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In this Post: Learn all about the powerful tool of goal setting for massage therapists. With actionable items you will be reaching your dreams in no time!
Goal setting can be a powerful tool as a massage therapist. We need direction, without it we flounder. With so many massage therapists being airy, dare I say flighty, goal setting is an important act to ground us. In its absence we may circle round for years not knowing where to take our practice. I have seen it one too many times with the therapists who walk through my door, and it breaks my heart to see the struggle. But guys, the struggle is real and I’m here to tell you there is a solution!
Take out the pen and paper and take action for a more grounded, rewarding life with goals to propel you towards your dreams. The time is now, act so your future can thank you!
A 1979 Harvard study interviewed new MBA graduates about goals. It found that:
- 84% of the graduates had no specific goals.
- 13% had goals but had not taken the time to write down said goals.
- 3% had taken the time to sit down and write out their goals and a plan to accomplish them.
When re-interviewed in 1989 the results were no surprise:
The 13% who had goals, were earning on average twice as much as the 84% who had no specific goals. The 3% with clear, written goals were earning on average ten times as much as the rest of their classmates.
Do you think that maybe being a part of the 3% that take time to write out goals might set you apart from your competitors in business? Not to mention the effects it could have in your personal life…
The Benefits of Goal-Setting for Massage Therapists
- Provide a target for your endeavors.
- Help focus your use of time and resources.
- Encourage persistence.
- Dictate priorities in your day-to-day activities.
- Offer a roadmap for planning your efforts.
Your first step is to make a plan. Don’t wait for “someday” to roll around. The sooner you begin this process the sooner you will begin to see rewards.
Here are some guidelines for goal setting.
Goals should be SMART.
Specific, realistic goals work best. When it comes to making a change, the people who succeed the most in life are those who set realistic, specific goals.
“I’m going to gain one new client a week for the next twelve weeks.”, is a much more doable goal than,”I am going to increase the new clients I see.”. Having clearly established goals in your mind makes it easier to stick with a plan.
Roadblocks don’t mean failure. Although it is good to be specific, do not deal in absolutes. Slip-ups are actually part of the learning process as you retrain your brain into a new way of thinking. It may take a few tries to reach a goal. But that’s OK — it’s normal to mess up or give up a few times when trying to make a change. So remember, everyone slips up. When it happens to you, don’t beat yourself up too hard about it. Just remind yourself to get back on track.
Use positive words. Try to view your goal setting process in a positive light, so that you are excited to achieve your goals. For example; “I would like to get 50% of my clients to rebook before they leave my office.”, versus, “I don’t want any of my clients to leave without scheduling their next appointment.” Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot do, and it won’t seem like such a burden to attain your goals.
Use measurable wording. Avoid using words like ‘some’ and ‘more,’ as in “I will take SOME continuing education.” or “I will get MORE massage clients.” This leaves too much ambiguity.
Deal in measurable things that you have control over. “I will take 12 hours of continuing education over the next six months.” Avoid words like ‘never’ or ‘always.’ All or nothing is a prevailing attitude that causes people to give up. This is a learning process, don’t make it too hard from the start!
Track your progress. Memory can be selective. It conveniently forgets that extra brownie while remembering activity that may have never actually happened. The only way to know for sure is to track goals regularly with a checklist or journal. Keep your tracking method in a convenient spot where you are likely to see it often.
For years I had goals on how many new clients I wanted to see each year. I kept a piece of paper taped near my clean sheets. Every time I saw a new client, I would mark them down on this sheet. This constant visual reminder kept me continually focused on my goal.
Give yourself deadlines. Deadlines turn wishes into goals. The act of writing down your goal with a deadline can be powerful enough to keep you committed and focused. Sometimes finding visual representations of your goals can make them seem more palpable.
Start small. Try not to focus on too many things at once. Set challenging goals that are not too far out of reach, but far enough to push yourself.
Focus on one goal at a time. Try setting a small goal that you know you can accomplish each day for the next two weeks. Like getting up without the snooze or drinking eight cups of water a day. Achieving that first habit can boost your confidence thus accelerating your goal setting abilities.
Leave room for imperfections. Persistence is key. Accept the fact that you might not make it on the first try. In a recent study, only 40% of people who successfully followed New Year’s resolutions did it on their first try; 17% of resolution achievers took six or more attempts before they got it right – but they did get it right.
Reward success. Don’t beat yourself up over failure to achieve a goal. This is a common hiccup for people. Negative thoughts are usually more prevalent than positive, think about the impact of switching that around. By flipping from negative to positive thoughts, you are much more likely to succeed with your goals. Focus on what you are doing right. If you end up falling or take a step backward, learn from the experience and take two giant steps forward the next time.
Set up a system for accountability. Find a support system; don’t try to make all your changes by yourself. Tell people what your goals are. By just telling one person your goal, you double your motivation, double your energy, double your commitment – and double your fun!
Pleasing other people doesn’t work. The key to making any change is to find the desire within yourself — you have to do it because you want it, not because a spouse, significant other, boss, parent, or someone else wants you to. It will be harder to stay on track and motivated if you’re doing something out of obligation to another person.
Repeating a goal makes it stick. Say your goal out loud each morning to remind yourself of what you want and what you’re working to achieve. (Writing it down and taping it somewhere you will see every day works too.) Every time you verbalize your goal, you’re training your brain to make it happen.
Break ’em down. Sometimes we set goals that seem so unachievable; it is hard to know where to even begin. By breaking down these goals into smaller more manageable pieces, we are much more likely to reach the lofty initial goal in a much shorter time frame. I always like to tell myself to focus on what I can do and not what I cannot. This baby steps mentality has served me well!
It takes time for a change to become an established habit. It will probably take a couple of months before any changes — like getting up half an hour early to exercise — become a routine part of your life. That’s because your brain needs time to get used to the idea that this new thing you’re doing is part of your regular routine. But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t give yourself a timeline. By setting a deadline your chances of achieving goals are significantly increased.
Prioritize your list. Once you have come up with a list of goals, prioritize which of these goals are most important. Then try to focus on 1-3 of them.
Commit to your goals. Maybe you are trying to build your massage practice, or have more boundaries around the type or time for appointments you accept. Whatever your motivation is commit to write a contract with yourself. In this contract state that you promise to achieve your goals. And don’t forget, you can do it!
I hope that you are all reaching towards bigger and better goals. The fire you ignite by constantly stretching yourself is an empowering thing. It may feel frustrating at times, but you will be better for the experience! Please let me know in the comments below what goals you are currently working towards. I’d love to hear!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008
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