the window. I used to have home-cooked meals from mom every night, I used to be in bed at a decent hour, I used to have limited screen time. Well, when I was at college, I would stay up till 5:00 in the morning playing video games. I remember Resident Evil. I played this game, Resident Evil, a zombie video game when I was 18 or 19, and then I would eat Jack in the Box like every single day. I don't even know how I lived through that time in my life. I didn't get sick, but the point is without accountability, we tend to give in to our short-term urges, we tend to choose short-term pleasure over long-term fulfillment, sustained fulfillment, we give in to our urges.
So, anyway, that's a long tangent on the importance of accountability. And so, whether it is not being accountable, not following through, needing that accountability, where when you give someone your word, you're going to follow through, well, now, you're leveraging your integrity, you're leveraging that relationship. And if it wasn't for my commitment to being accountable back when I was during that fast start trying to break that record, if it wasn't for me checking in twice a day, making commitments to make X number of calls, very specific behaviors and then following through, if it wasn't for that, I would have never reached my goal and broke the fast start record, not even close. I would have given up on day one, but after 10 days, I ended up, I saw a little over $15,000, which came to $4,000, that was the last day, like, I didn't break the record the last day. By the way, I did 60- to 90-minute presentations, like do the math on that. In 10 days, I averaged 6.2 presentations a day, and they were 90 minutes each, plus about a half an hour of driving time. So, it's about two hours per appointment between driving and doing the presentation. I was working 12 hours a day for 10 consecutive days, like I worked my butt off. And of those 60 presentations, I only had 40 sales. So, 20 people, a third of the people I saw said, “No, I'm not interested, Hal.” I can't afford it or I'm not interested, I don't cook or whatever.
So, there was so much discouragement and disappointment, like appointment after appointment, like no sale, no sale. And I'd called Jesse and be like, oh, I'd just had two more people in a row telling me that they didn't cook and it wasn't a good fit for them. And they were really nice, but, and he'd be like, it's okay, Hal. You could do it, right? It was that encouragement, that accountability that was crucial. So, that was my first formal goal training, how to set goals, how to break them down into actions or behaviors, how to be accountable and check in with someone to hold myself or be held accountable. And then it actually feels what it felt like to ride that roller coaster of disappointment where you had good days and bad days and terrible days and amazing days. And then you're down to the last day and you still haven't reached the goal, and you're like, your palms are sweaty and you're terrified. You're thinking, oh, my God, all this work, and I still might fail. I've given it everything I had and I'm still not there. And it's my last day. And what if it doesn't go, oh, my God, self-doubt, right? That roller coaster.
And then you actually give it everything you have until the last moment and you reach the goal, and that feeling of satisfaction, that feeling of, oh my gosh, I did it. I'm capable of more than I ever have proven in the past, just like you are capable of more than you've ever proven to yourself in the past. And since then, I've used the same strategies and principles of setting a goal and breaking it down and then setting up accountability to ensure that I follow through and identifying the daily behaviors that I needed to commit to and creating rituals and routines and systems to follow through with the right, all of that. And I've used that goal setting to run an ultramarathon, even though I hated running, I had never run before; to write and publish the Miracle Morning and make it a bestseller even though I hadn’t done that; to make the Miracle Morning documentary, make a movie, I'd never done that before; to start and grow this podcast, to put on live events to become a keynote speaker, like my dream was being a motivational speaker, and I had no idea how to make that happen. I just knew it was my dream and I was committed to figure it out. What's your dream that you have no idea how to make it happen? Maybe to make a million dollars, I had no idea how to make that happen, but it was a dream, right? And…
Sorry, I just lost my train of thought, but these goals, this process, it’s fundamental, it’s universal. It'll work for you, it works for everybody. I use it to beat cancer, to be a better dad, a better husband, on and on and on. And so, here's the thing. Looking back, like if you really break down, and I want you to think about your own goals. So, I just gave you kind of that was my history of goal setting, but looking back and think about this for your own goals that you've achieved in your life, I now realize that what enabled me to write my books was making a commitment to the behavior of writing for an hour or more every day and being accountable to a writing coach. I hired Joel and Sue Canfield, who are phenomenal book coaches, writing coaches. If it wasn't for them, if it wasn't for the accountability, the Miracle Morning probably never would have been written.
