Goal Setting 101 from Experts Joeel and Natalia Rivera

The new year is just around the corner, which makes it the perfect time to set plans and goals for 2018. We all know resolutions sometimes fail, so we wondered, what makes a well-set plan and how can you ensure you follow it? We tapped Udemy instructor duo and motivation experts Joeel and Natalie Rivera for their top suggestions for keeping your goals alive in the year ahead.

Why is goal setting so important?
If you don’t have goals that are on paper somewhere with a plan attached to it, there’s zero chance you’ll complete it. Writing is a great way to get direction. Once you give the brain a goal or direction, it’s constantly looking for a way to fulfill it. Your unconscious mind continues to work out a way to achieve it, even while you’re sleeping or doing other things, regardless of the other steps you take.

You’re both very successful life coaches and motivational speakers. Do you still feel the need to set goals?
We religiously set our goals. We practice what we preach. We get together on Sundays and talk about the week ahead, plus our three-month, six-month, and one-year goals. Then we work backwards from there to see what we need to do to make it happen. We write down the outcomes we want to happen, then the actions that need to happen to achieve that outcome.

What factors should people consider when deciding what their goals are for 2018?
You have to have goals that excite you and inspire you. Goals that are going to pull you toward them. That’s where the motivation comes from. You have to have the big vision of what you want, something that excites you so it pulls you toward the end result. Then, set a timeline working backward until you have smaller goals that are achievable each week.

What’s your advice on knocking out those short-term, weekly goals?
If you don’t have your goals or small milestones scheduled into your life, the rest of your life will fill up all of your time for you. People think we’re super busy and work-aholics but we’re really just organized. We actually spend lots of time taking long walks on the beach. Many people are less efficient because they don’t have a strategy. People don’t want to work on their projects until they feel like it. But guess what? They never feel like it. That’s why it has to be in your schedule.

So you sometimes look at NOT achieving a goal as a success?  
When we’ve set a goal, it’s not concrete. It’s flexible. Opportunities come up and you could get pulled down a new, better path. No matter how regimented you are and how much you want it, you might miss out on something that’s actually better. It’s not a failure – it’s an adjustment.

We actually tell people that it’s good to fail as often as possible, as soon as possible. The quicker you can get those failures out of the way, the sooner you’ll be on your way to doing it right. In three months, so many things can change. Don’t focus on the small setbacks. Keep focus on your biggest goals, set small workable goals to help you get there, and then just keep going.

What advice would you give to a first-time instructor who hasn’t published their first course but is making that their 2018 goal?
From a content perspective: Focus on something you’re an expert in. If you’re trying to become an expert in something while also learning how to create, record, edit, and market your course, it’s not going to work. Keep it simple.

From a technical perspective: People aren’t used to being on camera. It takes time and practice. So even if you don’t have your course outline done, don’t worry. Start simple and just practice recording yourself.

From a mental perspective: Don’t wait. It won’t be perfect. It will never be perfect. Just do it and put it out there. There’s a great quote from the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman: “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late.”

Joeel & Natalie are entrepreneurs, coaches, professional speakers, and Udemy instructors. Their goal is to challenge individuals to step outside their comfort-zones. They inspire students to rewrite their life stories, turn their curses into blessings, discover their greater purpose, and be the change they want to see in the world.