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How to Set Goals (and Achieve Them)

31, December 2018

We always talk about the details of how to perfect your walk, how to do your pageant makeup or what to wear for competition, but there is a much larger part of pageant prep that needs to be discussed: pageant goals. Without setting goals each year, month, week and day, you won't ever find the success you're looking for in pageantry or in life. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to set realistic goals and actually achieve them. Check out the list below to drop down to the answer to your question. 

Why are goals important inside and outside of pageantry?

How frequently should you set goals?

How to set realistic goals

How do you stay accountable to your goals?

How do you measure whether you met your goals?

What should you do if you don’t meet your goals?

A real life example of how setting goals can help you become successful

Pageant Planet founder & CEO,Steven Roddy at Miss Royalty International 2017. Photo: Dazzleshot Images

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Why are goals important inside and outside of pageantry?

Contribution by Julia Stone

A lot of people only think in terms of "goals" as something that they do once a year, like declaring a New Year's resolution. But, goals are so much more powerful than that. We do understand why you might be a bit doubtful about goals, if you have tried to set them in the past and weren't able to achieve them, but we hope to change your mind before this is all over. Goals in truth, are the steps that stand between you and the future that you've always dreamed of.

Philanthropist and author, Tony Robbins said, "Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible."

Everything that you see in the world around you was once an idea or a goal at one time. All the things that we take for granted were at one point, just a thought and then a plan in the mind of another person.

Goals are necessary to our fulfillment as human beings. They are the ultimate manifestation of who we are and who we want to become in this life. You can become your best self as a result of using a solid goal setting technique, like the one that we teach you in this guide. This is true in the world of pageantry and in life, so you should be very encouraged knowing that all of the principles that we share with you can be applied to anything that you want.

Nellys Pimentel the 1st woman from Puerto Rico to win the Miss Earth title! Photo: Rappler

Goals give you clarity

The process of exploring and setting our goals introduces us to ourselves. When you begin to think about your goals and then begin to write them down, they are not just words on a sheet of paper. They are literally the dreams of your heart and the longing of your life being expressed into specific ideas. It may sound flowery and all "unicorns and rainbows", but goals are the truth of who you are.

Without goals, your dreams will just become whims and wishes. When you are in the process of thinking about your goals and you are making the decisions about what you want to pursue in the future, you are taking full control of your personal power to create your actual life.

Goals help you get clear and concerned about who you are, what you value and what you want most in life. When you are in the process of goal setting, you begin to ask yourself challenging questions about the person that you most want to become, the things that you most want to accomplish and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to get there. That deep level of soul searching brings you face to face with the truth of who you are at this point in your life and it's an incredibly powerful and rewarding thing to do.

At the same time, it's also a process that requires you to be courageous because you may not be entirely comfortable exploring some of these areas and you may also make some discoveries about yourself that are surprising. It's not always easy to be completely honest with ourselves, but we must if we ever hope to achieve our dreams.

Goals prevent you from wasting your resources

One of the biggest problems that pageant girls make, especially when they are new to the pageant world, is that they volunteer for every opportunity that comes their way and sign up for every appearance or service work gig that they are asked to do. This typically happens out of fear because they mistakenly believe that the way to win a pageant is to do endless amounts of volunteering and plaster their image over every form of social media they can find.

This frantic type of behavior always results in burn out from doing things that are not really valuable in the long run for them personally, and then they get resentful and bitter because they don't even make the top 10 during the competition. And, then they become confused and frustrated because they don't understand how they could give up so much of themselves and not be recognized and rewarded for it. We've seen far too many incredible contestants go down this road, and the saddest part is that many of them leave pageantry because they never figure out why they're not getting the results that they want.

The good news is that when you have customized goals that outline a clear plan of action for you, you will never waste time doing things that don't pay off for you. When you have clear cut goals you will be able to filter every opportunity that comes along through that objective, and you will know which actions are appropriate for you and which are just a waste of your time, energy and talents. Having goals will save you so much wasted time and heartache because you will become crystal clear about your efforts and you will not be motivated by fear any longer. You will know exactly what to take on and why it will benefit you, and you will have no problem passing up the things that don't serve you.

You will be so much more peaceful knowing that you are investing only in the things that line up with your goals, and it will be no problem for you to say, "no" to the things that don't. An easy way to remember this point is to think, "If it's not a heck yeah, it's a NO!

Goals give you direction

This point is similar to the one above. Sometimes when we don't have goals, we waste our resources and other times we just waste away!

The famous author and inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar tells an amazing story that illustrates how goals can give you direction.

French naturalist, John Henry Fabray conducted a series of experiments with some processionally caterpillars, so named because they follow each other in a procession. He lined the caterpillars up around a flower pot until they formed a never ending circle. He then put their favorite food, pine needles, in the center of the flower pot. For 7 full days and nights they went round and round until finally they died from starvation and exhaustion, even though the food was less than 6 inches away. However, the processionary caterpillars were locked into their belief system, their programming and their lifestyle and could not extricate themselves from this mindless behavior. Ziglar explains that the caterpillars died because they confused activity with accomplishment.

How often do we do the same thing?

We often deceive ourselves in pageantry by filling our calendars and planners with activities, thinking that we are actually achieving something that is going to help us win our pageant, when in reality all we are doing is using up our highlighters. We confuse motion with meaning. When you have gone through an exhaustive and thorough goal setting process, and you know exactly what you must be giving your time to, then you will most assuredly accomplish what you want to accomplish.

A pageant related example of this kind of behavior might be when a contestant decides to spend many hours each week going to the gym and training with her trainer. But, when she did a thorough assessment of her goals, she realized that even though exercise was great, and she should be doing it, the truth was that she was already in pretty good shape, but what she really needed to work on were her interview skills.

This is a very common mistake that everybody makes and it's not easy to change. We typically prefer to do the things that we enjoy and are already good at, and we neglect the things that we need to work on. But, if a contestant's goal is to win her next pageant and she knows that she must improve in interview, then the direction that she needs to go in is to dedicate more time to practicing interview than going to the gym.

The great payoff here is that if you go in the direction that you are supposed to go in, and do the things that you really need to do, you will eventually discover that you will be more motivated to do it!

Zig Ziglar says, "Direction literally creates time and motivation creates energy."

So, don't be a caterpillar who confuses activity with accomplishment and motion with meaning. Set some goals, be honest with yourself, go in the direction you're supposed to go in and become a butterfly!

Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garris being crowned. Photo: Miss Universe Organization

Goals give you focus

Goals give you a focus in life that you might not have otherwise. They can help to keep you locked in and undistracted. So often when we are doing something, we find ourselves thinking about all the other things that we should also be doing.

For instance, when you are at work, you might begin to think that you should be spending more time with your friends, your family or those that are closest to you. You begin to feel guilty and sad, and that makes you very distracted. Pretty soon, you cannot concentrate on the task at hand, and you decide to take a break to make a phone call to a loved one. Then, ironically, when you are with your friends or your family, you might start thinking about a project that you are behind on at work. You begin to get irritated and worried because you haven't used your time wisely, and now you regret it. You stop listening to the conversation and you become distant because all you can think about is how you should be working.

We do things like this all of the time when we are living without the structure that goals give to us. When you have a solid set of goals that you are working towards, you learn very quickly that you must be fully present when you are with people that you care about and that you must be totally engaged when you are required to complete a task. This is one of the most beneficial things that goals can give you. You learn to live in the moment and give yourself completely to whatever it is that you are doing, no matter what you are doing.

Goals keep you motivated

The best way to feel motivated is to already be motivated. I think we can all agree on that point. And, for the most part, when we set out to achieve a new goal, we are usually pretty motivated. But, after some time has passed and the newness and optimism begins to wear off, or after experiencing some setbacks or disappointments, we often begin to lose that first burst of energy, and our motivation wanes.

This is where having goals can save you from losing ground, sabotaging yourself or even giving up entirely. Change is hard. And, going after what you want in life most definitely involves a lot of change. After all, if you didn't have to change and work on yourself, you'd already be at your goal, right? But, when you have a goal, and even a series of smaller goals, each time you reach one of those goals, you can see how far you've come. This will give you the momentum you need to keep going.

For example, if your goal is to lose 40 pounds, you don't just say, "I'm going to lose 40 pounds" and then you set off to achieve that goal.

First of all, that goal is going to take some time, and you can bet that between now and the day that your scale registers the 40 pound loss, a lot of events are going to occur in your life. You're going to experience a lot of ups and downs, and highs and lows. You absolutely need each and every 5 pound goal marker along the way to keep you on track and keep you motivated to stay on the path. 

Every time that you lose 5 more pounds, you are going to feel so happy and you must celebrate that fact! That joy that you feel is like fuel for the journey. Being able to document any kind of movement and progress will fuel your momentum. Each little victory that you experience will give you a boost that will motivate you to want to achieve more. And, when you are already motivated, it's a lot easier to stay that way!

Goals allow you to measure progress

Goals help you make the insurmountable possible. Just as goals help to keep you motivated, they also help you to measure your progress. It's so important to be able to see progress when you are working towards a goal or trying to change something. Because we know ourselves and are with ourselves every day, we develop a type of blindness or even a denial about our evolution and growth. That blindness can be a horrible hindrance to our progress, and can cause us to view ourselves through a skewed perspective.

Having goals to measure our progress by gives us concrete and undeniable proof that we are achieving what we set out to achieve. We often need that proof, not just to encourage us to keep going, but to also prevent us from being too hard on ourselves. It's been said that we are our own worst critic, and this is often the case when it comes to trying to change our lives and experiencing personal growth.

We simply are not as kind to ourselves as we are to others, and it's so easy to get impatient and frustrated with ourselves when we are trying to accomplish a goal. But, having smaller goals along the way to our major goal is a key to being able to see change, no matter how small it may be. Meeting incremental goals along the way also serves the purpose of keeping you on target for your ultimate goal, therefore you end up achieving more in the long run.

How frequently should you set goals?

Contribution by Allie J Hoffman

Photo: Pinterest

 

“I set some small goals to keep my morale boosted and then larger long term goals to drive my ambition forward,” said Young Miss International Spokesmodel 2018-2019 Elizabeth Hunt.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”? I have often thought about this saying and it applies so well into goal setting. Goals have the ability to change our very trajectory of life with just a nugget of thought. Although we have to process and work to achieve that goal, the initial concept is just a mere idea. A mere idea today that may change the rest of your life. You may not realize this, but every single day of your life you are goal setting.

Some goals may seem mundane to us, like finishing a crossword puzzle or getting all of your homework or work completed. Other goals like raising a certain amount of money for charity or completing your higher education can be set daily but take much more than a day to achieve. Regardless of how often we set goals, the amount of time it takes to achieve them will depend on the goal itself. So how do you know how often to set them? It is important to define your goals and have a timeline of how to achieve them, so that you don’t lose track. Read on to learn what goals are appropriate for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly timelines.

Daily Goals

“Write down goals every month and read them everyday.” Co-founder of Evercoach, Ajit Nawalkha recalls of a tip he heard in a seminar. “These goals were not year long goals. Some of these were five year-ten year goals.”

Even though he is reviewing goals daily, they aren’t necessarily daily goals. So in a way, his daily goal is to review his long terms goals. Why, you may ask, is it beneficial to write and review goals daily if they aren’t daily goals? Think back to elementary school. Once a week we are given a list of spelling words to be reviewed daily and tested on a few days later. Now if we have those spelling words in our folder and never took them back out, the chances of correctly placing the letters days later are small. You have a higher chance of acing your spelling bee by taking them out everyday and reading them out loud, re-writing them and letting them sink into our memory.  

For more tips on achieving personal growth check out Ajit and many more life coaches on the Mindvalley Youtube channel here. For a cute ‘goal journal’ to log your objectives, I suggest this little cutie pictured below available on Wearlively.com.

