It’s that time of year when we reflect upon the year past, see the goals that were not accomplished and try to set new audacious goals for the next year. Our renewed vigor and dedication will last a week or two, maybe less. Why is that?
Setting goals is a tried and true motivational exercise, but to really have an impact we have to dig deeper than the conscious mind wants to go. We have to set those goals with deep roots in the unconscious mind, and that means we have to drill down into the motivations for our goals. To plant a goal and really have the emotional wherewithal to achieve it takes more than just a numbered list.
Say your goal is to buy a new car next year. That’s a good goal, but if your current car is okay, and you don’t have a clear understanding of why you want a new one, it’s easy to let the extra work it will take slide. However, if you drill down and see that a new car represents more than just reliable transportation, that it is a symbol of your success. That a new car is proof to the world, and yourself, of your ability and commitment – then there is additional motivation to achieve.
Losing weight is another real goal for many of us, but oftentimes we set the goal of losing 20 pounds, but without an understanding of why we have the extra 20 pounds, or a big enough motivation to lose it, it’s easy to let the calorie count slide, or skip that extra gym session. When I realize that the 20 pounds is a lot to carry around, that it represents a safety barrier for me from love and relationships, that when I lose it, I feel better, look better and my love life improves – then I can stick to the diet and exercise.
For our goals to be effective we have to be more motivated than normal. The best way to do that is to drill down, to find what’s behind our goals, and then what’s behind that, and then go deeper again. Write down the goals you want, then below each of them and indented write down what it represents, and repeat that two more times. Now you’ll have the power to be truly empowered to achieve those goals.
Next step is for each goal, walk it backwards. What do you have to do to achieve that goal, then the step before that, and before that? Go all the way back to the most basic step you can think of. Why do this? Because now you have a path to follow and odds are that each individual step is really easy to do, but if you tried to go from where you are now, to end goal, you’d never make in one step; each little step though is manageable.
We can achieve far more than we are led to believe. It is simply a matter of being motivated, and then finding the path – this system I’ve given you will help keep you motivated and oh the path to reaching your goals.
This article was written by David Pisarra, an author, a father’s rights lawyer, and a motivational speaker specializing in Men’s Empowerment.
At the dawn of a new year, many people set goals to motivate themselves to change. But as January 1 drifts further into the rearview mirror, it can be easy to settle into old habits and forget about the resolutions and goals established at the turn of the calendar.
Staying on course and achieving one’s goals requires discipline. In addition to working hard, men and women who want to realize their goals in the year ahead can take several steps to increase their chances of being successful.
· Examine your priorities. Achieving goals is easier when their goals can be among your biggest priorities. Examine your priorities to determine if you can fully commit to goals that may require significant time commitments. Men and women who are already stretched thin may need to recalibrate their goals or make changes in other areas of their lives before they can fully commit to pursuing new goals.
· Be specific in regard to planning. Being specific when choosing goals is important, but it’s equally important to be as specific as possible in regard to developing a plan to realize those goals. Before embarking on a journey to realize your goals, figure out how you’re going to achieve them. Create a new daily or weekly schedule that allots time to realize your goals, seeking input from loved ones whose lives may be affected by your new schedule.
· Make note of potential obstacles. Recognizing potential hurdles in advance of their appearance can help you overcome these obstacles and stay the course toward achieving your goals. For example, men and women hoping to lose weight can look ahead to occasions that might compromise their efforts, such as a loved one’s wedding or backyard barbecue. Recognizing these obstacles in advance gives people a chance to develop a plan to overcome them. In the weight loss example, men and women can choose vegetarian options from reception menus or resolve to avoid alcohol, which tends to be high in calories.
· Start small, but start immediately. Lifestyle changes can be difficult, so make small changes initially and gradually work toward larger, more significant changes. Starting small can lay a successful foundation, but it’s also important to start immediately. Procrastination can reduce the likelihood of achieving your goals, and the earlier you get started the more quickly you and your loved ones will adjust to the changes necessary to realize your goals.
The dawn of a new year is a great time to set new goals. Bringing those goals to fruition requires careful planning and commitment.
This article was written by The Stanly News & Press, a community newspaper published each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday in Albemarle, North Carolina.
About 50% of adults in North America make a New Year’s resolution each year, according to an article by Dr. Richard Koestner, a professor of psychology at McGill University in Montreal.
The top resolutions are behavioral commitments related to improving one’s health, namely losing weight, quitting smoking, and decreasing alcohol consumption.
But just 8% of people achieve their resolution goals, according to recent data from Forbes magazine.2
Why is there such a high failure rate? Here are a few reasons.
