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By Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner, 02 Jul 2013
As an individual, if you want to achieve great things in life, ordinary goals are not enough. You need sexy goals. As a child, Richard Branson’s professional goals were presumably not to get a good job and buy a house in the suburbs. Of course not. He surely had sexier goals than that. When she was young, the singer Lady Gaga surely did not aspire to get married, be a good housewife and sing in the church choir! We can also be certain that she had sexier goals in mind. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with traditional goals. They serve us all very well. But, if you want to be incredible or you want to do something incredible, you need to make your goals sexy.
What Are Sexy Goals?
Sexy goals are goals that are interesting, provocative and desirable—at least to you. It doesn’t matter what others think. I know someone who grew up in East Berlin in a household of limited means. For her, a sexy goal was to get a good, stable, well paying job, be able to afford fashionable clothing and accessories and live a comfortable, stable life (as she used to see on West German television). And she’s not shallow. In fact, she’s one of the most intelligent people I know and is highly respected in her specialized field. Nevertheless, with her childhood background, achieving a comfortable, middle-class status in life was a sexy goal. And one that she has attained.
Incidentally, sexy goals are not for young people only. Roy Kroc was a multi-mixer sales man in his fifties when he got involved with a small chain of hamburger restaurants in California. He had the sexy goal of turning them into a nationwide chain. The owners had lesser aspirations. Roy eventually bought them out and succeeded in making McDonald’s an America-wide, and eventually global, chain of fast food restaurants.
Achieving Sexy Goals
For some people, it is instinctive to think big, establish sexy goals and achieve them. Sadly, the rest of us need to work at it.
In order to achieve your sexy goals, you need to do three things. First, you need to deconstruct your goal in order to define it. Then you need to formulate it into a sexy goal. Finally, you need to prepare an action plan.
Deconstruct Your Goal
Whether you have a specific sexy goal in mind or just have some ideas about where you want to go, you absolutely must deconstruct your goal in order to ensure you go in the right direction. Indeed, a great many people have wasted their lives chasing goals that they thought were important, but which actually detracted from their true values and desires. A classic example of this is the hard working man or woman who works long hours, travels regularly and puts everything into work in order to get a good salary and provide for his (or her—though traditionally men have been more likely to follow this route) family. Evidence suggests that such men later regret that decision.
Indeed, according to Bonnie Ware, in her book ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’, every man and many women that she spoke to regretted that they had worked too hard and had not spent more time with their families. The tragic irony, of course, was that these men presumably worked hard in order to provide for their families. Yet, if they had questioned their goals, they might have realized that there are better ways of providing for a family than working long hours. Spending time with the family, sharing and doing things together are doubtless more valuable than a bigger salary.
You can deconstruct your goal by questioning it. The first question you should ask is “Why do you wish to achieve this goal?” once you have answered, ask yourself “Why” about the answer. For example:
Q: Why do I wish to get a high paying job?
A: Because I want to provide for my family.
Q: Why do I want to provide for my family?
A: Because I want my children to grow up healthy, happy and with good opportunities in life.
And so on. This exercise can be a real eye opener.
You can and should also ask other questions, such as “Why have I not achieved this goal already?”; “How do I expect to feel once I have accomplished it?”; “Who do I know who has done something similar and what can I learn from her?”; “How will I feel if I fail to accomplish my goal?” and so on.
Better still, find a friend or family member to ask you these questions together with other open-ended questions (in other words, questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”).
Make It Sexy
Now that you have a better feeling for your goal, you need to make it sexy. For example, maybe your goal is about traveling through Asia. But you also love bicycling. So, you might set a sexy goal as bicycling across Asia—from Ulaanbaatar to Singapore.
When it comes for formulating your sexy goal, think about whether you might combine interests to devise something unique—such as bicycling and touring Asia. If you want an enjoyable job that allows you to spend time with family and you love renovating old electronics, your goal might be to set up an internet business, based out of your house, fixing old radios as well as buying up broken radios and reselling them.
Other ways to make goals sexy include:
- Using superlatives, such as best, biggest, smallest, fastest, slowest, oldest, youngest and sexiest. You might aspire to be the youngest CEO of a Fortune 100 company or to establish your country’s biggest franchise of ballet schools.
- Using absolutes, such as the first, the last, the only. Your sexy goal might be to be the first woman prime minister of your country.
- Pushing ideas further. Rather than aspire to do well in your company, aspire to become the CEO in ten years. Rather than aspire to take a month off and travel around Europe with your family, aspire to take a year off and travel the world with your family. Rather than write a novel, aspire to write a best seller or a literary classic that your great grandchildren will be reading in school.
Make It Happen
Sexy goals are all very good. But once you have formulated your sexy goal, it can seem very intimidating. That can make it too easy to give up on your goal before you have even started. Instead of being intimidated, break your goal down into manageable steps. To do this, think about your goal and what you need to do in order to get there. Write down the steps that come to mind. Don’t worry if they are not in order. You can put them in order later. Often, as you write down a step, you will realize that it is too big and must further be broken down. For instance, if your sexy goal is to become a brain surgeon, the first step that comes to mind may be to get a doctorate in medicine. But where? How? How much will it cost? You would need first to research the educational requirements. The next step might be to find suitable universities. And so on.
Word of Warning
Some self help books will tell you that in order to achieve your goal, it is important to think about how good you will feel once you have accomplished it; to think about how much better your life will be. The assumption is that thinking about these good feelings of accomplishment and improved life will motivate you to work towards your goal. Unfortunately, research, suggests that this is not true. It seems that when you start thinking about having achieved your goal, you start to feel the emotional pleasure of having done it. And this gives you less motivation to chase your dream.
So, it is important to keep your goal in mind as a target—but focus your thinking on each step. Feel good once you’ve accomplished that step and push on. This makes it much more likely that you will actually achieve your goal.
If you are working in a group, such as family, a club, a group of friends or a work team, when you break your goal down into steps, you need also to assign a person to take responsibility for each step. Otherwise, everyone will expect someone else to take action on the step—and that will result in precisely nothing!
Sexy Goals Inspired by Anticonventional Thinking
Incidentally, this article and my Sexy Goals workshop at the Imagination Club were derived from anticonventional thinking (ACT) which includes sexy goals as a key step.
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