Photo: www.wearlively.com

With all that we have going on in our lives; pageant prep and everyday life tasks, how can we possibly find time to work toward a long term goal let alone review a possibly long and sky-high list of goals? Brian Tracy has an approach on this that may ease your daily stress, he says in part to establish a morning ritual that will be uplifting and positive.  He refers to this as “The Golden Hour.” Check out more life coaching tips from Brian.

While his method is take 30 minutes to an hour each day to do something pro-active, my suggestion is to build in 30 minutes every morning to review your goals, manage your goals and plan. Can you imagine yourself sipping from your Pageant Planet coffee cup, reading Pageant Daily while going through a goal journal every morning? That sounds like a calm and amazing ritual to start off each day. To begin your morning ritual, head on over to the Pageant Planet shop for an assortment of coffee or tea mugs here.

The perfect mug for the pageant girl in your life. Photo: Pageant Planet

With all that we want to accomplish in our lives from academics, pageantry, fitness, finances and so much more, how to we determine what goals are appropriate to complete in just one day? Once you set your long term goals then you can break down your goal into smaller sections. For example, if your long term goal is to obtain a four year degree then a daily goal could be contacting schools you are interested in. Perhaps you’d like to be debt free in five years, a daily goal could then be to evaluate all of your debts, list them and break them down by how much you will need to pay yearly or month. I know this sounds backwards, set your long term plans first to achieve them daily. By setting a proper structure of smaller goals you then, in return, achieve your long turn target.

Weekly

A weekly goal may be a bit tricky to define. Weekly goals aren’t as immediate as daily goals but aren’t as long term and monthly or yearly goals. Your weekly ambition may be harder to plan will have a bigger result than a daily goal. A weekly goal can be useful when logging finance and fitness goals. We all know the feeling of trying to shed weight weeks before a pageant. Since weight can fluctuate from day to day, measuring weight by week will be most beneficial. Weekly finance goals are also very fulfilling to set and achieve as well! If you have a goal of paying off debt and cutting out extra spending on things like fast food and outings, weekly budgets are more appropriate than daily.

The guideline below shows another way of organizing your goals into a neat timeline. Instead of listing out your goals, use your journal to reflect an overall picture of your goals by starting with what you can do right now! If you are using this method, your weekly goal will be based on what your monthly goal is. What is one thing you can do this week to meet your monthly goal? This guideline also using the ‘backward’ method of concentrating your efforts on long term goals by breaking them down into smaller goals.

Photo: Pat Flynn Pinterest

Monthly

Monthly aspirations are best kept track of with a calendar. I find using different colored pencils or pens work fabulously when I’m truly working hard toward any monthly or long term goal. Plan out your month a few days before and be firm. We absolutely want you to reach for the stars with your goals, but be realistic about how much you can achieve in a small timeline like a week or month.

While working toward bigger, long term goals, you should take a moment to re-evaluate each month. Take into consideration what worked to achieve your goals daily and weekly within the month. Ask yourself if you’ve used your ‘Golden Hour’ appropriately or if you need to find a different time or way to memorize your goals. Change up your timeline if you feel you are more focused on one goal than another. Always celebrate what you have accomplished the month before, reward included!

When reaching for a pageant goal, you may want to go over your achievements throughout the month. How much community service work should you do monthly to reach the title so you rightfully want? How many coaching sessions a month are appropriate in a month’s time to prepare for your next event? Of course, what budget can you work with each month to afford to buy one outfit or two new accessories for competition? By setting monthly pageant goals, within a year you will be more than prepared with no stress at all come pageant day.

Photo: Pinterest

Yearly and beyond

Yearly goals are my favorite to plan. That’s because the pride you feel after completing a year of work toward a goal is like no other! They tend to be larger goals like moving into a different home, getting a promotion at work or preparing for a large pageant. Going on your dream vacation, paying off a student loan and buying a new car are also very important yearly goals. For some of these, my examples may take a year or more to achieve, it will all depend on where you start off and how eager you are to achieve them.

Since a year's time (or more) can be a bit overwhelming, creating a visionary board of your dreams and ambitions can get a wonderful year-round motivator (and a lot of fun too!). Bust out your markers, printer and poster board to create a bright, focused image of what you want your world to look like at the end of the year. Your visionary board can include anything from positive words, the purse of your dreams to that fancy car you’ve always wanted or that girls trip you so deserve to an island paradise.

When creating a visionary board, try to stick to your goals list in your journal. Structure is so important when maintaining and trying to reach goals. If we develop new goals, we can always add them in. Remember what you started with though. Positive captions are always great to paste onto your dream board, because they may just give you inspiration on a somber day.

Not sure where to start? Check out Goal Setting 101 to learn how to set your pageant goals!

How to set realistic goals

Contribution by Julia Stone

When it comes to setting goals, there are typically three types of people;

  1. The first type of person is the color-coding, planner-obsessed, never missed a deadline, list-making fanatic who cannot wait to jump in and start on those 65 goals that she plans to accomplish in the next 60 days.
  2. The second type is the go-with-the-flow, let's not rush to closure too soon, I'd like to sleep on that decision, multiple choice answer loving person who gets anxious when pushed to make a commitment about what she's doing next weekend.
  3. Then, there are the rest of us.

The rest of us fall somewhere in between our two friends. We might solidly lean towards being more organized and structured, or we might prefer to have things more open ended and less formalized. Or, we might be a unique mixture of the two.

Obviously, this is a wild generalization of temperament styles and personality types, but the point is that we are all different when it comes to how we approach the concept of goal setting. We are emphasizing this point about how diverse we all are because there is a myth about goal setting that a lot of people believe, and that is that there is one right way to go about it. The truth is that there are as many ways to set goals as there are individuals on the planet.

But, the bigger truth is that the majority of people who have tried to set goals, don't often meet them to their satisfaction, and that is what we want to address in this section. Most of us have had some experience with goal setting in our lives, and we have achieved a moderate amount of success with our goal setting systems. But, for most folks, there is a nagging feeling that we could be achieving so much more, if we just knew how to do it.

And, for a few of us, there is a sickening anxiety in the pit of our stomach because we worry that we may never accomplish our most important goals; the most cherished dreams of our hearts. And, the reason for that anxiety is that we know for a fact that what we have done in the past has not brought about the ultimate results that we deeply desire.

For example, perhaps you are a pageant contestant who dreams of winning your state pageant. You've worked very hard on learning everything that you can in order to achieve that goal. But, you know that you still need to make some improvements because for the last four years, you have only managed to make the Top 10 when you competed. You are at a place now where you're not sure whether you will ever see that crown on your head, and the most frustrating thing of all is that you're not ready to give up, but you honestly don't know what to do to get to where you want to be.

You've probably heard the saying that, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result".

Well, when you've come face to face with the realization that you don't know what else to do differently, it goes without saying that you're going to feel a bit cray-cray. We all know the benefits of goal setting, and we all desire to meet some very specific goals in our lives. Yet, we all also struggle with our motivation about reaching those goals. We sense that we're missing something, and that it seems like everyone else has the answers, but we don't.

Our goal at Pageant Planet is to give our readers everything that they need to not only achieve their pageant goals, but to also be happy and fulfilled while they're going after those goals. It is our belief that you can become the person that you want to become, and that all you need are the tools and the determination to do it. We will do all that we can to provide you with those tools, along with the support that you require. And, one of the tools that you need in your pageant arsenal is the knowledge of how to set effective goals for yourself, and then how to go after them.

Goal setting myths

Before we get into the "How" of setting realistic goals, we need to debunk some of the myths that have been perpetuated about goal setting, because more than likely, you have believed some of these untruths, and that might be exactly why you have not been as successful in reaching your goals as you'd like to be.

Myth #1: There is one right way to set goals

The first myth that we touched on earlier is that there is only one correct way to set and reach goals, and consequently, if you don't do it that way, you are doomed to failure! This is one of the biggest lies out there and it has been a major stumbling block for a lot of people, particularly our "go-with-the-flow" friends who break out in hives at the mere thought of something being black and white.

The bottom line is that the right method of goal setting is the one that works for you! That is all that you need to know!

First off, you must know yourself well enough to know what your preferences are and what type of things frustrate you or make you less effective. Then, take some time to explore some goal setting techniques and find which one or a combination of methods that works best for your temperament. There are countless techniques out there that will mesh with how you like to do things.

Simply do a search on the internet, explore some books on the subject or ask friends, family members or colleagues what types of goal setting methods that they have found successful. We will lay out a very straight forward method in this section that has proven to be very powerful for millions of people in the past, and perhaps it can help you as well.

Myth #2: Goal setting is complicated

This myth has done more damage to more people, and it's really unfortunate because some people have been so thoroughly defeated by this belief that they have totally given up on their goals and dreams.

Goal setting is really what you make it. And, you do not have to make it a super complex process. Some people do tend to overcomplicate the process, but typically, those people are usually complicated people to begin with, in some respects. There are actually individuals who thoroughly enjoy taking things to the next level, and they get very energized by including a ton of detail into their projects, which includes setting goals.

But, if that's not you, then don't do that. It's not necessary at all. The most important thing about goal setting is not how you get to your goal; it's that you actually get there! And, if the best way for you to "get there" is to go directly from point A to point B, then suit yourself. The acronym, "K.I.S.S.", or "keep it simple sweetie" is probably the best advice that we can give you on the subject.

Myth #3: You're either good at goal setting or you're not

The people who believe this myth might have had some negative experiences in the past with setting goals and because they didn't know what they were doing and didn't have someone to help them along the way, they just assumed that they did not have the skill set naturally and that everyone else "gets it."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that goal setting is a skill that everyone has to learn, and it also takes some time and practice to get good at it. As we stated earlier, there are a huge variety of goal setting techniques in the world, and if you have practiced a technique that didn't fit your personality or style of doing things, then you likely came away from that experience feeling defeated and no closer to your goals in the end.

Trust us when we say that you can learn how to master the process of setting goals and you will achieve the goals that you set out to accomplish, if you just take the time to be open minded and be patient with yourself and the process. After all, "practice makes proficient"!

Myth #4: I've tried to set goals before and it didn't work, so I quit

The last myth is probably the one that breaks our hearts the most. Sadly, a lot of people are under the misguided notion that they just cannot learn to set goals, nor will they ever reach them. Let's nip this lie in the bud right now!

Whether you know it or not, you've been setting goals and obtaining them your entire life. You see, setting goals and reaching them are part of being human, and you have been doing this process every single day that you have been on this earth. Setting goals is as natural to us as breathing, and we really don't have to work hard to learn how to do it. The only thing that we have to learn is how to consciously select our goals and then pursue them in a methodical way that makes sense to us. From the moment that you learned that you could hold a toy in your hand or how to skip down the sidewalk or jump rope with your friends, to the moment that you opened your eyes this morning when the alarm clock went off, you have naturally and effortlessly been setting goals and reaching them, all on your own.

The reason that you now might think that you can't do it, is because most of the goals that you achieve without effort are goals that are programmed into your unconscious. They are automatic, reflex goals that you set and then achieve without thinking. The reason that you might struggle with setting and achieving goals now in your life is that these are new, ground breaking goals that you have no frame of reference for, and you will have to change, drastically in some cases, to accomplish them. But, it does not mean that you cannot do it.

You just need a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of help, and that's why we're here.

Elis Miele being crowned Miss Mundo Brasil 2019. Photo: Pageant Circle

The 7 Steps To Goal Setting

This particular method of goal setting was developed by one of the modern leaders of positive thinking and personal growth techniques, author, speaker and mentor, Zig Ziglar. We have elaborated on and customized the information included in his original seven steps, so that they are more in alignment with what contestants and other professionals in the pageant industry need with regard to goal setting.