1. Unclear and vague goals.
It is better to say, “My goal is to lose 20 pounds by June 1,” rather than “I plan on being healthier” or “I need to lose 50 pounds.”
Solution: Use the SMART goals method, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. This helps to create goals that will stick long term. For example, “I am going to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week.” That goal is specific. It can be measured and is attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
2. An unsustainable plan.
There are so many restrictive diets that cause initial short-term weight loss. “I’m stopping sugar,” or “I am only eating 1 slice of bread per week,” are examples of goals that are not sustainable. Diets do not work; lifestyle changes do.
Solution: Instead of saying, “I’m never eating sugar again,” or “I’ll be at the gym for 2 hours a day,” try to set small, incremental goals. The plan should have a steady, consistent progression to help achieve the goal.
3. Weak self-control and self-regulation.
Behaviorally, self-regulation is the ability to act in one’s long-term best interest, consistent with the person’s deepest values.3 It is better to say that once I go on vacation, I will only have a single plate at any meal at the all-you-can-eat buffet rather than having to respond to the temptations at each meal. Think of it as a proactive, versus reactive approach.
Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Isn’t it true that emotions can often influence behavior? Emotions are energy in motion. They change and can be fleeting. We will have stressful situations, such as sick kids or crises at work. Life happens. However, keeping our core values in the forefront can help override the desire to dig into that box of donuts at work.
Solution: Self-regulation is best achieved when we focus on values rather than emotions. For example, your core value may be “I want to be healthy,” while your emotions may say, “I don’t feel like going to the gym today.” When we act based on our values, we are more deeply rooted in our goals, and that leads to success.
Getting support around one’s goals is key for success. Having an accountability partner, coach, or mentor to offer guidance can be extremely helpful. Not only can a coach help with accountability, but he or she can get results faster and more directly. A coach can help us feel more confident, ensuring that we are part of the 8% who actually achieve their resolutions.
This article was written by Christina Tarantola, licensed pharmacist, nutrition consultant and Co-owner of The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North, a nutrition consulting company geared to empower people to take charge of their health.
Do you struggle with sticking to your exercise, diet or “being nicer and more patient” goals? It’s likely that you sabotaged yourself by focusing on what you didn’t do instead of celebrating what you did.
The brain needs evidence of success if you want your new behavior to become a habit.
Pathways in the brain act like a rubber band. You can stretch them but they will snap back into place if you don’t give yourself evidence that what you want is attainable. You then resign yourself to repeating negative but comfortable behavioral and thinking patterns, using your brain to justify your behavior.
This is especially true for changes that are difficult for you to make. If the brain’s primary function is to protect you, it will work hard to keep you from facing a failure. Your emotional brain works in tandem with your logical brain to conjure up masterful rationalizations that enable you to avoid the discomfort of change. Life goes back to normal even if it is unhealthy.
To counteract the brain’s love of the status quo, you need to frequently experience the feel-good payoff for your personal development work. From the moment you make the choice to change, you must daily recognize both the effort and positive effects of your work.
For example, you may be working on feeling less irritated with a co-worker. To create long-lasting behavioral change, you need to (1) see early and consistent evidence that you can be successful at letting go of feeling irritated, and (2) sincerely evaluate the evidence as positive when you journal or dialogue about what happened. What does it feel like to be more at peace? How good do you feel when you are gracefully in control? How will this help you get what you want in the future?
Be sure you are emotionally tied to the payoff. Instead of hoping to be thinner, focus on the things you love to do that you will be able to do more of when you are thin. Instead of pushing yourself to exercise more, keep reminding yourself of how wonderful it will be to dance at your grandchild’s wedding or be able to fully enjoy your vacations. Tie your success to what you love and value to maintain your motivation.
Remember to write your goals using words that describe what you want to create instead of what you don’t want anymore. Your brain doesn’t comprehend the word “don’t.” If you tell yourself, “Don’t eat a snack before bed” you are essentially reminding yourself that you will be hungry for a snack before bed. Focus on what you want to create so you can easily identify your evidence of success.
When you regularly identify, document, and acknowledge the evidence that you can successfully enact your goals, you give reality a chance to unfold before your eyes. The more times you acknowledge the good effects of your efforts, the more you feel in control. In summary:
- Make sure you have defined specific activities you can celebrate. Set small goals that you can achieve, taking a new step each day.
- Write about your victories in a journal so the evidence of success is tangible and accessible for you to review on a regular basis.
- Talk about your victories with a buddy who is working with you to achieve similar goals. Or find someone that loves to celebrate with you.
