Hey my friends! I’m Hayley Hobson and I’m so glad you’re here! Welcome to the Whole You Podcast where I share tips to help women like you implement healthy hacks and habits so you can eat smarter, rest better, and get it ALL done.
So today we’re talking about one of my faaaav topics...
If you know anything about me at all… you know this is my thing.
Because when you create goals, you have a MEASUREMENT of productivity.
And know what productivity is good for?
Giving you more time to ENJOY your life.
Be more of WHO you want… spend TIME with the peeps you want… and DO the things you want.
I mean, that’s the dream, right?
This has been a really huge topic this week inside my Habit Hackers community… there’s a bunch of amazing go-getters in there!
I’m gonna give you a little sneak peek into what we’ve been talking about here today, but if you wanna get on this convo for yourself, you can join as a member right now!
Ok, I’m super stoked to talk about all things productivity and goal setting and habit hacking today...
So get ready because this is going to be a good one!
Here’s the kind of goal we’re gonna talk about… ones you can ACTUALLY ACHIEVE..
Because without that “achievability” part (is that a word? Achievability? Well, it is now… LOL)
So anyway, without focusing on ACHIEVABLE goals… most of the time you’re doing SOMETHING… but you’re probably not getting as far as you want to.
Not every task needs to be a goal, if ya ask me. Sometimes doing for the sake of doing is just fine… especially if it’s a guilty pleasure.
Like… sometimes a good binge of Schitt’s Creek is just what the doctor ordered. LOL
But this is what makes something a GOAL…
It’s an action that is a means to an end.
With true goals, you don’t just fold in the cheese.
(BTW how funny was that episode? “Fold in the cheese” -- I’m pretty sure you can fold in vegan cheese -- I’m gonna try it… maybe I’ll start saying that to Wes next time we cook LOL).
So annnnway… back to goals.
Let’s start with a few key questions:
What ARE goals?
Why do you need them?
And how do you take meaningful action towards achieving them?
Here’s my two cents…
A goal can be anything -- like literally ANYTHING -- that you want to do. Your goal can be to wake up every morning at 5AM or fly to the moon.
It can be to earn enough money to pay for your kid’s college fund… so you help them live a better life than you had…
Or maybe your goal is to reach 1 billion people with your mission -- and literally create a legacy that lasts for generations after you.
Real goals are SPECIFIC… and I’m gonna give you a good definition here in a sec…
But I wanna be clear about the difference between a VISION and GOALS…
A vision is a big, pie in the sky dream you’ve got…
And the GOALS are the measurable stepping stones to get there.
See the difference?
Ok awesome, I knew you’d get it.
So while a big vision is totally important…
We NEED goals too. For so many reasons. Goals are like a roadmap.
And actually, goals are a great way to hold ourselves accountable -- they help us to prioritize what’s important in our lives so we actually go out and DO them.
It's super easy to set a goal and then kind of expect it to meet itself.
But yeah… that rarely actually works. LOL
Goals take effort.
One goal that’s always on my plate is... doing more with less effort. You know… being truly PRODUCTIVE.
It's not about being busy. We’re all freaking busy LOL…
It's about getting shiz done. Without being exhausted AF at the end of the day.
So basically here’s my high level approach:
Set a goal -- doesn’t really matter what… and
Actively track PROGRESS… this is how you know if you’re actually PRODUCTIVE (AKA actually moving towards that goal).
Because again -- and I feel like I’m gonna be reiterating this a lot today…
A goal is something that helps you achieve a DESIRED OUTCOME.
And most of the time, that is EMOTIONAL.
I feel like a lot of us set goals based on surface level desires.
But really, there’s often something super deep and meaningful underneath.
I’ll share a process on how to figure that out here in just a moment.
I literally get asked about productivity hacks ON THE DAILY… so I’m gonna give you the inside scoop on my goal-setting power processes -- the techniques that help me track progress toward the goals I can, want to, and WILL achieve.
K? Sound good? Let’s do it then!