1. Identify What You Want

Ziglar's first step to goal setting is pretty direct and uncomplicated. If you don't identify a target, you will never hit it. When you identify a goal it means that you write it down and describe it clearly. But, he warns about the tendency that we all have to be vague with our goals. Don't set any nebulous targets. If you want to have specific success you must have specific targets.

In fact, Zig was famous for saying, "You cannot make it as a wandering generality, you must become a meaningful specific."

This step may be the most important step of all, but it's easy to minimize its importance just because we all think we know what we want at first glance. But, you need to spend some time on identifying not only what you want but also what you're willing to sacrifice to reach that goal.

Michael Matthews is a phenomenal fitness trainer and guru who has helped thousands of men and women achieve the body of their dreams, along with the personal goals that they sought to accomplish all their lives. His mission is to give everyone the opportunity to succeed in their life by employing time-proven, evidence-based advice on how to build muscle, lose fat and get and stay healthy. He has created a system where his clients learn to develop a "champion mindset" that is based on practical, easy to understand advice grounded in real science and results. Michael Matthews has written countless fitness books that have sold millions of copies, but it is the book called, "The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation" that is truly groundbreaking.

In the chapter called, "The Wrong Way and Right Way to Set Goals", he discusses his very exhaustive research on why it is so crucial that you take the time to select the right goals to pursue at the right time.

"We're often told that failure to achieve goals is due to a lack of motivation, passion or some other elusive feeling," Matthew says. "We're told that we just need to think bigger or deeper, to hitch our wagons to a star and meditate on what success looks like and what we really want to achieve."

Failure is rarely solved along these lines. Instead, you have to embody your own answer to the question of, "what are you willing to give up?"

"When you view goal setting in this light, you learn that effective goal setting is more a matter of effective goal selection than anything else," states Matthews. "In other words, you must first decide which goals are worth the pain and which aren't, and then focus all of your attention and efforts on the things in the first bucket, and abandon the rest."

Matthew goes on to say that if you have too many goals at once, they tend to compete with each other for your time and attention. This is one of the temptations for people who consider themselves, "over-achievers."

"Less is often more with goal setting and it's why you must be brutally honest with yourself about what you're truly willing to pay to have the things you say you want."

Now that we know that the goals that we choose are probably the most important aspect of this entire goal setting process, how do we go about choosing the right ones? As the most successful investor of the twentieth century and one of the world's richest men, Warren Buffett, has mastered how to better set and achieve goals. Buffett developed a goal setting method called the, "2 List Strategy", which is particularly brilliant, because it can be applied to long term life goals, short term specific goals and even weekly to-do lists. His method is very simple and straightforward, but highly effective.

The first step is to write down your top twenty-five goals, projects or tasks. In this step you want to take your time and get everything down that you feel drawn toward in general or in specific areas of your life. Don't set vague goals that can't be measured, like "to be better at pageant interview" or "get in shape for my next pageant". Push yourself to envision specific, challenging goals like, "to practice 10 mock pageant interviews with people who do not know me", or "to lose 15 pounds of fat, while increasing the muscle and definition in my legs by quitting sugar and exercising 4 times a week".

The second step is to circle the top five most important goals, projects or tasks of the 25. To determine which you should ultimately choose, start by circling the ones that stand out as the most critical, rewarding or interesting.

The third step is to separate all of the goals into two lists. The top 5 goals, projects or tasks comprise List A, and the remaining 20 goals comprise List B.

The next part, Buffet says, is crucial. Instead of doing what most people do, and start working on List A as the primary focus and then chip away at List B when time permits. Buffet says you should start working on List A and avoid everything on List B as a potential distraction until List A is complete. Buffet approaches his goals in this fashion because he knows that everything takes more time, energy and attention than we realize going in, and especially things that we care about.

2. List the Benefits or "Your Why"

If you've been around pageantry for any length of time, you've likely been asked the question, "What is your why?" Your "Why" is the main motivating reason that you are doing something, such as competing in a pageant. And, more than likely, during your pageant interview, a judge will ask you just exactly why you are competing in the pageant. This is something that you must know the answer to. Another way to look at this step, or other questions to ask yourself are, "What are the real benefits of reaching this goal" or "What's in it for me?"

Once you identify a specific goal you must list all of the benefits you will receive when you reach that goal. Let's face it, we only do the things we want to do and are willing to do. If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal will be diminished. You will need all the personal motivation you can muster, and understanding what's in it for you is vitally important.

There are going to be days where you want to quit, and you have to know that going into this process. When that day comes, you have got to know why you are doing all that you are doing. You have to be able to convince yourself that there are real benefits and that all of your hard work is going to be worth it in the end.

If you cannot create those reasons, then you are more likely to give up when the going gets tough.

3. Identify the obstacles you need to overcome to get there

This step is so important to the realization of your goals, that if you don't take the time to thoroughly think about it, you will run the risk of not being successful in reaching those goals. In fact, when most people do goal setting, they are so excited and psyched to take action that they never stop to think through all of the potential obstacles that they're going to come up against in the process. They end up getting blindsided and then wonder why they never get what they're going after. Without question, for many of us, this is the make or break moment because every single person has obstacles or potential pitfalls when it comes to achieving their goals.

Zig says, "After all, if there is nothing between you and your goals, you'd already be there."

The truth is that the quality of any aspect of our lives is mostly determined by the quality of the many decisions and choices we've made along the way. For instance, if we don't have the body we want, it's probably because we've made the choice too many times to cheat on our diet and skip our workouts. Or, if we don't have the money in our bank account that we had planned to save from each paycheck all year long, it may be that we made the decision to spend impulsively on cute clothes and shoes that we really didn't need. By consciously identifying the potential obstacles that stand in our way, we can take back our power and be proactive with regard to our weaknesses.

Notorious psychologist Carl Jung says, "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."

There will be some rough spots on your journey as you work to achieve your goals. Many of them can be anticipated and if you can anticipate something you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it. So, think it through and make a complete list of all the things that can prevent you from being successful. If you can't think of everything, ask a trusted friend who knows you well to help you finish the list.

Another great idea is to look back to when you may have pursued this goal previously. You probably know exactly what obstacles you faced when you tried to tackle this goal before, and obviously those obstacles are still relevant or you would have achieved this goal.

One important thing to note is that you do not have to devise a solution for each of your obstacles at this stage of the game. This will happen in one of the later steps. The crucial thing is to just be aware of all of the potential obstacles that might interfere with you obtaining your goals.

Miss Asia Pacific International 2019 Court. Photo: Pageant Circle

4. List the skills and knowledge required

This step is all about breaking down each of your goals and thinking about what you must learn or obtain in order to reach that goal. It is fairly straightforward, as long as you can break each larger goal down into smaller goals.

For example, if your goal is to win a pageant, then you likely will have an entire list of skills that you must learn and knowledge that you must acquire. In this example, each one of those skills and piece of knowledge then become their own goals.

Let's say that one of the skills that you need to learn in order to reach your ultimate goal of winning a pageant, is that you must learn to deliver a good onstage introduction. So, you write that down on your list and then go onto the next step in order to identify how you're going to do that.

Knowledge gives us the power to accomplish things we would not otherwise be able to do, and skills give us the tools to take advantage of our knowledge. There is a direct relationship between knowing and doing, and successfully accomplishing your goals will require that powerful combination.

5. Identify the people and groups to work with, or that can help you

When you are going after something, especially if it is something big, like trying to win a pageant, you absolutely need the help of other people. This is not the time for being prideful, independent or shy. The bottom line is that you cannot reach big goals without other people. No titleholder or successful person in the field of pageantry has ever achieved a title or personal success without the knowledge, assistance, help and support of a variety of people.

In fact, every single queen that you know created a tribe of supportive individuals and specialized professionals that she surrounded herself with. Then, she worked diligently with them throughout the long preparation period prior to her competition. In pageantry, there is so much to learn, and nobody has it all together when they first enter this industry. Natural talent, or just physical beauty if not going to win you a crown.

It takes a long time to gain the skills that you must have in order to win. You need the support of your friends and family, you need the knowledge and wisdom of coaches and you need the assistance and benefits of networking from other professionals in the industry.

So as you are creating your goals, always consider the people and the groups you can work with that can help you be more successful. Pay special attention to the areas where you are weak and need the most help. Those are the areas where you are going to require the help of others who are further down the road than you are.

6. Develop a plan of action

This is the most critical step because it brings everything that you've been thinking about together, and it will become the literal series of actions that you will take each day to get you moving toward your goal. This step involves carefully and critically thinking through the details of how you will actually achieve your goal.

Another thing that you want to do while you are developing your plan is to try and come up with your solutions or plan for dealing with all of those setbacks and obstacles that you inventoried in step number three.

This part of the process may seem like it's very complicated, but it's actually not, as long as you have been thorough as you have taken the steps up to this point. You have all the answers already, now you just need to put it all into a framework and a timeline. You know what your goals are and you know how much these goals will benefit you. You know the obstacles in your way and who can help you. You know what skills you must acquire and what knowledge you need to learn to get you further down the path.

Now you just need to figure out how you're going to do it and when.

For instance, if one of your goals is to lose 20 pounds before your ultimate goal, which is competing in a pageant, and you've gone through the steps so far, it would look like this:

You are going to lose 20 pounds prior to the pageant, and you've identified the benefits of achieving this goal, but you also identified that one of the obstacles is that you get bored working out alone, and you become unmotivated. Therefore, you realize that in order to get past this obstacle, you either need to hire a coach, get a training partner or find another way to get support. The plan of action that you need to now create is to perhaps contact a few personal trainers and talk to them about your fitness goals, then decide if you want to work with one of them.

Another thing that you could do is to make a list of all of your friends and people that you know that might be interested in working out with you in some way. You could arrange to go to the gym with a friend twice on the weekend, go for a walk with your mom one evening a week and hike with your cousin every other week. Who knows, you might be able to organize and inspire a bunch of people to commit to exercising with each other on a regular basis.

In addition to those ideas, what about making a list of group exercise classes that you could try out? You could try Zumba, kickboxing, circuit training, yoga or even a dance class. The thing about taking a class with a group of people, is that you might start out alone, but you soon become friends with all of your classmates!

And, since you want to be really committed to reaching your goal, you should think about ways that you can overcome this obstacle of working out alone. You could join an online fitness group, like a Facebook group, and that way you could get the support of other people. Or, maybe just try listening to a recorded book of some kind while you're going for a walk by yourself and try to become more comfortable with the idea of exercising alone.

The point of all of this is that you take this process seriously and do all that you can to set yourself up for success.

If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed and you're not entirely sure where to start with your plan of action, then try a technique called, "reverse engineering". Another way to say this is, "Begin with the end in mind". You just start at the end and work your way backwards. It sounds kind of nutty, but you will be shocked at how easy it will be to put the steps in place, if you do it this way.

7. Set a deadline for achievement

If you don't set a deadline for completing your goals you will not be able to be accountable to yourself, or anyone else. If you are not accountable for your goals, you will not achieve them.

When you approach your goals in a systematic way like this, you are thinking about all of the steps that you need to take in a very real and critical way, which ensures that you will reach that goal in the end. This is how you do it!

You cannot just put a list of goals down on paper and think that just because you wrote it down, that's it all going to materialize. There is no magic to reaching your goals and making your dreams come true. You reach your goals by being smart, taking the time to know yourself, create and commit to a process, work very, very, very hard and never give up!

How do you stay accountable to your goals?

Contribution by Julia Stone

What does accountability to my goals mean and why is it so important?

An inspiring motivational speech with a commanding call-to-action can make the most anxious and unmotivated of us feel empowered enough to decide to take steps towards our goal. We feel pumped up, determined, invincible and ready to take on the world!

And, then it happens.

At some point our progress begins to slow, we begin to feel fatigued, things get tougher, maybe we're not seeing the results we long to see or things aren't happening as fast as we'd like them to and we start to get discouraged. This is often the point where most of us want to give up, and tragically, many of us do.