- Send congratulations notes to yourself. Predetermine rewards and then give them to yourself to validate your progress.
- If you slip, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t drown yourself in blame, shame, regrets and self-hatred. Be kind to yourself. Forgive the slip. Review your journal of victories. Breath in the sweet taste of gratitude for the work you have done so far.
Personal transformation is more likely to happen if you make a point of noticing your accomplishments every day. Then, little by little, your goals become habits. Eventually, you become the person you vision yourself to be.
This article was written by Marcia Reynolds, the President of Covisioning LLC who works with clients around the world who seek to develop effective leaders.
If there’s one thing we know about goals, they have to be SMART, right?
After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years. The only thing that matters, is that your goals are:
While that looks great on paper—and clearly, it’s easy to remember—it doesn’t go far enough for those who want to achieve big things.
Think about it. Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent international travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or three)?
Chances are, those safe, smart goals aren’t going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.
Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you’ll likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?
Rather than focusing on goals that are attainable and realistic, savvy Fempreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
They don’t strive to earn 10% more than last year. They want 50% or even 100% more.
They stretch themselves. They find new…and better ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard. Although they remain open to the possibility of doing so (at least in the short term) when it’s necessary.
Of course, you cannot simply declare these crazy goals, and expect the universe to hand them to you while you sit on your butt eating Bon-Bons.
And that’s exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…well, smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the, “Holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
So, push past the limits of your comfort zone. Set big, crazy, audacious goals.
Even if you fall short, you’ll be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.
This article was written by Tracey Osborne, the CEO and Founder of Empowered Fempreneurs who is determined to make a difference in as many lives as she can.
What are small wins?
Small wins are progress points on your way to your goal.
For example, say that your main goal is to get out of debt.
This can be a daunting and discouraging task because it involves a lot of moving parts. Focusing on small wins helps you break down a large goal into manageable chunks.
You create a series of small wins like:
- Consolidate your debt into a single credit card
- Get under $20,000 in student dept, then $10,00, then $5,000, etc.
- Pay off all of your credit cards.
- Set up a savings account.
Each of these milestones are part of a larger goal, but their chunked down manageable steps. This makes it easier to stick to your plan.
Why Small Wins Help With Habit Development
Small wins help you feel like you’re accomplishing something. If we focus too much on the bigger goals, we’ll feel like we will never get there. That’s why smaller wins are so important. They give us motivation to keep on going where it snowballs into the development of the bigger goals.
Here are some examples of some small wins for daily habits.
Example #1: Get your dream job
For some people, it takes a long time to land that dream job.
Instead of focusing on this outcome, you’d create a series of small wins that move you towards this goal.
Here are a few habits you’d focus on:
- Apply for a job even if it’s not exactly what you want.
- Develop the daily habit of searching internet job boards.
- Celebrate the times when you get called for an interview!
- Consider it a “win” when you’re offered a job – even if it’s not what you want.
Small wins can help you with finding a dream job. All you have to do is chunk down a large goal and build momentum as you complete each phase of the process.
Example #2: Achieving success in your business
Every entrepreneur has dreams of becoming successful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to work hard at this goal on a daily basis. For instance, here are a few “small wins” that you should focus on along the way:
- Receiving your first inquiry from a potential customer
- Getting your first sale
- Achieving your first income milestone ($1,000, $5,000, $10,000, etc.)
- Getting your first client referral
- Taking your first vacation
Once you get in the habit of celebrating these milestones, you will soon have a thriving business.
Example #3: Feeling better about your appearance
This could be considered a small goal but a goal no less. If you want to feel better about yourself, some small wins could be:
- Getting a new wardrobe
- Getting a new haircut
- Losing weight
- Getting a compliment on your appearance
If you get in the daily habit of taking care of yourself like doing your hair, putting nail polish on, ironing your clothes, polishing your shoes and putting money aside for the small wins, you will soon start to make small wins to feeling better about your appearance.
Small wins may seem impossible to get to at first. But once you reach that first one, the other ones will fall into place. You will become more motivated and wins will keep on coming.
Small wins break complex bigger goals into more manageable pieces to handle. They are effective because they reduce stress and give you a daily action plan to follow. If you develop good daily habits, you’ll be eventually on your way to celebrate many small wins.
Finally, one way to create small wins in your life is to focus on a single habit change every month.
This article was written by Steve Scott, an author, podcaster, and entrepreneur, who is a firm believer in the idea of the “Internet Lifestyle” and in the goal of creating the life that YOU want to live.