Ask Joe: How to Plan Goals | PoP 658

Image of Joe Sanok is captured. On this therapist podcast, podcaster, consultant and author, talks about how to plan goals.

Who do you want to become? How can you plan goals for your future self? What can you do to create momentum towards positive change in your life?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to plan goals, build momentum, and change your life.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

An image of Therapy Notes is captured as the sponsor on the Practice of the Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Therapy Notes is the most trusted EHR for Behavioral Health.

Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try TherapyNotes! It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and telehealth a whole lot easier.

Check it out and you will quickly see why TherapyNotes is the highest-rated EHR on TrustPilot with over 1000 verified customer reviews and an average customer rating of 4.9/5 stars.

You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support 7 days a week, so when you have questions, you can quickly reach someone who can help, and you are never wasting your time looking for answers.

If you are coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. TherapyNotes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away.

Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022 the best year yet with TherapyNotes.

In This Podcast

  • Who do you want to be in the world?
  • Start small
  • What is the natural next step?
  • Joe’s summary

Who do you want to be in the world?

Who do I want to be? What do I want to have be part of that experience? How do I want to enter into the world? What is the change I want to affect? (Joe Sanok)

When you are starting to plan goals for yourself for the future, consider the version of yourself that you want to become.

How can you structure your life from your goals to bring you closer in alignment with the person that you want to be?

Start small

I tend to be a small-steps-in-the-right-direction person rather than a take-gigantic-steps-that-I-can’t-sustain [person]. (Joe Sanok)

Find small steps that you can take and small changes that you can incorporate into your routine over time to change it, instead of forcing a huge change that is unsustainable.

Start small consistently to get some of the best results. Let yourself explore new aspects and ways of sprucing up your current routine if completely changing it seems out of reach or unsustainable.

What is the natural next step?

In the course of completing your goals, ask yourself: what is the natural next step when it comes to pursuing your dreams?

Consider how you can make some minor changes to encourage momentum in the areas you want to expand.

In your business, that could be hiring a clinician into your practice, or joining a Mastermind group, or investing in SEO consulting.

What is that one thing that if you achieve makes everything else easier? (Joe Sanok)

Joe’s summary

  • What are small steps in the right direction that you can take?
  • Consider game-ifying your small change to encourage momentum.
  • Take risks and explore the boundaries of your nervousness around change to broaden your comfort zone.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 658.

Well, I am Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am so glad that you are here. Every Wednesday. We do these Ask Joe’s where people ask me questions and I answer them. This is an awesome question that actually came from a friend of mine who said, “Joe, how do you think through your goals and your resolutions and what you want to do each year? Seems like you get a lot of stuff done.”

This is a friend who’s kind of seeing from the outside. Doesn’t actually see all the nuance of what we do with Practice of the Practice or those sorts of things. So you, as the listener probably have more insight than even my friend does in regards to the types of work that I do. I want to start with, sometimes our goals come from a place of what you need at that moment. We can say, oh, I want to lose weight or I want to be more fit or I want to meditate more. But sometimes until you need those tools it doesn’t really click.

And 2021 was one of those years for me that I needed a lot of those tools. In February of 2021, we were living on the road as a family, in a camper in Escondido, California. My now ex-wife gave the story away, told me that she didn’t really want to be with me anymore. I lived in that camper for several months, working through it, doing the podcast, doing all sorts of things, to keep the family going. Every morning I would wake up at probably 5:00 AM and have this like millisecond when I realized or had forgot that my life was completely changing.

I would wake up, I would go meditate, I would read, I would plank. I would do the Dowing thing. I would go for long walks, just to stay grounded, just to get through the day and to not feel like I was losing my mind. Then every night I would just walk until probably 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM until I was just so tired. Then I would go back to bed. Because I was living in this camper with this person that was uncoupling with me. Then I brought the girls home alone and left her in California and she still lives there. So I’m raising these kids and that grounding, that was needed at the time.

Sometimes we have goals where we get so wrapped up in the achievement side and that’s so important that wee need that. We need to do big things in the world. We need to just disrupt and say, no, we’re not going to take it anymore. We’re going to push back. But there’s other times that our goals when we enter a new year are just, we feel like we’re supposed to lose weight. We’re supposed to meditate. We’re supposed to read more. And it comes from a place of just not accepting who you are as a person.

Maybe you do need to rest. The few days before my girls went back to school one of those days they were staying at my parents’ house and a couple of those days we just laid low. I slept until 11, like three days in a row. I would wake up at like nine and be like, oh my achiever side, I could clean, I could put Christmas decorations away. I could shovel snow. I could, I could, I could, but I didn’t. I’m so glad that I really genuinely slowed down and listened to my body and ate good food and allowed my body to really rest and recuperate because I can show up differently now on my first business day of the year as I’m recording this and just dive in.

