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The 3Ds - Decide, Determine, and Designate


There are a million ways to set a goal. Everyone you listen to will have a different suggestion. Isn't it great how people and ideas connect with us in different ways and at various times in our lives? I suggest you take what works for you and leave the rest. Today, I will give you a brief outline of my 3Ds for setting goals - decide, determine, designate.


First, decide. We could go into this deeply, and I'll do that in future blog posts, but for now, decide is pretty self-explanatory - decide what you want your goal to be. Deciding is different than wishing or dreaming. Deciding is making a commitment. I can dream about learning to play the piano, but until I decide that I'm willing to do the work to find a teacher and practice, I haven't really made a goal. "I want to play the piano" is not a goal - that is a wish. Remember last week how we talked about task-oriented versus ego-oriented goals? If you decide, "I'm going to learn to play the piano," what are the task-oriented goals that will help you accomplish that? What are the things you have control over? These might be how long you practice, what teacher you take from, and how you receive and apply feedback. Decide on a goal and break it down into tasks you have actual control over.


Second, determine. When I say determine, I mean determine how long it will take. This process tends to stress people out because they say, "I don't know how long it will take." Fair enough, but you can guess. As you guess, you'll get better at knowing how long something will take. Additionally, as you build more trust in yourself, as you follow through with what you tell yourself you will do, you will develop more confidence in knowing how long something will take (and the time will probably go down). Time limits and deadlines help move us forward. When you had a paper due in high school, you got it done by the time it was due and turned it in. It is the same with a goal. If you have a deadline, you will do it by then. So, in the case of taking piano lessons, your first goal may be to choose a piano teacher. How long are you going to take to do that? Are you going to give yourself a month, a week, a day? If you don't give yourself a deadline, you could spend the next few months saying, "I'm going to get a piano teacher," and never actually doing it. Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Maybe you give yourself a week, and you look up five different piano teachers, try to connect with them, and then make a decision. Your next thing to determine would be how long you will practice. When you commit to a certain amount of time to practice each day, put that on the calendar. But now I'm getting ahead of myself because that's the next step.


Third, you designate. Designate a specific block of time on your calendar to work on your goal. "I will practice piano" is not a goal. "I will practice for 30 minutes from 8:00 to 8:30 every day" is the goal. It is a task that you have direct control over, which is within your ability to do every day. If you are in the stage of choosing a piano teacher, still designate a specific time during the day to work on that goal. For example, "For 30 minutes at 9:00 AM, I will Google piano teachers and send emails to five teachers." It is much more likely to get done when you designate a specific time to do something.


There you have then - the basic steps for creating and accomplishing a goal – decide, determine, designate. Everything else surrounding the goal is your own mind drama. It's the thoughts in your head that say

  • I can't do this

  • I've never done this before

  • I don't have time

  • I'm not good enough

  • This is never going to work out

  • I don't know what I'm doing

Most of the work of accomplishing goals is in our minds. We are often very capable of doing the things that have to be done, but we hold ourselves back because we don't believe we can do it. We listen to the negative self-talk in our minds, which deters us from accomplishing our goals.


As the coach, what I help you with is your mindset. No matter what your goal, mindset makes all the difference. In our coaching sessions and accountability check-ins, I can help you with tools and techniques that will help you create the mindset that you need to succeed at your goals. You are completely capable of achieving what you want to achieve. You don't have to believe the negative thoughts in your head. I'm here to help you dramatically increase your probability of reaching your goals by providing tools, accountability, and support throughout the entire year. If you're ready to succeed at your goals in 2022, let's have a conversation so I can learn more about you and how I can support you as you make 2022 your best year yet.