In fact, I haven't told this in a long time, I was working on the Miracle Morning. I had been writing it for two and a half years and it wasn't getting done. And I asked myself, why in the heck can I not get this book done? It was less than half done. After two and a half years, it was less than half done. And it hit me. I went, wait a minute, I don't have any accountability. No one is holding me accountable nor giving me any guidance or anything on writing day in and day out, week in and week out, making sure I'm on track. And I was a coach at the time myself, so I knew the value of accountability, plus I had my background in achieving goals in Cutco, and I knew that. And I go, oh, duh, that's what's missing.
And so, I hired Joel and Sue Canfield. And get this, in two and a half years, I was less than halfway done writing the Miracle Morning, hired a coach, engaged accountability with them. And in the next six months, I finished the book. So, two and a half years to write about 40% of a book, six months with accountability. So, two and a half years without accountability to write 40% of the book, six months with accountability and the other 60% got done, it got published. So, what enabled me to write that book was, again, identifying the behavior of writing for an hour every day, committing to that behavior and being accountable to a writing coach.
Similarly, what enabled me to complete the ultramarathon was committing to identifying the behaviors that were necessary. I read a book called The Non-Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training. That gave me the plan. It said, “Hey, here's exactly how you do this. Here's how you train for a marathon.” So, it was me committing to the behavior of following the very strict marathon training regimen in that book. And then, I asked a group of friends if they would commit to doing this with me. And so, it was then being accountable to a group of friends who I committed to run the marathon with. So, again, behavior and accountability. Same thing with this podcast.
If I look at what's enabled me to grow this podcast, it's committing to the behavior of sitting down for an hour or so once a week to record, it’s that behavior. And the behavior of reading and learning and growing so that I am always learning something new and living everything I learned so I have stuff to share with you, right? So, it's the behavior of sitting down and recording for a week, even though sometimes I don't know what I’m going to talk about the day before or the day after, whatever, and being accountable to you, to my listeners every single week to put out an episode. Look, trust me, I can't tell you how often I don't want to record a podcast, like I took my schedule. And I go, I don't know what I'm going to talk about today, I don't have a guest, or I don't have a topic, or I'm tired or I don't feel good or whatever, but I have accountability. You are my accountability. You're my accountability partner in this every single week because we have loyal listeners that are listening every single week, tens of thousands, hundreds– what do we have? 200,000-plus downloads a month. So, every week, that is my accountability, that I committed to deliver a podcast every week for you.
And so, trust me, when I don't feel like it, accountability is what gets me to do the thing I don't feel like. And then, if I look back, even at my early goal-setting experience with Cutco, what enabled me to achieve all of those goals was, yes, it was setting the goal and breaking it down. That's the front end, but that doesn't achieve it. Ultimately, it was being accountable to the behavior of picking up the phone every day, 20 times, 30 times, making those calls to ask somebody if I could come over and show them Cutco, politely asking, it was identifying and committing to the necessary behaviors, and seeking out structured accountability was the key to achieving every single goal that I have ever set. And it is, I believe, what will be the key or has been for you, but will be the key to achieving every goal you ever set. And for me, I lose sight of the basics sometimes, too often.
Like this episode to me, it was actually I was going through my goals, I've been going through my goal list from like every year, 2012 through now. And I was reminded of how far away I've gone from the fundamentals. And I've actually struggled lately with, like, setting and achieving goals, believe it or not, which is probably why it is interesting, what you focus on expands. If you think about it, very few episodes have been on setting and achieving goals, in the last, I don't know, a few months or year, I don't even know how long. And that's because my energy has really been much more focused on spirituality and much more focused on consciousness and elevating my consciousness and how I can help elevate the consciousness of humanity. Like these are not necessarily goals, I'm not reading books on goal setting like I have been, and they're like I have been in the past that my energy has not been there, it's definitely been on the behaviors.
So, that's the beauty of it by the way, my life has been wonderful, it's been rich because every day, I'm eating the healthiest I've ever been eating, I'm exercising as consistent as I've ever been exercising, I'm spending more quality time with my wife and my kids, arguably, than ever before. I'm working on sort of a new thing where I'm writing love letters to my family and friends. Here's a little bonus tip for you. I just had a friend the other day that I was thinking about, and I'm kind of anti-social, I think, I mentioned that. I'm kind of an introvert or not kind of, I mentioned, I prefer to be alone than to hang out with people, and I don't know why that is. It used to be the opposite, I used to be like the most outward extrovert, always around friends, life of the party, and then I don't know what changed that, but for whatever reason, I'm kind of an introvert.