First I want you to remember this is a process. You don’t just wake up, set a goal, and then do nothing else until you’ve met that goal.
Well, some people do I guess but those people probably aren’t entrepreneurial business women with families... and a whole lot of other things we gotta manage at the same time, right?
So I’m gonna approach today’s episode with the assumption that you got a bunch of other shiz going on in your life -- just like me. OK?
Great. On the same page. Love it. LOL
Ok so what is the first step?
Well this one might be pretty obvious. The first step for setting a goal is…
...setting a goal.
Wait, did I just throw ya for a loop there?
Well, surprise! LOL
Yes, the first step of setting a goal is setting a goal.
This goes back to the difference between a vision or dream… and a LEGIT goal.
So yeah, I’m not talking about some pie in the sky shiz with no real plan to get there.
But a goal YOU’LL ACTUALLY ACHIEVE.
It's the worst feeling to fail -- or not get something accomplished.
We all know that feeling. And not meeting a goal is really a big fat invitation for your ego to start all that self trash talk again.
I mean….why bother set a GOAL if you don’t know already you can achieve it? There’s no point, right?
Setting unachievable goals is totally a setup.
Let’s be real for a sec.
There are going to be things in life that you just can’t accomplish.
So you have to learn how to decide if you can do it.
And be ready to let it go and move on when you see that you can't do it.
I know that might sound crazy from someone who’s super ambitious but I’m also a realist… so that’s why you’re getting some #realtalk right now.
I want you to be working toward your big big vision… that major impact your soul craves… and not get stuck in the land of unrealistic goals.
Cuz when that happens you are literally focusing on the wrong thing… it’s that whole ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ deal, you know?
Or, like, trying to make “fetch” happen. LOL
So how DO you set achievable goals? Easy, you get smart about them.
And yes… You’re already totally smart.
I mean.. you’re listening to me right now. So obbbbbbviously… LOL
Alright what are SMART goals then?
It's an acronym. S - M - A - R - T.
S is for specific, M is for measurable, A is for achievable (like we were just talking about), R is Relevant...or results driven.
And the big T is for time bound. And the T is the key.
I think this whole thing is so clever… or smart. LOL
Anyway it's my exact process for goal setting. This keeps me accountable, on track, and it really propels my progress.
If you can’t take a goal and break it down according to the SMART goal criteria, it’s not achievable.
So you’ve gotta do some work to MAKE it be achievable.
But I want you to know this.. Because it’s important, if ya ask me.’
Having SMART goals doesn’t have to be super huge all the time. You can literally do it with small things in your life.
For example, a task many people dread… Cleaning the kitchen. LOL.
Let’s break this down into a SMART goal.
So S… Specific: I’m going to clean the kitchen. That’s pretty solid.
Now let’s move to M: measurable.
Let’s say there are 5 key areas I want to focus on to achieve my clean-kitchen goal.
1. Do the dishes.
2. Wipe down the countertops.
3. Clean the stove.
4. Sweep the floor.
5. Mop the floor.
Rockin’. M is done. Because either those things get done or they don’t. Pretty simple measurement for this particular example.
Now A -- A is for achievable.
Is cleaning the kitchen actually achievable?
Most days, yes… unless Xander decides to roll around in mud or get sprayed by a skunk. Or Madeline has all her friends over… in those cases, NO. LOL
But let’s assume everyone plays nice and it IS achievable for the kitchen to get cleaned… so then yes, the A in SMART goals is good-to-go.
Now R… Relevant.
Because I’m someone who finds clutter and mess stressful AF, then yes, this goal of cleaning the kitchen is definitely relevant to something meaningful to me.
And finally T -- T is for time bound.
Again, this part is clutch.
So let’s say I want to do the dishes, wipe down the countertops, and clean the stove Friday night…
...then sweep and mop the floor on Saturday morning after everyone heads out for the day.
There you go… the kitchen cleaning goal is now a SMART goal.
Each step of the way can serve as a checkpoint… because I’m able to see how much ground I’ve covered and how far I have left to go...