I mean I have five podcast interviews scheduled today that are going to be 40 minutes long, 30 to 40 minutes long. I’ve got my cup of coffee right here. I’ve got my journal. I already did some dual lingo. So I can enter into the work day differently because I listen to my body. So I wanted to start there because so often our goals are just achieve, achieve, achieve.

Now I tend to in my head kind of categorize different things. I start with some kind of central questions when I’m thinking about goals or things I want to work on. It’s never a January 1st thing for me. This is an ongoing thing of first, who do I want to be? Who do I want to be in the world? Who do I want to be as a friend, as a father? In these different roles that I get to have, who do I want to be? What do I want to have be part of that experience? How do I want to enter into the world? What’s the change that I want to affect? When I was driving the camper back with my two daughters, as my life was uncoupling and things were happening in a way that I did not choose, I started thinking as we, especially in Kansas, all of you from Kansas, sorry, but the highways there, there’s not a lot to see. So there’s a lot of time for your mind to wander.

I started thinking about, well, what am I doing to better the world? My friend Paul started this food pantry for college students at our community college. So there’s tons of non-traditional students, families and they just have less food than the average person. So we started this food pantry. So every Monday, since I’ve been back, I’ve been volunteering there. They just help pack up food. It’s great because Paul and I get to hang out for an hour or so, get to kind of think about these families that are going to get this food, they’re going to have bellies that are full as they enter into their education as they try to better themselves.

So to think about who do I want to be as I show up in the world. Also what experiences do I want to have? Since I’ve been home in April of 2021, I’ve really tried to say yes to almost any new experiences or experiences maybe I would’ve said, I don’t know about that. Like my neighbor in the summer said, “Hey, you want to go see Guns and Roses?” I just went , Yep.” I bought the tickets that night. I bought two of them. I didn’t know who my plus one was going to be. He already kind of had his plus one. Ended up taking my dad to see Guns and Roses, fifth row. I mean we could see the sweat on Slash’s face. Axle was bouncing all over the stage. It was amazing. I never would’ve chosen to go see Guns and Roses. I have an awesome, it’s this yellow hat that says Welcome to the Jungle and it has that sort of like felt bubble lettering. It looks like it was made by a mom for her like 12 year old son. I love it that it was it’s official Guns and Roses merchandise.

The same friend said, “Hey, in October of 2022, you want to go see Iron Maiden?” I’ve never listened to Iron Maiden. I said, yes. I’m going to go see Rage Against the machine in May, this band I’ve loved since high school and they haven’t toured in forever. So finding these experiences that I can just soak up life is part of, kind of my goals as well. So to be able to do those things, I have to have childcare, I have to have the financial means, I have to have the work flexibility. Those are all things that then you have to work backward from and say, well, if I don’t have that level of work flexibility where I can go see Iron Maiden on a Sunday night and Monday I have to go to work that helps you then work backward with your goals and say, why does my practice, or why does my business make it that I can’t do these things that I really want to do?
[THERAPY NOTES] Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers.

If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes, totally free, no strings attached, including their very reliable tele-health platform. Make 2021 best year yet with Therapy Notes. Again, that’s promo code [JOE] at checkout to get three months totally free.
[JOE SANOK] So if we start there, start super macro and then we kind of say, well, what are the different domains? I mean, for me, there’s business. Sorry. I need to take a sip of coffee. That yawn has been just sitting there, creeping in, ready to go for like the full nine minutes this has been recording already. I’m taking a sip of coffee.

So like little things that I’ve done over the years in regards to goals, I tend to be more of a small steps in the right direction person rather than gigantic steps that I can’t sustain. So for example, as I sip this coffee, I remembered this. It was probably two years ago. I realized that when I start the day with a cup of coffee, my body didn’t always feel as great. So I started adding green tea and Matcha at the beginning of my day and then going into my cup of coffee kind of more mid-morning. Then started adding collagen to my coffee and just finding these things that I can take steps towards over a consistent basis.

In the middle of the uncoupling started planking every day and just the other day I got up to five minutes and 17 seconds and it just feels great. It was Dana had told me that she was doing a minute plank every day when I hung out with her out in California. She’s a podcaster and has some great work if you haven’t followed her work. I was like, I can do a plank every day. It just feels like it’s just a small step in the right direction. So in regards to business, I love the way that Jay Papasan and Gary Keller, The ONE Thing, that’s a book that I love, I really enjoy talk about. What’s the one thing that if you did, it would make everything else either easier or like you don’t have to do it?

So think about that year, a couple years ago, I really focused in on having a traditionally published book, being that one thing. So now in 2022, really the focus is continuing to ride that wave. I kept the PR company on for an extra four months. So they’re pushing into a bunch of different areas. Actually, in two days from now I’m going to be flying to Vegas to be interviewed for a TV show for the book. There’s all sorts of really interesting things that are unfolding and I want to continue to ride that wave and see how that unfolds. Also off of the Thursday is the New Friday, people that were in the master that had bought at least 10 books or more.