And so, my friends don't get to see me nearly as often as they used to. And it occurred to me the day, like, that sucks for them. And they usually don't want to make me feel bad so they don't mention it, but they'll kind of allude to it. Like they’d say a joke, like, “Hey, I'd love to get time with you whenever you have some time or whatever,” but they don't want me to feel bad, so they don't really push it. So, anyway, and I don't pick up on subtleties, like you have to tell me how I need you to do this exact thing at this exact time. You can't be like, if you just hint at it, and my wife, she'll hint at it, I’m like I don't pick up on the hints, like you got to tell me directly.
So, anyway, it hit me the other day that this was a thing where I go, man, I really want my friends to know how much I appreciate them and how much I value them, and very often, time is what tells people that, right? If you don't spend time with somebody, you don't have a connection, for most people. For me, my connection doesn't waiver, or like, I don't need to see somebody for years and I will feel– like my friend Brian Bedell from high school. He and I talked maybe once a year. I love Brian as if we talked every day and he was my neighbor and we spent time. So, for me, that's also part of the reason that I don't feel the need to hang out with people, because I'm good. Like I don't see you for a year, cool, I feel just as much love for you as if I saw you every day.
So, I realize that most people aren't like that. So, anyway, my buddy, he's the first person, I started writing a love letter to him. I just called it a love letter, just to let him know how much I love him, how much I appreciate him, what he means to me. I thought it'd be fun. I kind of created a bullet point, like, what are the main things I want to cover in this letter? I want to go back to when we met and what that was like, and I want to kind of revisit some of the high point moments in our relationship and like how this one trip went on, how fun that was and that one time, this thing happened and every time I see you, how it makes me feel and your smiles, all the things, it's a really authentic, genuine, heartfelt love letter. And I decided that I want to start doing this once a week, at least once a week, ideally more, like daily, but we'll start with once a week where I write one letter to someone in my life who I'm just going to be quiet, meditate and go, who needs to hear from me right now? Or who do I want to express my love toward right now? And then, I'm going to let that come to me in meditation and I'm going to write that letter. And so, I'm excited for this. Oh, gosh, what in the heck was the point? How did I get into that tangent? So, talking about achieving goals, accountability, I don't remember.
Here we go. I want to close this out with just breaking down some simple steps on how to effectively set goals and establish behaviors. Oh, that's why I was telling you the behaviors that right now I've gotten away from setting goals, but I'm totally engaged in really healthy, positive, proactive daily behaviors. I'm writing every day, working on my next book. So, I'm doing these activities every day. My behaviors are on point, but I just have regressed a little bit my goal setting ability. So, that's why I dove into this, and that's where all of this is coming from. And so, how to effectively set goals and establish behaviors? And I’m going to incorporate accountability here, because I really believe those are like, that's the trifecta, right? You've got to set the goal. And to effectively set a goal, you have to establish what are the– step one is to set the goal, step two is to establish behaviors, and then step three is to develop accountability.
Now, don't write that down because I'm getting ahead of myself. I wrote down four steps, actually, 4.5 steps that I want to share with you right now. Here's number one, number one is, yeah, set the goal. And if I elaborate on that, when I say set the goal, that really means create an exciting outcome for any area of your life, that's what a goal is. It's an exciting outcome, something that is beneficial, that's exciting, that will enrich your life or the lives of others in some way, something you're excited about accomplishing or moving towards, by the way. Going with our discussion on the goal is not really the goal, it's the behaviors that it imposes for you or identifies for you to establish and maintain those behaviors. So, that goal might be something you just want to move towards. So, that's number one is set the goal, create an exciting outcome for any area of your life. And for me, I always have goals in each area of my life. I've got goals around my health and my fitness and my finances and my business and my impact and my income and my personal growth and my contribution, all these areas of life.