See how this is different from an arbitrary goal with no set time to complete it?
A SMART goal gives definitive parameters about what the goal is and how to accomplish it… plus WHEN.
It’s a proven framework that corporations pay TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to have a consultant come in and teach them. I am NOT joking.
And look at that, you just got it for free. LOL
Breaking a goal down into its measurable steps also gives you a little boost of accomplishment every time you complete a step.
It just makes you feel good about yourself and what you’re doing... and it motivates you to go for the next little endorphin hit. Which really keeps you motivated and wanting to do it again and again.
So that’s step 1 of my signature process for powerful goal setting.
The next part is finding your WHY.
A why is just your reason. Your motivation for doing a thing.
And in some cases, it’s actually connected to your vision. But not always.
Like, cleaning my kitchen doesn’t have a soul- and purpose-deep level of a why.
Other than it makes me happy to have a clean kitchen and I don’t want to be all stressed out in my home.
But having a WHY can be a major driver for bigger goals.
Like I said earlier... my why is: I want to do more with less effort so I can have the freedom to do what I want in my life.
Here’s what that ACTUALLY means to me…
I want to be fully present for my family… to have freedom and be able to enjoy the things in our life -- in MY life…
I want to be a good example of independence and health for my daughter…
And I want to help people live healthier, wealthier lives that THEY love too.
I know it sounds like a big goal right? Haha, but I’ve got that under control when I break my WHY down into smaller parts… creating SMART goals with my WHY as my foundation.
OK. So what is YOUR WHY?
You want to accomplish, or complete something, right?
Is it important to YOU?
Is it important to somebody else (which makes it important to you)?
Or is it something that’s necessary for basic survival… you don’t really want to do it and wish you didn’t have to?
Like going to the DMV. Or your annual mammogram. LOL
Not fun, but it’s important. And you do it because you have a WHY.
So I encourage you to spend some time thinking about this…
What’s your WHY?
Be as specific as possible in every aspect. Once you’ve got it, that goal setting process will feel STRONG… and make the nitty gritty little details much more meaningful.
I’ll give you a really personal example.
Back when I was a corporate attorney I thought I had my shiz together. I soooooo didn’t.
Honestly, my WHY SUCKED. If I even really had one.
If I had to try to pinpoint what it was back then, it was probably really surface.
Like: make money. Please my bosses. Move up the corporate ladder.
I mean, I was in my 20s. I was just putting one foot in front of the other pretending I had a legit WHY.
And it bit me in the butt, to be real with ya.
When I realized just how bad off my health was... I knew things had to change.
My lifestyle didn’t line up with my goals anymore. And it certainly had no WHY as the underpinning.
So I had to basically start over.
Start my LIFE over.
Now saying “I'm going to change my life” is a pretty big deal. A BIG dream.
That’s overwhelming... a whole life? Poof! That ain’t gonna happen on its own, my friends.
Ok so what did I do?
Well, I set a goal. Obviously, right? LOL
So my big goal became: I need to change my life and get healthy.
Why? So I can enjoy my life and be a mom to the daughter I dreamed of having someday.
There it is. Goal set.
“Why” on lock.
And go time!
I took that ‘get healthy’ goal and analyzed it for the pieces I could break it into.
Step one was: quit my corporate job -- which essentially forced me to step two. Find a new one. LOL
But one that aligned with my goal: Healthy living all day long.
The whole SMART process for that particular goal of mine was pretty intense to explain but just know it’s been a work in process for the last 20+ years.... but I kept pluggin’ away and doing what supported my goals and here I am. Still doing it!
Only I’m much closer to actually having my shiz together.
Changing your life is a pretty big goal.
But the WHY helps serve as the catalyst to make it be actionable… AND something you actually will MAKE happen.
Now the next step in my signature process has to do with habits.
Habit stacking is a technique to help turn those SMART goals into reality. Yep, even if it’s not for something long-term.
