It always amazes me how many people spend longer planning their summer break than they do their life. Abraham Lincoln once said “the best way to predict your future is to create it” and I absolutely love that. Unfortunately though, a lot of people prefer to take each day as it comes and hope for the best. Why step outside of your comfort zone if you’re comfortable, it can’t be bad, right? Truth is, the longer we stay there, the less happy we end up feeling. The comfort zone is THE killer of motivation – it stops us from trying new things, it keeps us from growing.
Fear is a big reason why people choose to stay there, whether it is a fear of
failure/success/judgement /etc. fear paralyses people and they just keep doing the same old thing that they’ve always done.
Another big factor is our motivation for setting a specific goal and going for it. If the motivation (our WHY) isn’t big enough, it’s unlikely that we’ll follow through. This is when the excuses kick in – “I haven’t got the time/money/energy etc.”
Surely most people would have heard about the power of goal setting by now, it’s talked about a lot, we know that Goals should be written down, we know they should be SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time bound) and yet a lot of people don’t do it for a variety of reasons.
The five goal setting tips I can give as a Coach are really quite simple, but do make a massive difference:
1. Choose a good word! Words have emotions or attitude attached to them, so if you don’t like the word “goal”, then simply don’t use it! Change it for a better word- dream, desire, outcome, ambition, project….whatever it is that makes you want to do something about it.
2. Make sure it’s your own goal and not something that you think you “should” do. We sometimes ‘borrow’ Goals in the sense that we set goals that our family, friends, boss ,etc. think we should do. Or goals that we pretend we want, but we actually don’t. It’s important that the goal is personal (i.e. for you, not other people) and that you actually want it for yourself.
3. The goal must be stated in the positive! The subconscious mind doesn’t understand negatives such as “not”, “don’t”, “won’t”- so for example when you say something like “I don’t want to keep eating cake”, you are actually focusing on eating cake. Make sure you say want you want, not what you don’t want, i.e. “I want to be healthy and have nice skin”. Where focus goes, energy flows.
4. Break it down! Sometimes the goal is so big and overwhelming that we end up doing nothing about it. The key is to break it down, think about what’s the first thing you would think about doing if you really want the goal, then park the big goal and focus on the first step. Then the next, one at a time. Not only is it more manageable, but also the fact that you are making progress actually boosts your confidence and sense of achievement. And before you know it, you’ve achieved it.
5. Ensure it’s congruent with your values! Ask yourself “What do I value most? What do I stand for as a human being?” If you have a clear understanding of your values as a person and you align your goals with them, it’s most likely that you will achieve your goals. If they are conflicting and not congruent, the likelihood is you will self-sabotage.
If you’ve tried and failed and tried and failed, try something different. Working with a professional coach can help you on your journey to taking control and improving the quality of every aspect of your life. It’s effective, it’s powerful, it moves people forward fast!