Number two, determine which behaviors will move you toward that outcome or that goal. So, set the goal and then identify the behaviors. Step two is really identify the behaviors, determine which behaviors. And when I say behaviors, I'm talking about actions, habits, rituals, routines. Which behaviors are going to move you toward that goal? Step three, schedule those behaviors. Schedule those behaviors, schedule recurring appointments for your habits, rituals, routines, activities, right? And if you've read the Miracle Equation, I call that your process. You identify what are the actions that you do consistently, that's your process.
And then step four, this is really– I don't know if it's us, it's not like a tangible step, but it is an important mindset. It's commit to the behaviors, commit to following through with the behaviors without being emotionally attached to the results. That's worth writing down, I think that's one of the secrets to success, to kind of self-management, to manage your mental and emotional makeup in the midst of the unpredictable grounds that are pursuing a goal. It's rocky, it's up, it's down, it's you hit a valley, you hit a wall, you hit a hill. So, you've got to commit to following through with the behaviors and not be emotionally attached to the results because you're going to have good results, bad results, up and down. And you've got to brush it off and keep moving forward.
And then step five, or I said earlier 4.5, but I think we talked about this enough that I think it's crucial, and that is set up accountability. And I promise you, I'll give you some options. So, set up accountability, what does that look like? Well, you can find an accountability partner, that's some low-hanging fruit. The Miracle Morning Community is a great way. There's actually a post in there. If you search for accountability or how to find an accountability partner, there's actually a post in there just for that. And I'm referring to the Miracle Morning Community on Facebook, the Facebook group. You can go to MiracleMorningCommunity.com, and it will redirect you there, MiracleMorningCommunity.com, and you can find accountability there or you can reach out to a colleague or a friend, just make sure it's someone that will hold you accountable.
I found that if it's someone that's really close to you, like your spouse, I don't know why, but it can be really easy to be like, sweetie, whatever. Let's just never mind, you don't need to do it. I won't do it, you won't do it, let's just be lazy together. You want to watch Netflix and chill. Cool, sweetheart. So, make sure it's someone that's actually going to hold you accountable. And one of the best accountability partners is someone that you have a high level of respect and you hold them in a high regard so that you don't want to disappoint them, you don't want to look like a flake by not following through. So, for example, my first accountability partner was Jesse Levine, my manager.
Well, I looked up to Jesse, I held him in very high regard. He was someone I really admired, I respected. I really wanted to impress him, I wanted him to like me, I wanted to be the type of person, right? And maybe, we could have a discussion on whether or not I was using too much of an outer locus of control and letting what someone else thought affect me, whatever, but the point is, if you commit to someone like a personal trainer, you're paying someone hold you accountable, someone that you really hold in high regard, you're not going to want to let them down, but if it's someone that loves you unconditionally and you know that no matter what you do, you can do no wrong. It can be the accountability as proven, at least I've found to be, it could be less effective.
So, finally, accountability partner, you can also hire a coach, right? Hire a life coach, hire a business coach, whatever, depending on what area of your life you're working on. I've had many coaches over the years, and I've invested a lot of money in coaching. I was a coach for like, I don’t know, eight years or something. I haven't coached for about four years since I got cancer, but the point is, I believe in coaching and that it really works. And when you have money on the line, you're investing, you're paying for someone to hold you accountable, well, that's a leverage for you to follow through. You can also just make a public commitment. When I ran the ultramarathon before I recruited some friends to do it with me, I just made a public commitment on Facebook and said, “Hey, guys. Hey, everybody. Hey, all of my friends on Facebook, I am committing publicly to run this marathon. I've never run before, never run a race at all, even a mile, but I'm going to run a full double marathon and I'm making a commitment to follow through and I'm going to do it to raise money for this charity, Front Row Foundation.”
Well, now, I made a public commitment and I leveraged my integrity. Accountability to me is about leveraging your integrity, upholding your integrity, which means doing what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it because you gave your word, and that's pretty black and white. That's black and white. So, set up accountability. You could also put money on the line, right? You could bet someone, hey, I'm going to do these things or I will pay. I've done this before where there's actually a book called Following Through, and that's their main strategy is just put money on the line where you find someone and you say, “Hey, I'm going to give you a thousand dollars or whatever, you hold it. And if I don't follow through these behaviors, you get to keep it,” or “I'm going to make 20 calls a day every day, five days a week. If I don't make my calls on any given day, I will pay you a dollar for every phone call I don't make.” That might add up. I could add up pretty quickly. So, you could put money on the line. That's another way to do it.