So, what sets those people who give up, apart from the individuals who actually do keep going and eventually obtain their goals? Is it that the people who reach their goals are just stronger? Or, did they choose to go after much easier goals than the rest of us, who failed? Is it that the people who achieve their goals have some secret formula to success that the rest of us don't?

The answer is yes; actually they do have a formula that makes them more successful. But, it's not a secret, and we're going to share it with you right now. It's called, "Accountability." Immediately, we know that some of you just cringed and are having a negative reaction to the word, "accountability," because you may confuse this concept with someone acting in an "authoritarian" way.

The first thing that you need to know about accountability is that it is about "control," but not in the way that you think.

The word, authoritarian means, "Favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom: Of or relating to someone exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another."

But, we are not talking about somebody controlling you and your actions or trying to take your freedom away. We're not suggesting for example that you need to hire a former army general to bark orders at you or intimidate you into doing what it is that you are trying to do. Accountability simply means responsibility, or an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. But, this is not at all about another person forcing you to accept responsibility for actions that they want you to take.

Accountability is all about you accepting responsibility for actions that you want to take. Let's be honest here. Trying to make your dreams come true is hard work! And, pursuing all of those smaller goals along the way that get you to that dream is most often a long term endeavor. Staying the course requires pushing yourself past the point that you have gone before, and sometimes you even have to go into unchartered territory that you're not convinced is even possible. You might not even be sure if your dream is possible!

When you are going up against those kinds of challenges, you need all the help that you can get. You need people who are going to care about your dream as much as you do, even when you want to give up on it. So then, the concept of accountability is really all about a partnership, not a dictatorship. YOU are the one who is in control in this scenario. YOU are creating a partnership with other people who understand what your goals are and can hold you accountable to the actions that YOU set up for yourself.

Ironically, these people who you choose to be accountable to are actually trying to help you to obtain your freedom, not take it away. The freedom that they're helping you achieve is tied to self-mastery, which you learn through the process of going after a goal. The whole point of an accountability person is ultimately to help you learn to be accountable to yourself, by yourself.

How to create a support or accountability team

The first thing you need to know about creating an accountability team is that usually the best support people for us are the kind of people who have qualities that we ourselves do not possess. In other words, they are strong in areas where we are weak

That means that if you are a procrastinator, you need a person who is not a procrastinator in their life, a person who is all about action and do-it-now! Then, that person is going to teach you how to learn to do that for yourself. But, until you learn it you need them to be accountable to so that you do not continue your habit of avoiding or putting off what you want to do.

Secondly, you need to determine specifically how your accountability person can help you throughout the process of reaching your goal.

The structure of an accountability relationship looks different for everyone, and it's imperative that you know yourself well enough to know what works for you and what doesn't.

And, you also need to be honest with yourself about what you really need or your accountability partners are not going to be able to do what you need them to do.

If you are a person who hates to work with a deadline, balks at the idea of structure and suffers palpitations when asked to plan ahead for the next 2 weeks, then you need to tell your accountability partner about your preferences, and how they can best help you to create a structure and a plan that you are comfortable with.

Thirdly, decide how often you will be in contact with each other or how often you will get together or meet in person, online or on the phone.

You need to discuss this because you are probably going to need a lot of support, especially in the beginning of obtaining you goal and you need to be sure that your support person can be available to you. If they are limited in how much time they can give you, then you need to know that so you can perhaps find another person to help you out too.

One thing to note, is that your support team should not be called upon only in emergency situations. They are not there to put the pieces back together after everything has fallen apart. They need to be involved with you throughout the entire goal-getting process. If you are in contact all the time, then you are less likely to have everything fall apart.

Once you have decided how often to call them or get together, then commit to it!

The fourth step is to create a plan for reaching small goals, along with a timeline and rewards.

You really need to break down your plan or big goal into smaller goals, that you can reach, especially if your goal is a major one or particularly difficult. Reaching those smaller goals will give you much confidence and will inspire you to keep going.

Having a timeline can be very helpful to keep your momentum going, but just be sure that your time frames are reasonable and not so aggressive that you run the risk of sabotaging yourself.

Along with setting small goals, you should always try to come up with appropriate rewards to celebrate your success. Rewards can be very simple things that just give you a way to indulge without getting off track. Just remember that the best reward of all is the fact that you are reaching your goals.

Finally, the fifth step in creating a support or accountability team, is to come up with a set of consequences if you do not do what you say you want to do.

Most people do not want to do this step, but it's so important. Your support team has committed their time, energy, wisdom and dedication to helping you to reach your goals, and you owe it to them to honor their sacrifice. You also need to have a consequence hanging over your head in the event that you do not do what you say you're going to do.

Establishing a consequence is not about punishing yourself. This is about your personal integrity and it's also about an additional motivation that can be very powerful for you, if used properly.

You can do things like give your accountability person a specific sum of money, and if you don't do what you say you're going to do, they then give that money to a cause that you do not support or do something with that money that you do not like.

It doesn't have to be a huge sum of money, but whatever consequence you choose, should be suitably motivating for you to stick to your plan.

To summarize, here are the 5 steps to creating a support or accountability team:

1.  Find accountability and support people who are strong where you are weak

2.  Determine specifically how each one of them can help you throughout the process

3.  Decide how often you will be in contact (plan when you will get together or meet in person, online or on the phone)

4.  Create a plan for reaching small goals, along with a timeline and rewards

5.  Create a set of consequences if you do not do what you say you want to do

Miss Universe Iceland 2019 feeling the love after crowning. Photo: Pageant Circle

When motivation wears off

One of the most important things for you to know about goal setting and reaching your goals is that you absolutely cannot depend on "motivation" to get you what you want.

It's not a question of whether or not your motivation will wear off; it's a question of when.

That psyched-up, energized buzz that you get when you set out to achieve your goal is going to go away at some point, and you have to be ready for that moment and have a plan in place for how you're going to handle it so that you don't get derailed.

Also, please understand that it is totally normal for your initial motivation to fade, and there is nothing at all wrong with you that it does.

Many people are deceived by the belief that those champions in life (the people who become Olympic athletes, famous performers and outstanding individuals of influence) are surely born that way or destined by fate to achieve such stunning levels of success and fortune.

And, because of that those supreme beings are always motivated, at all times.

They think that those individuals must be different in some way. They must be special, blessed or just extra gifted and talented, in ways that the rest of us are not.

And, therefore, it's easier for them and so much harder for the rest of us.

There could be nothing further from the truth.

The truth is that yes, there are without a doubt, supremely talented and gifted people in the world who have been born with a natural ability or affinity for something.

They are the NBA and WNBA players who have prolific physical attributes like supreme height, formidable endurance, graceful agility and gravity defying body control.

They are the business moguls and technology wizards who maybe had the wherewithal to attend a prestigious school, and who possess a keen intellect, intuitive insight and a passion for tenacious risk taking.

They are the titleholders and beauty queens, who were born with jaw dropping statuesque beauty, who walk, pose and turn seamlessly on stage, who have a knack for public speaking and wield an effortless charm and charisma that draws others to them.

But, for every professional basketball player, millionaire business tycoon and international beauty queen that has risen to the top of their field, there are countless others, just like them, who did not.

Why?

The reason is that people who achieve their dreams do not rely on motivation to get them there.

Motivation is really just an emotional state. It's nothing more than that. Motivation is another way of saying, "I feel like it".

And, you know as well as we do that you don't always, "feel like it".

Right?

Therefore, you cannot depend on wanting to feel like doing something, in order to do it.

Those people in the world that have been given natural abilities can only go so far on those abilities. At some point, they will hit the wall and their motivation will wane. It happens to everybody.

Remember that setting and achieving goals is a skill that can be learned.

Achieving goals is not some magical process that only the most gifted people on the planet can do because they're just lucky, born that way or because it's their destiny.

The people who push through that lack of motivation are the ones who reach their goals.

Wise people know that their initial motivation is going to go away, so they're not shocked or dismayed when it does. They have a plan in place for how they are going to push through and continue on to achieve their goals.

Earlier in this guide, there is a section called, The 7 Steps To Goal Setting, and step #3 is, "Identify the obstacles you need to overcome to get there".

Identifying all potential obstacles is so important to the realization of your goals, that if you don't take the time to thoroughly think through it, you will run the risk of not being successful in reaching those goals.

Pushing through the point where your motivation fades is definitely one of the biggest obstacles that you're going to come up against, so you'd better create a plan to deal with it.

The first thing that successful people do is to contact their accountability partners when they lose their motivation. In fact, you should never really be out of touch with your support people and mentors. They are not there to be a 911 call. They should be working with you throughout the entire process of going after a goal, not just called in when you have an emergency.

Miss Earth USA 2019 Emanii Davis. Photo Pageant Circle. Photo: Pageant Circle

Ideas for recapturing your motivation:

Remember your "Why"

Before you set off down the path towards your goal, you should have done some soul searching and discovered your, "why".

We talk about this concept a lot in pageantry, but it's really a universal truth when it comes to achieving any goal or pursuing any endeavor in life.

Your "why" is the nitty gritty, deep down, honest-to-goodness reason that you want something, plain and simple.

Your "why" must be real, honest and powerful in order to motivate you to hang in there through all of the ups and downs that you will experience on the way to achieving your goal. Therefore, it requires that you be brutally and sincerely honest with yourself about what is driving you.

When you can remember your "why" and mentally put yourself in the middle of all of those powerful feelings that are driving you, you will be able to reconnect with your motivation.

Keep a journal

One of the best things that you can do when you are going for a big goal is to keep a journal. If you don't like the idea of writing every day, no problem! You don't have to write every day and keep a diary. That is not the point. The point is that when you keep a journal, you document all the good and not so good things that are happening in your life with regard to your goal.

One of the most powerful things that can happen is when you write about your progress, your passion for your dreams or about what you've learned and how you've changed, you can go back and read those entries when you're feeling down or unmotivated, and it will immediately lift you up!

Create a Vision Board

Do not overlook the power that a vision board can have in your life! Some people may criticize the idea because they think it's flaky and hippy-ish and just basically a goofy, pointless thing to do. However, a vision board or a dream board is actually a very practical and scientific way to put your brain to good use in helping you to achieve your goals.

The facts are that when you actually visualize reaching your goals in your mind, they are more likely to occur. It doesn't mean that you don't have to work. It's not magic after all! It is simply a tool that you can use to keep the images of your goal right in front of your face. And, when you are focusing on your goal, you are more likely to take the actions to bring that goal into reality.

Just keep it simple and cut out a bunch of photos and words that relate to your goal, and glue them onto a piece of cardboard or poster board. You can create one large board, or several smaller ones. Then put those boards up in prominent places where you will be sure to look at them frequently.

The bathroom is a great location because you can meditate on your board as you're brushing your teeth or doing your hair. Plus, you visit the bathroom many times a day, so it's a place that you're sure to see it often. If you have a full length mirror or a closet door, you can hang up smaller boards in those areas. That way you can focus on those powerful words and images while you're getting dressed. Somewhere next to your bed is also a good location so you can view the board before you go to sleep and when you wake up, before you even get out of bed.

Watch inspirational YouTube videos

When you are down or frustrated because you are in a rut or you're not getting the results that you want with regard to your goal, you need the help of other people to get out of your negativity.

Sometimes, just watching other people working towards their objectives or learning how they achieved their goals can give you a huge boost of confidence! Regardless of what your particular goal is, you're sure to find tons of videos on YouTube that will give you a fresh outlook.

Obviously, if you are trying to achieve a pageant related goal, you can find any number of videos that pertain to what you are trying to do. You can watch actual pageants and study walking, posing and onstage presentation. You will also learn how to speak clearly and confidently and present yourself well by watching girls who are really skilled in that area.