I’ve talked about this before but I wouldn't keep mentioning it if it wasn't, you know, important and valuable. LOL
OK. Habit stacking…
Quick definition: it’s when you master one habit… you “stack” another habit you’re trying to develop on top of your rock-solid habit.
Once you master both habits, you can add a new one you’re working on. The goal here (haha, didn’t meant to do that, but it works! LOL)...
...the goal here is to stack the habits one at a time until you’ve created a routine.
I mean, you can use this technique to push yourself toward any goal -- from trying to build a healthy, productive morning routine to training for a freaking marathon.
Habit stacking is really just another way of breaking a goal into measurable steps.
You can go down the rabbit hole of helpful tools. The internet is LITTERED with books and worksheets and resources for building habits.
Type A people hacking their productivity with tools -- but even if you’re not a super achiever, you’ll get value from finding something that works for you.
I know lots of people who make all kinds of creative habit trackers so they can literally visualize their consistency with a habit.
Even coloring pages.
In my Habit Hackers group, I give everyone a monthly Habit Tracker sheet as a resource. Oh, and don’t let me forget to tell you a story about that in just a minute...
So one thing I wanna say about creating a habit before I move on the next step in my signature process for setting and achieving goals…
And it’s for us ambitious peeps. We have a tendency to try to do it all and do it all at once.
I mean, how many times do you tell yourself that you’re gonna wake up early every day to work on a project… or starting Monday you're gonna change your whole life to lose some weight and feel better in your body.
C’mon now. We’ve ALLLLL done it.
And as you know, that all-in promise doesn’t usually work in the long run.
So here’s why habit hacking is so powerful.
You start with one (or two) steps at a time. Don’t try to just start a whole morning routine on day one. You’ll probably stick with it for maybe a week… or more like three days before it's just too much to remember, too overwhelming to do, yadda yadda.
Then you fall right back to your old pattern… and you’ve literally just wasted your time.
A full-on new morning routine perfected by tomorrow is not an achievable goal. Waking up an hour early every day for a WEEK is more like it. So do that, make it be your new new norm… then ADD the next bit on top of your new routine.
Short, achievable goals work wonders, I’m tellin’ ya.
You know what else can be a part of habit stacking? Eliminating bad habits -- things that hold you back.
Take a habit like hitting the snooze button 22 times in the morning...
I’d say that’s a pretty bad habit. It’s not like you’re sleeping during that time. You’re just in a war with your alarm for 30 minutes.
You could have used that time to start your day. Or ACTUALLY get the Zzzz’s you obviously need.
Anyway, unlearning bad habits is stackable too -- and they’re definitely a way to work toward a larger goal.
I feel like we’ve got step 3 down… so this next part of my process goes together with habit stacking -- and I’ve mentioned it a bit already.
That’s creating a daily routine -- one that is focused but also flexible.
When working on big, important goals… time is your most important asset.
And since I get asked about my process for organizing my time a lot, I’ll share it with you.
If I need a reset… or if I’ve got a big project or goal I’m focusing on…
First I clear my calendar. Yep, you heard me right. The WHOLLLLLE thing.
Next, I place all my personal, non negotiable appointments on the calendar which are things like:
dropping my daughter off at the bus stop.
my morning meditation.
getting in my fitness classes, hair appts, nail appts, lash appts, plus
Then I add all my top priority “work” blocks and to do’s to my calendar like:
weekly internal team calls.
bi monthly coaching zooms I do with my Habit Hackers community.
bi monthly coaching zooms I do with my Your Whole Biz students.
masterminds zooms I take part in.
content creation blocks, and
blocks to record my podcasts or go LIVE.
My calendar helps me determine my daily routine.
Like I mentioned, when you have a routine, it actually becomes second nature.
Which means you don’t have to work so hard all the time.
You aren’t scrambling to do the most basic things in your life.
Your regular tasks… the things that are vitally important to you… they’re the first to go into the calendar. So you know they’re gonna get done, right?
Phew, less stress there.
So those are all organized into recurring blocks. AKA a routine.
