If you’ve been into personal development for longer than 5 minutes, you’ve been sold on the benefits of goal setting.
You may or may not have been told about the studies done in the 1950s where they tracked the graduating class of Harvard and 25 years later they found out that the 3% of people who had written a goal were richer than all of the rest 97% who didn’t – COMBINED. [Editor’s Note: A similar 1950s’ Yale study was proliferated and then debunked by The Fast Company in 1996. Read full article here.]
So you try goal setting.
And at first, it seems massively exciting, because you’re convinced that your success is on its way.
But for some reason, your goals didn’t work, and in the end, you either fell short – or you completely failed to achieve your goal…
If you’re following me on this, and you’d like to learn to really set goals effectively so you actually achieve your outcome, then you may want to try an approach I call The Charlie Brown Method for goal setting and achievement.
The Charlie Brown Method of Goal Setting
One of the TV shows I used to love was LOST. I’d love the mystery and suspense of the show, and every week I’d kick back on my couch, and get an emotional “hit” from all of the excitement and drama of the show.
But in my mind, I always knew that the show was not real. It was just TV.
I knew the show wasn’t real, because I didn’t have an experience of being on a weird island, so even though I watched that show over and over, I never started to feel like I was on the island – that would be weird.
I had an experience on lying on my couch staring at a TV.
So even with all the excitement of the show, over time, I started to feel more and more like a vegetable.
On the other hand…
When I was in high school, I took an acting class, and so I had to play Charlie Brown in a monologue.
Now, in order to play Charlie Brown perfectly, I had to become more like him. This was my goal. So I had to analyze him deeply.
I had to contemplate 3 main things. I had to figure out the things Charlie would:
1. See himself doing:
Including the pictures he would make in his head.
2. Hear himself saying:
Including the voices in his head
3. Feel himself feeling:
In the real world, and the emotions in his body.
Once I figured those things out, I was able to play Charlie Brown PERFECTLY. I didn’t even have to remember my lines, I just KNEW what Charlie would say in a given situation, and I said it.
How Charlie Brown Applies to Goal Setting
When you set goals, more than likely, you are doing it in a passive way – just like how I used to watch LOST.
Fine, you wrote them down, or repeated them, but did you experience them? Could you feel what succeeding would feel like, hear what you’d say to yourself and how? And see clearly what it would be like to succeed?
This is the Charlie Brown Method for goal setting. When you set a goal, it’s not enough to “logically” know what your goal is. If you want REAL leverage on your mind’s power to manifest your goals, then you must experience the goal visually, auditorily and emotionally.
If you miss any of these steps, then you’ve set yourself up for delusion.
That would be like me watching the show LOST and suddenly believing I was on the show. (Picture hanging out with that guy?)
So here is the step by step process to goal setting:
1. Figure out your goal
- Hint: you must state what you WANT, don’t make a goal to avoid what you DON’T WANT.
- Be as specific as you can about the goal.
- Make sure you have control over achieving the goal.
- Take the time to think about when you might NOT want to have that goal achieved. Don’t be like King Midas where everything you touch turns to gold; think about the consequences. If your goal is to improve your relationship with your mother, the consequence might be that she wants to move in with you! Just be clear on when your goal won’t be awesome, because everything has a drawback.
2. See what you would see
- Visualize exactly what you would see when you achieve your goal, but also see exactly what you would see to let you know you are making progress. Often people write majestic goals about making millions, but they have NO IDEA how to know if they’ve made any progress, then they just spin their wheels.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then you might need to see yourself thin, but also see yourself in the gym working out, then see yourself looking at your watch and realizing you’ve been there for 2 hours – or see your calendar and realize you’ve gone to the gym 6 days per week for the last 3 months.
- What pictures would successful you see in their head?
- Make sure you have control over these images. Don’t visualize something over which you have no control.
3. Hear what you would hear
- Hear exactly what you might say being the successful person whose achieved your goal. As a bonus, pay attention to the tone of voice you use to say it.
- Hear what you would say to yourself in your head, and how.
- Make sure you are in control of the things you hear. If you want to be attractive to other people, for example, don’t hear them compliment you, hear yourself speaking confidently!
4. Feel what you would feel
- Feel what you would feel in the real world if you had your goal. Would is be a big check in your hands?
- Feel your emotions in your body. Would it be joy? Pride? Self respect? Really make the effort to feel the emotion.
Part of the reason the Charlie Brown Method works, is because your mind is both emotionally compelled to move forward, and it knows what to look for. One of my mentors calls the mind “Google for goals”.
But you have to enter in your search query with a surgeon’s precision! Hence the Charlie Brown Method.
So try the C.B. Method on one goal and see how it works, then share what you learned in the comments below!
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The story about the class of harvard is fake…
You forgot to say that those studies done in the 1950s are a complete myth. There are no proofs they were ever done. Fast Company has done an article about it: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/06/cdu.html
Cute story 🙂 I’m keeping it!
Nice article, but seems to imply that greater wealth is the natural result and thus the primary motivation for goal setting. Show me that goal setting also leads to better health, lower stress, more contentment – then I’ll agree that those 3% are “rich”.
Rad analogy Logan – if you can’t visualize your goals concisely then there’s a fair chance you’ve got no idea how to get to them, hence you’re doomed to fail 🙁
I guess that’s what makes this process such a great exercise though, if you take the time to do it, it will tell you whether your goals are realistic and achievable.
This is a very nice topic to discuss. Somehow we can shortage the seeing, hearing and watching into vision. You have to have a vision, next is passion. I think these two is the core of how to archive your goal efficiently.
Hey, great post! I am going to use this in order to get athletic once again. As always, I start tomorrow :p. But I am determined and serious this time. By the way, Lost rocks! I totally saw myself living there, sometimes as Kate and sometimes as Juliet lol 😉
Wonderful article. I actually visualized were I am today years back. As a man thinks so is he.
No doubt, this is a very good approach for one to think prior to implementation.
Personally, I figured my weakness is that I an unable to judge correctly (many a times) what I want to do. For people who are unable to do that, what I would like to suggest is:
1) You surely start off using the C.B Method – this means, try and analyse each step carefully (summarizing the article above). This will surely help you in knowing what you are looking for.
2) Start doing more things – When you have experienced that your judgement goes wrong and it does, to be very practical because one cannot perfectly draw a conclusion that you would surely be doing it exactly how you had perceived. Change is something very constant and you need to change according to time too. Always keep that in mind. So, keep doing it and at every milestone, use the C.B Method.
Just a tip.
“See what you would see, hear what you would hear, feel what you would feel.” Typical NLP phrase. Why call it the Charlie Brown method? Just call it NLP.
when you set goals ,more then likely , you are doing it in passive way – just like how i used to watch lost fine, you wrote them down ,or repeted them ,but did your expercince them ,could you feel what succending would feel like ,hear what you ‘d say to your self and how ? and see clearly what it whould be like to succeed ?
Amazing point Vikram! Really feel, see and hear your goals being achieved in the future. Thanks for sharing!
When you set a goal, it’s not enough to “logically” know what your goal is. If you want REAL leverage on your mind’s power to manifest your goals, then you must experience the goal visually, auditorily and emotionally.