We’re looking at launching something for folks that want to build that passive income. So kind of saying like what’s the natural next steps in those domains. So I think about that and for you, it might be, hey, it might be adding my first clinician and you’re going to join Group Practice Launch, or you’re just getting started. You want to build your SEO. What’s that one thing that if you achieved that it would make everything else easier?

I also look at what pushes me to feel a little nervous or scared because honestly we often play so small. We really don’t push ourselves into areas of nervousness. So if you’re like I want to make a hundred grand this year, awesome. A hundred grand gross, that seems easy. It may not seem easy to you, but really push yourself, maybe say 300 or 500 and have that singular focus toward something that’s way bigger than you think that you can do.

I also think about physically. I’ve had back since I was 19. I had back surgery. I had a really bad snowboarding fall, herniated three discs. Then also in that spot, I had a spinal stenosis, had to go to the Mayo Clinic for Surgery. They said it was one of the worst backs that they had ever seen. And I’ve just found over the years that if I don’t move my body on a regular basis I have back flare-ups. So for me walking a bunch, doing planks doing some pushups, even just some very basic things. I used to go to the gym really regularly, but with all the different variants and stuff right now I’m just saying what are the basics that I can do to stay relatively healthy in my eating and in the way that I make it easier for myself to make positive choices.

So even buying shelled pistachios, I love pistachios, but shelling them is a pain in the butt. So I have shelled pistachios for myself. I put those in front of any of our snacky snacks so that in the evening, if I’m feeling hungry, I see the pistachios, I say, “Yes, I should probably eat those instead of some of those Cheezits,” which sure I could choose to not have any of that in my house. But there’s times you want it.

I would say mentally, I also think about in that domain, like what’s a small step that I could take? So I signed up for dual lingo a couple weeks ago. I’ve been doing Spanish lessons. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time, just learn earning some basics because I hate when I travel that I can’t have just like basic conversations. Now I would love to be fluent if I could just snap my fingers. I doubt that’s going to happen, but for me again, it’s that small step in the right direction.

Also taking time to meditate and to allow my brain to just like genuinely rest, that’s something that I try to do regularly. It’s not every day. It may be every, I bet four days a week I probably do that. But I like the Sam Harris waking up meditation. For me that works. He does a great job with kind of the science side and the guidance side and lots of other kind of lessons if you want to dig in deeper.

So if I was to summarize how I approach goal setting, I would say it’s what are some small steps in the right direction that I can sustain that I can do over time? I can put a scoop of collage into my coffee every day. I can do a one minute plank or more every day. I can do at least one lesson of dual lingo every day. One thing I actually did is on a piece of paper, I put 10 different things that I could do. So it’s like 20 pushups, it’s three minute plank, 20 minutes of learning Spanish, doing a lesson in, reading a business book for 20 minutes.

So it’s all these things that are 20 minutes or fewer. I’ll just say, echo, pick a number one through 10 and whatever number she picks I have to do it. So it’s a way to kind to gamify some of my goals as well. So my girls actually saw me doing this and now we have that for them. So some of them are like art work on art projects. Some of them are work on math. Some of them are reading. One of them is get 15 minutes of iPad. So they’re like, “Ooh, I want to do it,” but they have to do the other thing if they get that. So it’s just a fun way to gamify it. Even by doing dual lingo my kids have started looking over my shoulder and they want to help out a little bit. So they have some interest too. So it become something fun for our family also.

Well, thank you so much for listening today. All these Wednesday shows of Ask Joe, keep those coming in. If you have questions that you want me to answer head on over to That’s where you can submit your questions to me. We’ve got some really interesting shows coming up. Tomorrow we have your four step blueprint for having a successful practice. That’s with Zoe Thompson and Judy Whitfield has a thriving testing practice and needed some help on what to do next. So doing some live consulting. That’s going to be on January 18th. We’ve got some really amazing things coming up. On the 25th we have David Meltzer talking about this year of priorities.

David Meltzer started a sports agency that the movie Jerry McGuire was based on. Then on the 27th of January, we have Daniel Pink. One of the top business writers of our generation is going to be on the show on the 27th. So amazing, amazing thing with Dan Pink coming back on the show. So lots of really amazing people coming up. We have a whole series in February that’s going to be about starting a group practice with Alison and Whitney. So we have tons of really awesome content. Make sure that you subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss anything.

Also today’s sponsor, we could not do this show without Therapy Notes. Therapy notes has been an amazing show sponsor for years and years and years. Make sure you use promo code [JOE] when you check out You’re going to get your free months because of that. They’re amazing. So use Therapy Notes, they will help you transition from whatever platform you’re using right now.

Thank you for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.