And once I have that mapped out on my calendar, I can clearly see where I have time -- and I can also see how I’m spending it. When you realize how much time you really do have... its life altering.
Those open areas of time can be organized and blocked out for other things.
You just have to assign it out and then actually use it for what you intended. And if you intend to take a nap... go for it! LOL
Because here’s what I’ve noticed…
It’s too easy to get sidetracked and sucked into a vortex during the day without a routine… or plan of attack for the day.
If you don’t stick with your routine... you can lose literal hours of productivity time.
When we realize we screwed up managing our time well -- we tend to shift into a scarcity mindset. Just to convince ourselves there wasn’t ever enough time. Which is kinda weird right?
Helloooo! You KNOW just spent the last 45 minutes scrolling Instagram with zero purpose. That’s on you. But MAN is that hard to swallow sometimes.
A daily routine and content blocks helps avoid that. Because if you really want to, you can schedule in things like “do nothing”. LOL
It works, I SWEAR to you -- especially when you’re feeling compressed with your time and like you’re gonna lose your shiz. LOL
Because when you’re wound tight like that… all your foundational bits… your WHY… your big vision for your life… they either fall to the wayside…
OR they come screaming into view.
Like: WHY am I spending all this time fighting with a stupid website when I should be building my biz?!
Or, OMG I watched 47 TikTok videos instead of being present with my kid.
The chatter inside our own heads is WILD, my friends.
And I’ve personally found that with a little planning… like really owning my calendar… I’m able to balance the big picture things I want in my life… with the normal day to day living that we all have to deal with.
Oh and one more little pro tip about this calendar process.
When you’re scheduling your day, remember to include your personal or biz routines (aka the healthy habits you’re working on)... plus build time into your day to work on your goal steps.
You’ll be amazed at how much gets done using this time blocking method… and how good you feel about it.
Now, I’m not saying schedule every waking moment out, but I am saying make sure you’re intentional about what you’re doing.
Because, here’s the deal... if you’re not doing what you said you would WHEN you said you would, you’re really hurting yourself the most.
Now let’s look at this from a slightly different angle… you should totally get rid of the stuff that doesn’t benefit you. I’m talking about:
a cluttered AF calendar.
arbitrary to-do items.
things you could easily delegate.
things you’ve snoozed for like, 102 weeks, LOL.
If you don’t clean this shiz up, you’re literally misleading yourself about how much time you ACTUALLY have.
So yeah, don’t do that.
Be real and honest and do what is inspiring to you.
If you looked at MY calendar, you’d see how simple it really is.
I say no to things that don’t support my goals. Period.
It can be hard… and it definitely takes practice… but it actually gets easier the more you flex that muscle.
Remember to start sloooooooow and gradually add habits and pieces to your routine over time.
Non-negotiables first. Then add your top priorities, and then make the most of what time is left over.
Ok. Good. So, speaking of time…
You NEED to have a timeline… an end date… a calendarized finish line… an expiration date. LOL Whatever you wanna call it for yourself.
That’s the next part of my power process for goal setting…
WHEN does your goal need to be accomplished?
Remember that whole time-bound part of SMART goals? Yep, that means you need to create a timeframe for your goal.
I said this was a process, remember? I’ll keep saying it. This. Is. A. Process.
You know what’s funny? Sometimes the word “deadline” bugs me. Is it normal to have an everydayl word bug you? Or am I just a total nutjob? LOL
I mean. yikes, that word doesn’t even SOUND motivating. DEADline.
I dunno, I guess I feel like “deadline” (and I’m using air quotes here) just sounds ominous and serious.
It’s got DEAD in it even. LOL
So yeah, too much pressure. No “deadline” for me today.
Sooooo let’s go with a checkpoint?
It’s more like mapping out mile markers or future points when you’re going to check in along the way and knock out those action items.
When you’re thinking about your timeline for your goals, many people find it super helpful to have a little roadmap of WHERE you should be and WHEN you should be there.