In addition to just watching pageants, you can also watch coaching videos and other pageant related tutorials. We are so fortunate that so many former titleholders and pageant coaches have YouTube channels and regularly create videos about things like platform development, learning interview skills and beauty related content, among other subject matter.

Read motivational books

In addition to watching videos, a great thing to do is to read inspirational books when you're feeling less than fired up about your goals. Reading autobiographies and biographies are especially helpful because you will gain so much by learning how real people overcame their own challenges, struggles and setbacks. You will gain wisdom from how they persevered in the face of adversity and hardship, as well as be encouraged by their achievements and victories.

Shake Things Up!

Sometimes we lose motivation because we are fatigued, burned out and just frankly tired of our routine. If you are in a rut because you've been doing the same things over and over, you may benefit from simply changing things up. If you're in a weight loss or fitness rut, then you've got to change your workout, do something new or learn a new routine.

If you work out in the gym all the time, then take it outside and go for a walk or run. Get some fresh air in your lungs and change your experience. The people who have changed their bodies and fashioned incredible physiques are those that have learned how crucial it is to change your workout on a regular basis. You simply cannot afford to get bored, and it's up to you to change it.

Pump up the jams!

When nothing else is working, you may just need to boogie!

You may laugh, but it is a scientific fact that dancing causes an immediate change in brain chemistry, which results in a measured increase in motivation.

OK, we just made that up, but it sounded good didn't it?

Seriously, when you are unmotivated and feeling defeated, you have got to find a way to get out of that head space. The longer you stay there, the more you are at risk for self-sabotage or other self-destructive behavior. And, besides, it just isn't any fun, is it?

Sometimes, you just need to reboot your brain, and you can't always do that easily in an ordered, rational way. Music is incredibly powerful and when you put on a favorite song, something wonderful happens. Listening to good music allows you to disengage from your negative thoughts and feelings, and helps to jolt you into a new headspace, without a lot of effort on your part.

If dancing isn't your thing, then sing your heart out! Singing loud and strong to music that means something to you can be very cathartic. Singing or dancing has a similar effect on your body and brain as exercise does, but it also engages your emotions, and that can be very therapeutic.

What accountability measures can you put in place?

The primary message that we want to communicate to you through this guide is that you are not alone in striving for your goals in this life. In fact, we're very confident in telling you that if you attempt to go after your goals without any help, you likely will not succeed. Human beings do not do well in isolation, and the wisdom, insight and support that you acquire from being in community with other people is incredibly valuable to you, on your quest to becoming the person you long to become.

The world of pageantry is filled with dedicated, accomplished and talented individuals who are driven to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be. The majority of the professionals in the pageant industry are people who value helping others to achieve their dreams as well.

In addition to all of the professionals in pageantry who can help you to reach your goals, there are also a number of other measures that you can put into place.

Accountability partners

As we've stated previously, a fantastic way to keep yourself on track towards achieving your goal is to have an accountability partner.

We cover what an accountability partner is and how to go about creating your own individual support team in another section, but briefly, they are someone who works alongside you, monitors your progress and gives you a little push when needed. This person can be just about anyone who is willing to accompany you on your journey towards your goals and who is committed to the plan of action that you put into place. It can be just one person, like a friend or even a coach, or you can create an entire group of accountability partners, like people you work with, friends from school or even your sister queens.

The important thing is that these people know what you need from them, they are in regular contact with you and they are committed to your success.

Accountability apps

We live in a wonderful age where technology-rich tools are available to us, and some of those incredible tools can actually help us in the pursuit of our goals and dreams.

"Apps" are handy little applications that can be accessed through both the internet and through a Smartphone application.

The main purpose is of these apps are to assist people in establishing and following through on their SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals.

Apps can be used for any number of goals, whether they're short-term or long-term.

Fitness apps

One of the most popular types of goals that people use an app for is related to fitness and weight loss.

Hiring a personal trainer to coach you during regular workouts can be very costly, so there are apps designed to help you just like a trainer would. They actually work and can send you notifications on your devices keep motivated.

MyFitnessPal is a smartphone app and website that tracks diet and exercise to determine optimal caloric intake and nutrients for the users' goals and uses gamification elements to motivate users. It's a free online calorie counter and diet plan. Lose weight by tracking your caloric intake quickly and easily. Find nutrition facts for over 2,000,000 foods.

Habit trackers

There are tons of great habit tracking apps out there. These apps allow you to check in with yourself daily to make sure you're making progress towards your goals.

One of the best habit trackers is Productive - Habit Tracker. It allows you to log tasks, exercises and other habits while showing you how much you've progressed over a period of time.

Another top-rated habit tracking app is Simple Habit Tracker. This app allows you to challenge yourself with 21 day streaks, comes loaded with over 200 habits and allows you to build your ideal morning ritual.

Productivity apps

These productivity apps can come in handy if you find yourself in rut. From note-taking apps that keep you organized, like EverNote, to board and group-based organization apps, like Trello, there are so many productivity apps out there for you to take advantage of.

Pageant Planet

You can't forget about Pageant Planet as a valuable tool to keep you accountable as you prepare for your upcoming pageant. Just set up your profile and enter the date of your pageant and we'll send you a helpful timeline guide to keep you accountable. You can find pageants to compete in or coaches and trainers to help you achieve your goals. Get started here.

Pageant Daily

Another invaluable resource we have to offer you is called, "Pageant Daily." It's a daily pageant newsletter containing coaching tips, podcasts, news and potential interview questions.

This is sent directly to your inbox each morning and is perfect for quick pageant prep. In five minutes, it teaches you something you need to know to be successful in pageantry, summarizes news stories that could come up in interview, gives you four to five practice interview questions and even a podcast that helps you be successful in your chosen pageant. Pretty cool, right? You can check that out here.

How do you measure whether you met your goals?

Contribution by Allie J Hoffman

You’ve made the lists, you’ve checked them every day. You’ve gone out of your way to reach your goals. Then it happens, you reach your goal. You can check an item off of your goal list! You have achieved the impossible, worked your tail off and it paid off. Now you have the promotion you wanted, the grades you worked for or the financial freedom so you deserve. But it isn’t all that simple. If there is one thing we haven’t touched on yet, it is this; that the journey it took to meet your target, gave you more than just your goal. The measure of if you met your goals or not, should not just be simply meeting the goal. It should include how meeting your goal improved or changed you!

Often times, as with anything in life, our story is so much better than just the ending. Sure, you now have an amazing title to reign with or a brand new car, but what did you learn in the process? Who did you meet? What did you give up? What story are you going to take away from your path aside from your achievement? The person you become through reaching your goals, is usually the point that we don’t see until after reaching our goal. What did winning your pageant do for you? If you don’t take away something other than your objective, then did it really improve you?

Photo: www.noblequotes.com

”Goals can have the potential value only if they help you develop and improve yourself,” Macie Dawkins Young American Teen Miss International commented. 

You see, goal-setting is not just about achieving your goal, it’s about obtaining something that enhances your life. If it were simply just about meeting your target, then any time we purchased something, be it completely mundane like groceries, we would consider that reaching a goal. But you can get or buy anything, achieving and working toward something is quite different entirely.

“Once being crowned a queen, it is an opportunity for a young woman to be a role model to community and most importantly to younger girls and women," Dawkins continued. "Pageants give all of the contestants a chance to learn about themselves and to branch out of their comfort zones to better themselves.”

In a sense, reaching your goal should be the beginning of another goal. In pageantry, if your goal is simply too grab that title, then you haven’t clearly defined your goal. What comes after the actual pageant becoming a role model, pushing your platform, raising awareness for your charities, being the icon for that particular system goes so far beyond the crown.

Macie Dawkins Young American Teen Miss International. Photo: Ant Bagshaw

Macie has been able to work and raise awareness for the Ronald McDonald House charities through her title. Through her title, she created the Gowns and Crowns walk which raised enough money to add an additional floor onto the Ronald McDonald’s House in Cardiff, Wales.

“I am able to see the impact in which my event has had on the charity and am happy to announce this will now become an annual event.” Macie continues about the impact of her charity work, “I do charity work because giving isn’t just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference. I hope that with my title I will inspire more pageant girls to do the same.”

You may find while working toward your goals that your goals change, your priorities change or that maybe where you are in life isn’t the ideal place to meet your target. No matter what is going on in your life, don’t give up on your goals. Always remember that achievements are to set yourself up for a better future. No matter the goal, you should adjust your life and adjust your plan to meet your potential. You only get one life, and what you make of it is completely up to you!

Don’t let life change your goals, because achieving your goals can change your life.

What should you do if you don’t meet your goals?

Contribution by Julia Stone


Strength and determination on the inside and out. Photo: Body by Craig

It is so imperative to understand what is happening or what is getting in the way of your results if you are working towards a goal and things are not going the way that you envisioned that they should. Maybe you are preparing for a pageant and you are shocked and dismayed to discover that you are having such a hard time. Maybe you thought that this would all be so much easier.

We're going to tell you the truth. Fighting for something and working diligently for something that is important to you is very, very hard. But, the good news is that you are not unique and you are not alone. There are a few reasons why reaching a goal is so difficult. Some of those reasons involve our personal habits, our human nature and for some of us, it is difficult because of our immaturity. Obtaining a major goal requires consistency and dedicated effort over a long period of time. We have to continually take action towards our objective, whether we feel inspired to do so or not. We have to get up when our alarm clock goes off, even though we are tired and just want to go back to bed. We have to show up for that class and do the work even if we don’t like the instructor or we just don’t “feel like it.

For many of us, that is a big challenge. We are impatient and we want it now! Unfortunately, our impatience is often rewarded because we live in an “instant gratification, order it and get it tomorrow, have it delivered to your house, I want it all and I want it now, self-centered, I’m a great big baby and it’s all about me” world. We are rewarded with a microwaved meal in five minutes and we can get a million search results from Google in a nanosecond. We have forgotten the value of working hard for something that is worth working for and waiting patiently for something that is worth waiting for.

Maybe you are not impatient, but you are still having difficulty reaching your goal and you don’t understand why you are so frustrated. This may come as a shock, but even though you may be passionate about a goal or feel like this is what you were put on the Earth to do, it does not mean that it’s going to be a breeze getting to the finish line. This is actually, in fact, the biggest misconception about goals.

The majority of people who set out to accomplish something significant think that because they are super motivated and because they have created a thorough plan, that the process of obtaining their goal should be pretty smooth and uneventful. They may even feel that they were meant to do something and therefore, they assume that because they perceive that their goal is their destiny or even possibly a spiritual calling, that all of the doors on the way will be open or that there will no resistance whatsoever from anywhere or anyone, least of all themselves. This attitude, although really sincere, is somewhat naïve.

If you have ever achieved something really monumental in your life or obtained an objective that was truly worthwhile and one that you sincerely cherish, then you know full well that the journey to that goal was nothing short of agonizing at times. You have earned the hard won wisdom of someone who has fought their own resistance, fear or personal challenges. You have learned the lessons that only someone who has walked through the fire and come out the other side, can know. Accomplishing a major life goal, especially one that involves consistent hard work, personal change, persistence faith or a huge investment of time, is one of the most challenging experiences that a human being can go through.

But, if you do not know that because you do not have the benefit of having been down that road a number of times and actually have achieved some hard won goals, then you may make the fatal mistake of quitting before that miracle happens.

For those of us who have been involved in the world of pageants for some time and have experienced the journey of preparing and competing for a pageant, understand that goals and pageantry go hand in hand. Pageants are a beautiful and glamorous world of jaw dropping fashion, dazzling talent and mesmerizing passion, topped off with an abundance of rhinestones and an array of sparkly crowns. Those are the things that brought us into pageantry. The things that keep us coming back however, are ultimately the journey of personal growth and development and the priceless rewards that we experience as a result of that growth. All of that personal growth comes from being able to set reasonable goals and creating a strategy for obtaining them. It sounds simple, but it certainly is not easy.