Another way to do this is to have an accountability group where you hold a group of people accountable and you lead it. That I found is one of the most effective ways to be accountable is to lead someone else or other people to be accountable themselves. So, there's a handful of examples of ways you can set up your accountability. So, again, there's five steps to effectively set goals, establish behaviors, and establish accountability. Number one, set the goal number; number two, identify the behaviors; number three, schedule those behaviors; number four, commit to following through with the behaviors without being emotionally attached to your results; and number five, step five is set up that accountability so that when you don't feel like it, you're not in isolation, you've given your word to someone that you're going to follow through and you now have that integrity piece that you're leveraging to get yourself to do the thing that you don't feel like doing when you said you were going to do it.
So, what's more important than a goal? Arguably, behaviors. The behaviors are what determine whether or not you achieve the goal, and very often, having accountability is what determines whether or not you achieve or you follow through with the behaviors. So, the goal is the target that you set to inform the behaviors that you commit to engaging in on a daily or at least a consistent basis. And then the third component is having that accountability to ensure that you follow through.
And that, my friends, my goal achievers, is my latest take on what really matters when it comes to setting and achieving goals and establishing the behaviors that will fulfill your life, enrich your life, and help you accomplish and experience everything that you want and that you deserve. I think that's it. I love you. I appreciate you.
Oh, you know what? I'm going to mention this, and this is literally not in my note. So, you're like, yeah, right, he had that at the end of his notes, he's faking it. No, no. Literally, I'm not looking at anything, I just thought of this. I actually had a conversation with Brianna Greenspan earlier that made me think of this. So, I sent out an email and put it on social media, but I know half the emails are going to the spam folder now. The Miracle Morning Live Retreat is happening, the first ever, and to be clear, I got some people email back and go, Hal, how can you be holding a live retreat in the middle of a pandemic? And I want to address a couple of things.
So, first of all, what the retreat is, and then I'll address that piece. The retreat, it’s the first ever Miracle Morning retreat, I've never done one. We used to do a Best Year Ever event, but I always had a dream for like the last 10 years of doing a Miracle Morning weekend retreat. And because we went down the road of this Best Year Ever Blueprint event, I never had the capacity to do a second event. And so, this retreat is going to be October 8th through 10th. You can go get all the details at MiracleMorningLive.com, and it's only $349, which by the way, I didn't set the price. I just want to make it clear, this isn't my event. So, I know that might sound weird. So, this is not my event.
There is a retreat center, it's beautiful. It's called the Art of Living Retreat Center. It's in North Carolina at the peak of this mountain, it's gorgeous. And they have like food they grow on the property and they have meditation and yoga. And I'm bringing my whole family, it's going to be amazing. And this retreat center reached out to me and said, “Hey, we want to put on a Miracle Morning retreat. Would you be open to us bringing you in to lead that?” So, it's kind of like I got booked for a speaking engagement. It's just that instead of 90 minutes, it's three days, right? It's a full-blown retreat center, and they're doing everything in terms of addressing the questions people have asked about, Hal, this is a pandemic, how could you do this? First of all, just like lots of business, I'm not doing it, I'm just showing up to this retreat center, and I'm going to teach there. And they assured me they're doing everything in their power in terms of social distancing and all these things to make it completely safe. And they run events all the time. So, this isn't like a one-off where I'm just hosting an event.
This retreat center, they're just running their business, feeding their families, like they always have. And it's just like lots of businesses or most businesses are running right now. Airlines are putting hundreds of people on their flights, and restaurants are putting people in the restaurant. And this retreat center is bringing people in for their retreat. So, just to clarify kind of what, and I'll probably send out an email to explain that for people that are– I got a lot of emails back going, how could you, Hal? I can't believe it. And I was kind of taken aback. I thought, oh, well, I'm just going to this retreat center, and they're bringing people in, and I'm going to host the Miracle Morning and I'm really looking forward to it.
So, if you can make it, that would be awesome. I'm really excited. Again, MiracleMorningLive.com for all of the details, and I think that is it. I love you. I appreciate you. And thank you so much for listening and for being a member of the Miracle Morning Community. It means more to me than you know. You mean more to me than you know. And I look forward to talking to you all next week. Take care.
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