Then yeah, put your action items in places (TIME-BOUND places) accordingly.
But I do wanna let you know that you don’t have to be super rigid with this process.
Again, this is a framework.
Don’t be afraid to play around and tweak things as you go along too.
It’s a good idea to put status checks in your timeline to evaluate what needs to change. Cuz things change, right?
The amazing thing about having these checkpoints is…
You might find you’re ahead of where you thought you’d be some days. Or realize “oh snap”...you’re actually two days behind. Haha Woops!
I mean, it happens.
It’s really all about keeping the goal in sight, I think.
And having little mini checkpoints along the way so you don’t spend TOO much time between progress markers lets you get back on track if you start slippin’.
If ya ask me, this part is actually pretty simple. It just takes diligence and a plan.
One little caveat here: remember that goals are fluid.
Shiz happens and, yeah, you might have to shift your original plan, scrap that plan altogether... or just shake it up, re-evaluate, and set a brand new goal.
That’s why a timeline is so important. So you have a point in the future waiting for you to arrive and assess the situation.
I feel like we covered this pretty thoroughly, so I wanna move on to the last step.
But we gotta go back to scheduling and habit stacking for a second.
That’s tackling your calendar.
I talked about this briefly a few minutes ago, but I find this is where people tend to struggle the most.
So we’re gonna throw it back to a few things you just did in this process.
You know your beautiful new calendar you just created -- and that time blocking technique you just learned? You’re gonna bring all these things together.
If you remember what happened… you mapped out your big important tasks on your calendar… and you got rid of the clutter, right?
Now for the big moment…. You’ll look at this calendar and see where you have whitespace in your schedule, where it's blank...
And guess what you’re gonna do with all that whitespace?
You got it… those open spots are where you have time to take steps towards your goals.
You can’t tell me you don’t have time. YOU CAN LITERALLY SEE IT!
This is where you put pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard? Whatever you do, you know what I mean. LOL
You start taking your big goals, turn them into SMART goals, and into a LEGIT action plan… and you plop those tasks that get you toward your goals INTO YOUR CALENDAR.
It’s OK to have big goals! That doesn’t mean they’re out of reach.
Big is great! But you have to break. those. big. goals. down.
So make that seemingly-impossible goal into a bunch of do-able mini goals that take you one step closer to the big finish.
Schedule it in your calendar and stick to it.
Holding yourself accountable is not always easy. We give ourselves the best excuses, don’t we?
We get real creative with our mental reasoning when we don’t wanna be accountable to ourselves. LOL
Once you’ve calendarized your goals, you can track your progress.
Meaning literally see when you complete a step and see where you are toward your goal.
You’ll clearly see if you’re in excuseland... or if you’re on track.
This is my entire process. It's simple but it's powerful. You can find the time to fit in all the things you need to do. And all the things you want to do.
Using my goal setting process will change your life, a step at a time.
At least, that’s what I’ve been hearing inside of Habit Hackers.
Which actually reminds me of that story I was gonna tell you!
And I hope I don’t embarrass her, but I want to share something one of my members -- Helene -- said.
She posted this in the group:
“You know what has motivated me this week? The Healthy Habits tracker from the magazine!”
Woooohooo! Just what I like to hear.
Yep, in Habit Hackers you get a full on digital magazine each month and there’s this really popular tool in there called a Habit Tracker.
Helene went on to talk about she used it for 10 days straight and it’s been the #1 thing that’s kept her focused… and stopped her procrastination!
Whoa, that’s major, right?
Love hearing these wins inside the group.
And fun fact… she told me she’s been using it for pretty much EVERYTHING.
Not just for her biz but also cutting out clutter -- and menu planning!
She’s been using the scheduling process plus the tracker and she said (and I quote) “it has worked like a dream.”
I friggin love that.
So seriously, if you feel you got a lot of value out of today’s episode… especially about the part how goals lead you toward your big vision and your WHY… you should really check out Habit Hackers.
Thanks for being here, my friends…
I’ll see ya online.