This section on goals is directed at those of us who are new to goal-setting as well as the people who have some experience with working towards their personal goals, but are not meeting them for some reason. It is so easy to get off track along the way or to get frustrated and impatient with yourself and the process if you are not getting the results that you think you should be getting. 

We’re going to explore why going after your goals is so hard and what you should do if you find yourself at a crossroads. We’ll examine the pros and cons of whether you should start over or keep pursuing. We will try to determine whether you should reevaluate your approach, change your priorities or lower the bar. Hopefully by the end of this journey, you will have better clarity of what you should do in your situation.

The difference between dreams and goals

Craig Hughes is a highly successful and sought after fitness coach who has helped countless titleholders and contestants reach not only their fitness goals but their pageant dreams. In fact, he has coached four Miss Virginia USA’s and two First Runner-ups! But, his expertise goes far beyond the rigorous training sessions that he takes his clients' bodies through in his gym. What Craig specializes in is the connection between what you think in your head and heart and the actions that you take in the real world. This is the key to the incredible results that his clients have come to expect with their physiques and their lives.

“At Body by Craig we coach clients to make a distinction between dreams and goals,” states Hughes. “Dreams are the “big picture” items that you visualize and strive for. Goals are the milestones you set and attain along the way to achieving those dreams. Without goals, dreams are just that: dreams. They’re out of your reach. Goals make dreams possible because the goals are always in your hands. For example, in pageantry, a dream would be to win a state Miss USA crown. A goal would be defined as putting together a complete performance plan, across the board and then allowing the outcome to take care of itself. By turning in your best performance ever, that ends up meeting your goal because it’s 100% in your hands, whereas the outcome of the pageant is not.”

What Craig Hughes is describing is an extremely powerful and effective way to view pageantry in general as well as how you prepare for your pageant experience. He’s talking about switching your focus from the outcome of the pageant to focusing on all of the specific actions that you can take that will lead to that outcome.

For instance, instead of focusing on the goal of winning the crown, focus on all of the actions that it will take to win the crown. Don’t make your goal to win, make your goal to work out consistently and intensely 4 to 5 days a week and eat clean every day. Make your goal to practice walking in your heels and working on posing and stage presence several times a week. Make your goal that you will study current events, read the paper and watch the news every evening. Make your goal that you will volunteer your time and support your platform every weekend.

When it comes down to it, winning the crown is based on being a well rounded competitor who is the “total package.” You must have top scores across the board in interview, talent, swimsuit, evening gown and any other competition categories. The irony is that when your goal is developing all of those pageant skills, you actually increase your chances of winning.

“Dreams provide the incentive and motivation to train hard for something big, push past your limits, and get to the next level,” encourages Hughes. “Without that inner passion there is no commitment to accomplishing tough goals along the way. When you dream, dream big. Dreams are a critical part of pageantry. They’re an extension of your inner passion. This is where it all begins!”


Craig Hughes and Miss Virginia USA 2019 Courtney Smits. Photo Body by Craig

 

Start over

A wise person knows when to quit and when they should readjust and begin again. One of the most frustrating points in life is when you are on a clear path and all of a sudden, something out of your control happens and just totally blindsides you. One day you are cruising towards your goal, feeling positive and looking forward to the future, and wham, you are sent spiraling out of control because of an incident that you did not see coming.

For example, maybe you entered a pageant and then you got laid off from your job without any warning, or you come to the realization that you just cannot keep up with your classes and you are running the risk of failing out of school. Perhaps there is nothing dramatic that is happening, but for whatever reason, it’s become clear to you that you just cannot handle all of the responsibilities that you have on your plate at this time, and you are suddenly hit with feelings of being overwhelmed. These kinds of events happen to all of us, and most of the time, they happen at the worst possible time and they involve a lot of things that you do not have any control over. When life happens like this, then you really need to step back and ask yourself if this is really the best time to be involved in a pageant.

Maybe you need to withdraw this year, focus on becoming employed and getting a new job that you love. Maybe you need to reassess your class load and focus on your education and then come back next year when you can really give it your all. Perhaps this life event is really just about timing and as painful as it may be to quit your pageant and start over next year, the benefit of doing so is that you will get your peace of mind back. Besides, if you go into a pageant and you are already feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed because your life is out of balance, that pageant experience is going to be extremely stressful and unpleasant for you.

At the same time, we get that making these kind of life altering decisions can be really heartbreaking and it can make you feel like you are a failure or that there is something wrong with you. We live in a society that values an overachiever mentality. The world and the people around us often push us to pursue achievements just for the sake of achievements. We find ourselves being constantly busy, focused entirely on accomplishments, rather than being focused on mental and emotional balance, and on our internal peace. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy, balanced life and there is nothing wrong with you if you decide to take a breather, change your course and start over again.

If you find yourself at a crossroads where life has intervened and interrupted the path that you were on, and you are now pondering whether or not you should quit and just start over, then you might benefit from some simple exercises. No, we’re not talking about pushups and crunches, although a little huffing and puffing would certainly help blow off some steam and minimize your stress level! What we’re referring to are some writing and meditation exercises that can be very helpful in sorting out all of your conflicting feelings about this decision.

Do a pros and cons list

First of all, doing a thorough pros and cons list can get all of your thoughts down on paper, so that you can get them out of your head and literally see them in black and white. If you have never done a pros and cons list, you may be surprised and how much this exercise can clear your thoughts in a very short time.

The benefit of doing this is that you gain objectivity over your thoughts, feelings and entire situation. When we are just thinking about something for a long time, we tend to get more stressed out because our feelings become more magnified. Getting all of that down on paper can release all of that tension and give you a new, fresh perspective on your problem. The beauty of this exercise is that it is very simple and straightforward. It’s kind of like the mental equivalent of cleaning out your closet. Instead of decluttering your dresses and staggering shoe collection, you are decluttering your mind from the mass of thoughts that have had you going around in circles.

All that you do is take a piece of paper and write the words, “pros” and “cons” up at the top in separate columns. Then, without pondering it all too much, you begin writing every single thing that you can think of that you consider to be a positive or a negative aspect of your potential decision. After you are done and have written as much as you can think of to write, then just go away and take a break for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths, let yourself just space out for a bit and allow the process to work itself out.

After, you’ve had a break, go back to your list and take a good look at what you’ve written. You should have a much clearer idea of what the potential results would be if you chose one decision over the other. Just remember that only you can make this decision for yourself. This is your life and you have the right to make your own choices. You are the one, after all , who has to live with every decision that you make.

And, then what?

A powerful mental exercise that you can do is the, “And, then what” exercise. The benefit of this experience is that you will be able to disconnect yourself from the emotional turmoil that you have been feeling about whether or not to start over with regard to your goal.

Often times, it is not the decision about starting over that is causing us so much trouble. It is all of the worry, fear and anxiety that we have just free floating around in our minds that is causing us to be so tense. All of that comes from the thoughts that we have been indulging in and it can be so helpful to just withdraw from all of that and get to the nitty gritty of the problem.

What you do is go to a quiet place where you can be totally alone and sit down and relax. Then you want to clear your mind as much as you can and put yourself in a peaceful, receptive state. When you are feeling peaceful and calm, you want to turn your attention to the decision that you are contemplating, such as quitting the pageant and starting over next year.

You simply ask yourself the question, “What if I quit the pageant?  What is the worst thing that could happen?” And listen to what comes up. It might go something like this:

“What if I quit the pageant?  What is the worst thing that could happen?”

“I will feel really bad. I will feel like a failure, like I let myself and my family and friends down. Everyone will look at me like I’m a loser. And, besides, my Mom spent a fortune on my evening gown.”

“And, then what?”

“Well, my friends and family love me and they would want me to do what I need to do and take care of myself. Anybody who loves me won’t think that I’m a loser. Pageants are a lot of work! My Mom wants to support me and would not care about the money. And, I can wear the gown next year. But, I will still beat myself up for a long time, probably. I will have to explain to everyone why I quit and that will be humiliating.”

“And, then what?”

“I guess, I need to love and support myself as much as my friends and family do. I need to forgive myself for just being human and the fact that I am not perfect. It will be embarrassing to have to tell people that I quit, but the reality is that I just cannot do the pageant now. Anyone who cares about me will understand and lots of people have been in this situation too. I have to do what’s right for me and my life.”

This is a very simplistic example of the thought process that you might experience if you do this exercise, but you get the general idea. You just keep asking yourself the question until you get to a place of peace. If you are not at peace, then you need to keep going and get to the bottom of what is causing you discomfort with this decision.

Listen to your gut

Another really powerful thing to do is just to listen to your gut or your intuition. We all have the ability to hear our inner truth if we listen closely enough. It’s just that when we are in the midst of a painful situation and we are faced with making a difficult decision that we just do not want to make, it can be hard to hear our true feelings. Getting to the heart of the matter and discovering what the real issues are can help you to get a bigger picture view of your situation. When your perspective is not so personal and affected by your conflicting thoughts, you will then be able to hear a clear answer.

Do the same exact thing that you did in the previous exercise and get in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and relax and get comfortable. Take a few deep breaths and let all your thoughts just go. Ask yourself this question and listen closely for the answer;

“If you decided to quit, knowing that everything would turn out just fine, and you could come back again at a another time and start over when it was best for you, what would you do now?”

This kind of, “get to the heart of the matter” questioning can cause all of the nonsense to fade away and can get you to the answer that you need rather quickly. You see, the biggest issue that we often have with the idea of quitting something and starting over is that we are afraid. It is our fear that causes all of those crazy, overwhelming and immobilizing thoughts and feelings to keep us stuck in a place of non-decision. We are afraid that we will lose something. We are afraid of what people will think of us. We are afraid of how we will feel about ourselves and that those feelings are going to affect us negatively.

If we can change our attitude about making the decision, and get past the fear, we will take our power back. And, when we find our power again, and choose to be open minded and positive, we will be able to make the right decision for us, one that we can live with.

Miss International 2018 Top 5. Photo: Miss International

Keep pursuing

Sometimes we need to quit and sometimes we need to quit making excuses. Ouch, right? Hey, it’s the truth. And, we tell you the truth because we care about you and we don’t want to see you throw your dream away or give up on yourself because you made one of the biggest mistakes there is. Now, it’s time for some tough love, pretty pageant girl. 

The toughest thing in life is to keep on going when the going gets tough. If you are a pageant competitor and you’re trying to reach a goal in your next pageant, whether that goal is to get fit or to win the crown, things are going to get tough. And, then… things are going to get tougher! But, the reality is that, “nothing good comes easy and nothing easy shows how good you are.” (That’s from an old Olympics commercial) Then there is; “If something is worth having, it is worth fighting for.” You’ve probably hear that one too. Okay - those are just two inspirational sayings that I thought I’d throw out there to try to prove a point.

The point is that positive, uplifting sayings like that can only do so much. They are very cool and can get you fired up when you’re a bit frustrated or having a discouraging day. But, when you are working towards a goal and totally stall out or you hit the wall hard, and you feel like throwing in the towel. What do you do? When you have been pushing yourself day after grueling day and giving it all you’ve got until you’ve got nothing left to give, and then suddenly you hit a major obstacle, an inspirational saying just isn’t gonna cut it. We know that. And, we’re not going to tell you to just buck up and keep pursuing. We’re going to have you take a look at what might be getting in your way as you are working towards your goals.

Anyone who has ever achieved anything of significance in their life has endured hardships that they never imagined that they would face. Anyone who has ever achieved anything great has come up against something that they thought would be the end of them. And, the truth that is so shocking is that that thing often comes from within us, not from outside of us.

All of us have self-limiting beliefs that we have to deal with from time to time. These might be negative ideas that we acquired in childhood, or as a result of a traumatic event. Sometimes those self limiting beliefs are things that we’re not even consciously aware of. Those unconscious beliefs can cause us to give up too easily when we’re fighting for something. They can convince us that we cannot have or don’t deserve the goals and the dreams that we are working towards. When you come up against those kinds of destructive, self limiting beliefs, you need help from people who have been there and have dealt with similar issues. You need to know that it is possible to get past these kinds of setbacks, and that you can reach your goals, regardless of how hopeless or clueless you feel.

The pageant does not have to be the end of the road. Check out how to find success after not winning the crown.

Fears

Every single person on the face of the Earth deals with fear. It is the reality of being human and not being a perfect being. The hardest thing about dealing with fear is that we often run from it and we just don’t even want to take a look at whatever is causing the fear. The nature of fear is of course to frighten us. We get uncomfortable and we don’t want to know the truth. Most of the time, the reason we don’t want to examine our fear is because we simply think that we cannot handle it.

If you are going to be the kind of person who goes after what you want in life, then you’re going to have to deal with your fear. If you are going to have the things you long for and achieve the dreams and goals that you desire, you are going to have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. A lot of times when we are setting goals for ourselves, we start out strong because we are motivated. After awhile, we may start to feel less motivated and for reasons we don’t understand, we begin to make excuses, we stop doing the things we did in the beginning and our progress slows.

If this is happening to you and you don’t know why, it just may be that you are suffering from some kind of fear and you have not wanted to take a look at it. Or, maybe you don’t even realize that you are afraid. Maybe you just feel stuck and don’t understand why you are not doing the things that you know you are supposed to. 

There are many, many different types of fear that can paralyze us and cause us to give up too soon on our goals and dreams. If you are open-minded about this idea, you may be able to identify your fear right away. Fear of failure, fear of success and fear of loss are just three of the most common fears that can get in our way when we are working towards a goal. If you feel like you may be suffering from any of those fears, then you really need to work on those areas, or else they can seriously interfere with your long term success.

Hire a professional pageant coach, confide in a close friend who you can be transparent with or even have a talk with your pastor, priest or a trained counselor. It is so worth dealing with fears at this level because they can wreak havoc, not only on your pageant experience, but also on your life in general. Take care of yourself and know that you are not alone. Everybody has to deal with intense fears that hold them back in some way. So many people are so afraid of their fears that they try to ignore them, push them away or deny that they even exist. The end result is that they end up running from something that they cannot outrun. Eventually, that fear will manifest in some way, and in most cases, it’s going to be more painful than it would have been if you’d just been willing to be honest with yourself.

Change your priorities

Maybe your problem is the fact that your priorities are all messed up. Are you compromising on things because you aren’t putting the most important things first with regard to your goals? Are you staying out late with friends instead of getting to bed early and getting the rest that you need?  Are you working out at the gym but then blowing your diet because you are eating junk food in private?

If you are ever going to reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself, you are going to have to make some tough decisions about what is most important to you. That may come down to making some hard choices and giving up some of the things you like so that you can reach the goal that you love. Sometimes we have difficulty with our priorities because we feel a number of conflicting feelings and instead of just making a decision and following through on it; we get all caught up in our feelings, and those feelings cause us to stay stuck.

Laziness or passivity

If you are lazy, you probably know it. Every person has had to deal with feeling lazy at times and it can be a really frustrating issue to fight. But, if you look closely at your feelings of laziness, you may discover that your problem isn’t really laziness, it’s more likely boredom. Maybe your goal is not inspiring enough and you need to challenge yourself. Maybe your priorities are off and that feeling of laziness is just you not being stimulated enough to work towards what you think you want.

If your goal is a good goal, it should energize you and make you want to get things done. A good goal is one that motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning. But, if you aren’t feeling that sense of urgency and excitement as you are working towards a goal, then something is wrong. It may be time to take a look at what you’re doing and see if you need to reevaluate your priorities.

Ambivalence

Ambivalence can look a lot like laziness, but you probably feel some sadness in addition to boredom. Ambivalence is tricky because we usually feel this way because we are trying to distract ourselves from a harsher reality that we don’t want to look at. You are going to have to be rigorously honest with yourself if you are feeling ambivalence. Ambivalence is most often a cover for something else. 

Is it possible that you are feeling ambivalence because you don’t really know if you want this goal or not? Is it possible that you are feeling ambivalence because you are doing this for someone else, and not yourself?  And because you aren’t trying to reach your goal for yourself, you just don’t care about it? Who are you trying to achieve this goal for honestly? Are you doing this for your parents?  Are you doing this for your friends? Are you doing this out of revenge for the people that you want to prove wrong? Is it possible that this is an old goal that you just don’t care about anymore but you’ve never stopped to question whether or not you still want to do it because you’ve been on automatic pilot for so long?

If you know that you are compromising on things because your priorities aren’t right, then you need to stop and think about this. Don’t just stay in denial and keep going. Take the time to figure out what is driving you to sabotage yourself. If you’re being honest, you will see that that is what your behavior is all about. For some reason, your priorities are messed up because you are not happy about something. Be loving and kind to yourself so that you can find the cause and be back on the road to your goal.  

Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin. Photo: Miss America Organization

Re-evaluate your approach

Some of us can’t relate to any of the above situations at all because we’re in a totally different place with our goals. We feel like we’re doing everything we know to do. We’re open to getting advice and direction but nothing that we’ve tried seems to be working. Our attitude is positive and we’re very inspired to do our best, but for whatever reason, it’s just not happening. Maybe you don’t need to stop and start over and maybe you don’t need to just do it, and push through. Maybe your goal is just fine, and your motivation is where it needs to be, but your approach is all wrong.

This usually happens when we get all fired up about something and we take a giant leap into the unknown. If you started down a path rather impulsively, without really examining what you were getting in to, you could simply need to fine tune things a bit. Or, if you don’t have a lot of experience with goal setting you may also fall into this category. 

If any of this describes you and your current situation, you may just need to reevaluate your approach to your goal. And, if that is the case, the best thing to do is just stop and regroup. It’s time to take a timeout, go back to the drawing board and learn some new skills. You might just benefit from learning about the various theories of goal setting so that you can get a new perspective. Taking the time to research what other successful people have done to reach their goals can benefit you greatly.

There are so many helpful materials available for a person who needs some direction in the area of goal setting. Many entrepreneurs and business coaches have developed powerfully innovative techniques that they decided to share with the world, and those resources are very easy to locate on the internet. There are also many groundbreaking books about this subject that you can read for yourself, and they would also give you incredible insight into what you may be doing wrong in your particular situation.

Lower the bar

If you have been working relentlessly towards your goal, and you are feeling burnt out, exhausted and overwhelmed, you may need to reassess your priorities. Sometimes you need to lower the bar because your goal is too aggressive for where you are at right now. This is usually the last thing that people want to do because they look at it as a form of failure. But, it actually is extremely wise to lower your expectations or what you’re shooting for if you have realized that you set your sights too high to begin with.

Often times when we set a goal, we are so jazzed up about it and so pumped to get the ball rolling, that we dream big…maybe a little too big. There is nothing wrong at all with aiming high or even overshooting and setting a really aggressive goal. But, if along the way, you discover that you are just not capable of achieving what you want in the time frame that you’ve set, or that you don’t know enough, or whatever the issue is, then you must stop and reassess your entire situation. This is such a major factor in being successful in pageants, that many pageant coaches make a point of discussing this problem frequently with their clients. 

Pageant coach, Valerie Hayes says that refusing to lower the bar on your expectations of yourself can lead to pageant burn out.

“Pushing yourself to be absolutely perfect in every way is an unrealistic expectation that can lead to frustration, and suddenly you’re just not motivated to work on your pageant skills,” explains Hayes. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your own expectations, it might be time to adjust the bar. Instead of focusing on a goal that is difficult to achieve, identify a goal that you think will be relatively easy to achieve. And then as soon as you hit that mark, set another goal that’s slightly beyond the goal you just achieved.”

The technique of setting a series of smaller goals that leads to a bigger goal is called incremental goal setting. This habit can be applied to so many areas of your life and might just totally change your approach to how you get things done. When you break down your overall goal into smaller action steps, you’ll have goals that are so much easier to achieve. When you tackle those smaller goals, you begin to build a track record of success and then your motivation and self-confidence will return.

Once you start to have a little momentum, it begins to build and build and before you know it, you are cruising along without all that stress and self doubt that was weighing you down before. The technique of incremental goal setting is especially helpful if your goal is a long term goal like losing a large amount of weight, or if your goal involves something brand new that you really have no real life experience with. 

For instance, if you entered your first pageant and you didn’t even make the Top 10, it might be totally unrealistic to set a goal of winning the pageant the following year. When you are new to pageants, you do not realize the effort that goes into winning. You have no idea that the person who won had been working towards that goal for a long time. She doubtlessly had to achieve a series of significantly smaller goals over a period of time before she was able to be at the place where she could win. 

A lot of times, right after we do a pageant, we feel one of two things. Either, we are totally down and discouraged, and we’re convinced that we never want to see another rhinestone ever again, much less compete in another pageant or we feel incredibly motivated to jump right back into pageant preparations, vow to give up carbs forever and proclaim that we’re going to come back next year and win the crown! We’ve all been there!  Both of those feelings are normal but, irrational, extreme reactions to the highly charged, emotionally exhausting and stressful experience that we just had. You can’t allow yourself to get carried away by those kind of emotions and then set some incredibly unrealistic goal for yourself that is just going to end up becoming a self defeating situation.

Knowing when to lower the bar is seriously one of the wisest things that you can do for yourself in the area of goal setting. It can be kind of threatening because, as mentioned earlier, it can feel like a form of failure, or that you have let yourself down. But, it really is a wise, mature way to not only take care of yourself, but to manage your life in a way that works. Knowing when to break down your overall goal into smaller action steps, will ultimately result in having a goal that is so much easier to achieve. And, that will result in tremendous success for you in the end!

Just because you didn’t win, it does not mean that you lost.

“Every pageant competition has a crown winner but that doesn’t mean everyone else is a 'loser,'” insists Hughes. “Winning and losing are a function of whether the goals you set were met because you based them on a realistic assessment of where you are in your training progression. For all competitors the ultimate goal is to be better this pageant than the last. For all competitors regardless of level, while it may sting to lose, you can’t really be devastated or heartbroken because you’ve met your realistic goal of making tangible visible progress toward your ultimate dream. You were better this year than you were last year and with a few adjustments in your prep and training you’ll be even better next year. That puts you one giant step closer to hitting the mark and who knows you just might hit that bullseye next time out!”

Check out six reasons why you are not "winning:"

 

A real life example of how setting goals can help you become successful

Contribution by Julia Stone

Why your why is so important

Focusing on the emotional reasons, not only the intellectual reasons that you want to pursue a goal or a dream, is a crucial part of the goal obtaining process. In the world of pageantry, it is called, your “why.” Your “why” is the deepest motivation behind what you want. It is the thing that drives you and inspires you to even begin pursuing your dream in the first place. When you spend some time really getting to the bottom of why you want to go after your dream, you will find something very personal that may only make sense to you.

When you are trying to determine what your “why” is, you want to try to get as honest with yourself as possible. You may already know your reason for why you desire this goal.  Or, your reason may not be entirely clear to you. Take some time to really dig deep and get down to the main reasons that you have this dream and what it truly means to you on an emotional level. Whatever this dream means to your heart is an incredibly important thing that you have got to know. You may have to ask yourself a number of questions to get to your deepest motivation, so be patient with yourself. In some cases, you may not always like the reasons that you discover but don’t let that stop you from finding the truth.

Sometimes we want things because we feel that they will make us more loveable or bring us happiness or fill a void. Sometimes we have experienced something negative in our past and as a result, we start dreaming a dream that we believe will make up for that. For instance, you may realize that you want to win a title to feel more worthy or to show those that may have criticized you, that you really are a winner, and that crown is the proof.

When we try to uncover the reasons that we are going after a dream, we may learn things about our motivation that bother us, but we need to be kind and gentle with ourselves. If we have experienced a situation where people did not believe in us, it is very normal and understandable that we would want to prove them wrong. If you are embarrassed or bothered by your initial motivation for your dream, try to get to the point of accepting it and accepting yourself. Lots of people begin pursuing a dream for reasons that are shallow or because they are trying to repair a pain from the past.

But, the good news is that you do not have to stay there. You may have wanted a dream in the beginning just to prove to others that you could have it. But, the reality is that you do really desire that dream for yourself. The problem is that your motivation got mixed up with other people. Now that you know the truth, you can move beyond your confused motivation and go get your dream because you deserve it for you, and you alone. 

“Your why” is the most important piece to you being able to reach your goal because it will be the one thing that you will always go back to when things get difficult along your journey. If you have a goal of losing weight, starting a business or winning a crown, your “why” will be the thing that will save you when you are wanting to give up. One of the most powerful things that you can do is to write down all of those reasons that you believe that you want this goal. Then go through that list and select the top three to five reasons that really get you pumped up about it. Find those things that mean the most and put them at the top of your list.

Then you want to keep that written list in front of you as much as you can. When you hit a difficult or challenging time as you are going after that goal, pull out that list and meditate on those top three to five reasons that you want it. Using this tool can keep you on track when things get tough and you want to give up. This is such an incredible practice to use in the process of going after a goal, and you will discover that it may be the thing that keeps you inspired day after day until you reach the finish line.

Steven Roddy, the creator and founder of Pageant Planet knows a thing or two about goal setting and the journey of ultimately reaching one’s dreams. The wisdom that he possesses now was not something that he learned overnight, nor is it something that he takes for granted. He has a natural love of learning and a drive for self actualization, and that curiosity and desire for knowledge became a foundational reason for his success in business and in life.

Steven Roddy, Pageant Planet Founder and CEO

It’s hard to imagine now that the online pageant resource company that thousands of readers adore and visit on a daily basis, was once just a radical idea in the mind of a guy with a dream to help others. Early on there were definitely those who did not understand or support his dream of creating Pageant Planet, but because he values personal growth and development, it turns out that the world of pageantry was really a perfect fit for him. Obviously, we could not talk about goals and goal setting with him without discussing what led up to him having the desire to start an online business like Pageant Planet. What we discover is one of the first rules of a successful goal, to be clear about your vision.

Roddy describes how he made an unexpected discovery and because he is a natural problem solver and has a desire to help others, an idea was born.

“I’ve always had a desire to be a successful business person,” Roddy reveals. “After my first business failed, I learned that I wanted more than financial success. I also wanted freedom. I wanted to work, travel and vacation on my terms. I saw the trend of the Internet and social media and knew that this was going to be the next big wave of marketing. As I was looking for problems to solve I went to my very first pageant and was amazed at how enthusiastic the fans were. After the pageant I asked my girlfriend at the time how contestants went about finding pageant coaches. I was also curious about how girls even learned how to compete in pageants. Her only reply was that they ask other people.”

“After doing some research I realized that there was nothing online that was solving this problem," he went on. "Therefore, I decided to create it. I saw an opportunity to create an online portal that would solve the problem of girls finding coaches and pageants to compete in. My hope was to get enough visitors coming to the site that I could sell advertising and live off of that income.”

You must believe in yourself and your dream

Unfortunately, Roddy soon learned that not everyone was as enthusiastic about his idea and his desire to help. This is a common thing that happens to many of us when we first excitedly reveal our goal or our dream to those around us. Many times when we begin discussing our goals and ambitions with people, we can get a lot of resistance for different reasons. At this point, a lot of people will get discouraged and simply give up on their goals because they aren’t receiving the support from their friends and family that they yearn for.

The thing that you have to learn if you are going to be successful in reaching your dream, is that you must ultimately believe in yourself and what you want. Your dream will never be as important to anyone else, as it is to you. In order for your dream to become a reality, you will have to be the one to breathe life into it and be committed to go after it. Roddy experienced resistance from his friends and family right away, but he didn’t allow that negative feedback to discourage him. He reveals another key element of his success. He focused on the people who encouraged him, and he made the decision to be positive about his goal.  

“My girlfriend said it wouldn’t work. In her words she said, 'the industry doesn’t work like that. You have to go to a coach to get coached. People won’t go online.' My mom even made fun of me! At the time Pageant Planet was making about $6 per month in revenue - that’s not an exaggeration either. But, there were people who supported me and believed in me. My dad, cousin, mentor, best friend and ME! Those were the people that I focused on. Those were the people who got me through the tough years.”

Focus on the small victories

It is so important when you do experience criticism or lack of support, that you stay centered and confident enough in your own dream and abilities and not let those negative forces bother you. It is a guarantee that if you are going after a goal, especially a big goal, that you will encounter negativity and setbacks. Sometimes you will be criticized by other people who either don’t understand your goal or perhaps just want to protect you, like your family.

Other times you will simply be tempted to get discouraged because you aren’t reaching your goals fast enough or you’re not seeing progress the way that you want to. It’s all very normal when you are taking a risk or are dreaming a big dream. When this happens, try to focus on the small victories because those small victories add up over time.

“I focused on small wins,” says Roddy. “I didn’t make any money for the first four years so I had to focus on other things. I focused on our traffic increasing, social media numbers increasing, invites to pageants and mentions by titleholders.”

Life is a learn as you go sport

Your goal may be something that is familiar to you that you have some experience with or it may be something totally foreign. You may have to learn a lot of new skills and develop new abilities along the way. But there is so much information available to you that you should never be discouraged just because you don’t know something or don’t have the answers right away. Find a mentor or someone who can teach you what you need to know. If you cannot find someone to help you, then be committed to learning on your own. Roddy recalls how he reminded himself of his past victories and remained patient while he waited for his dream to come true.

“When I was 23 I bought an arena football team," he said. "In 4 months I went from waiting tables at the Cheesecake Factory to being the youngest person to ever own an Arena Football team. My parents were entrepreneurs and I had the “itch” but never had my own company. Instead, I read a lot of books. I was too broke for things like a TV or a personal life so I stayed home and read personal development books and saved up my money for personal development conferences. Life is a learn as you go sport. That’s what I did when I started and that’s what I’m still doing today.”

Never downsize your vision

Sometimes you may find that you have to change or adjust the steps of what you want to do, but Roddy says that you mustn’t lose sight of your original vision. You may find yourself taking a detour along the way, but you can still end up at the right destination if you keep your eye on the prize.

“My vision of being the largest pageant resource on the planet hasn’t changed but the steps (i.e. minor goals) to get there are always evolving. Never downsize your vision. Regardless of what happens. You can expand your vision but NEVER downsize it. Your vision is where you ultimately want your company or life to become. Goals are how you get your vision to become a reality.”

Be stubbornly patient

Anything worth having is worth working for. Many times we honestly did not know just how hard we would have to work to achieve our goal. This can come as such a shock, and for some it can mean defeat. For the people who refuse to give up, the hard work and the belief in the impossible pays off in a big way. You must accept the reality that you are going to encounter numerous setbacks or resistance along the way, but you can absolutely move past the roadblocks if you do not quit. Sometimes the only thing that stands between you and your dream is plain stubbornness!

“When I started Pageant Planet I was bankrupt and waiting tables," Roddy said. "I started Pageant Planet with $20.00. I had 2 contacts in the pageant industry and zero organic knowledge about makeup, pageants, Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing or Website Design / Programming. I created my first website by watching YouTube videos of how to do it. I bought ThePageantPlanet.com for $7 and paid HostGator $10 for hosting. I worked on Pageant Planet weekly at a Starbucks by dragging my whole desktop computer in there for a day to watch videos and figure out how to create a website. Sure people laughed at me for not bringing in a laptop but I couldn’t afford a laptop or wifi so I went to Starbucks.”

“It took me a month to figure out how to build the first version of Pageant Planet," he continued. "Then I had to figure out what to write about. I committed to writing 3 blogs per day, every day, regardless of what happened. I can remember being in between apartments, sleeping on my friend’s floor and waking up with ants all in my sleeping bag. I still wrote 3 blogs that day. I hated my life, but I still wrote 3 blogs that day. I didn’t know anything about beauty pageants but I still found a way to write 3 blogs a day. I didn’t have any contacts but I still wrote 3 blogs per day. My mom described me as being “stubbornly patient.” I believe that is what you have to have if you want to achieve any massive goal.”

Success is usually just a short step away when you feel like quitting If you ask any successful person if there was ever a time that they wanted to give up on their dream, they will tell you that they absolutely did. And, it will happen to you too. That is one thing that you can count on. So, what will you do when it happens?  What will you tell yourself to keep going? Steven Roddy had a revelation about success when it happened to him.

“I did want to give up around the end of 2012," he admitted. "After 3 years of working 40 hours per week I had made $6,905.95 and spent $9,824.89. So I had paid Pageant Planet about $3,000 so that I could have the privilege of working on it for a total of 6,000 hours! In short, I was burnt out. So, I told my dad that I was going to quit. My dad said, 'I don’t think that you should. I think that you have something special going on there.' His encouragement came at a perfect time. In truth, I didn’t want to quit. I also didn’t want to experience the pain of beating my head against the wall. I still wanted my vision to come true I was just exhausted and didn’t know how it was going to happen. But, success is usually just a short step away when you feel like quitting. It’s like the universal price you have to pay in order to be a success. In 2013, Pageant Planet hit its growth spurt…..one that has continued until the day of this interview.”

The value of goal setting techniques

Reaching your goal does not happen by accident. There are actually extremely valuable techniques that you can utilize to help you along the way. Throughout this guide we discuss numerous techniques and theories that you might find helpful in your process, but it’s important to do what works for you.

“Goal setting should be done based on your personality,” insists Roddy. “There is no ultimate “right way” to set a goal but there are wrong ways to do goal setting.”

The three biggest mistakes people make when setting goals are:

  • Creating goals that are vague. (i.e. I want to be successful)
  • Making goals they do not believe they can achieve
  • Never set a date of when they want to achieve the goal

“At the beginning of each year I make goals around what I can believe for. For example, in 2014 I made a goal that I wanted to meet my wife. Most told me that is impossible. One cannot make a goal to meet their life partner. Challenge accepted.”

Steven and Renata Roddy

“The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” Meaning if you have a goal (i.e. Faith) but do not have a corresponding action (i.e. works) then that goal is NEVER going to happen. So, in 2014, I made a list of what I was looking for in a wife. Then I looked at the list and said, 'What on this list am I not.' After reviewing the list again I found that there were 10 things that I wanted in a wife that I was not. So I made a commitment that I was going to work on a different attribute every month so that by the end of October I would be my list.”

“This would give me 2 months to find my wife. As you can see I created a specific goal (i.e. to meet my wife) and I went into action (i.e. I took action to become my list). On October 26, 2014 I started dating Renata Roddy, who became my wife in 2016 and she was everything on my list. You attract who you are.”

What you think is most important

When it comes to goal setting, some people will tell you that your goal is unrealistic. If you believe that your goal is realistic but your friends and family are telling you that it’s not, how do you stick to your convictions? Roddy has some very wise advice on this subject.

“There is no such thing as an unrealistic goal,” he asserts. “Only unrealistic time frames. If you want to win Miss Universe ask yourself do you believe you can win this year? Next year? Five years from now? Keep expanding the time frame until you can believe it. Then take daily / weekly action that will affirm your belief. Also, don’t tell others right away. I only tell specific people my goals. I don’t need their belief. I only need my own. Most people look for validation in others, which is why they share their goals. If this is you then realize that if you rely on people to validate you then you also give them the power to invalidate you. What you think about yourself is most important.”

 

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I was adopted from China when I was just one year old.

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