“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer
It’s that time of year again. We started with our New Year’s resolutions to balance our lives out just a short while ago. Some of us wanted to lose weight, while others wanted to make more money. Now we are getting to a critical point, where we may feel like giving up.
As a yoga instructor, I felt the sting of the holidays when my classes dropped to low numbers due to parties and traveling, but now I’m flooded with packed classes every night and bombarded with the question, “How can you help me keep my New Year’s Resolutions?” The frequency of this query inspired me to create a plan to help my clients with their own unique goals. And now I offer it to you. You simply need to change your perspective when approaching New Year’s resolutions. Instead of making a vague list of what you want to change, ask yourself these simple questions:
Start by specifically defining what it is you plan to accomplish this year. Be concise, keep it simple. For example, if you start with a goal like, “I plan to be healthier this year,” you may want to redefine that as, “I plan to eat more fruits and vegetables, as well as cut out sodas and other added sugars.” If your resolution is to, “Lose weight this year,” you might guide yourself toward, “I plan on losing 15 pounds this year.”
Ask yourself, “Why would I like to accomplish this goal?” Often times, physical changes to our lives have an internal representation that we aren’t even aware we are striving for. This is the reason why some people vow to lose 15 pounds but once they do, they still feel defeated and depressed. If you really investigate why you want to accomplish this goal, you will find a bit more about what you really wish to accomplish.
Have a well-thought-out plan before you embark on this adventure this year. It’s important to realize that if you knew all there was to know about this particular life change, you would have already accomplished it. Come to this resolution like a student that needs to learn how.
1. Research: Make sure you find out the info on what you’re about to take on. If the resolution is to eat healthier, what is it you plan to eat? If you’re educated about the foods you should — and shouldn’t — be eating, you’ll be empowered even further. If your resolution is to lose weight than your job is to learn actual ways to go about doing that. What type of exercise works best for you? What do you plan on cutting out and putting in your life in order to accomplish this goal?
2. Tell everyone you know: Research suggests that people who are accountable are more likely to succeed in achieving resolution goals. Accountability is exactly why groups like AA and Weight Watchers are credible and effective. When you know that you’re going to hear it from 100 people when you start swearing like a sailor or if you fail to run 25 miles a week you promised, you are less likely to bail out on your resolutions.
3. Set up a reward system: Periodically use rewards for reaching small goals. Shed a couple pounds this week? Treat yourself to a movie or buy a new pair of pants that fit that ever shrinking body.
Accomplishing goals we set produces dopamine, the pleasure chemical in our brain. This chemical activates parts of the brain that makes you eager to pursue new challenges. By setting and achieving goals today you are heightening your ability to be a better person the rest of your life. Here’s to a fantastic new year. 2013 here we come!
Sarah Stevenson, a.k.a., The Tini Yogini, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops. She also writes for Beachbody, which provides effective and popular workout videos, including the Insanity Workout, a high intensity cardio workout for total body conditioning.
Learning how to set goals and accomplish them is a valuable skill that serves us in all aspects of our lives, from our emotional and physical health to our relationships to our careers. Teaching children how to do this will ensure that they have the skills to become happy and successful adults.
However, goal-setting concepts can be too abstract for many children. Their impulsive natures can run counter to the planning, hard work and dedication required to reach many goals. There are many things you can do to help your children learn this skill, starting when they are very young.
Here’s how you can teach your children to set and reach their goals:
Even very young children can begin practicing goal setting with daily tasks. Encourage your children to accomplish different chores and other tasks by presenting it as a goal, such as getting dressed for the day or making the bed.
Start by announcing the goal – “Today, our goal will be to get dressed” – then announce each of the steps leading up to its accomplishment – “First, we have to choose what we want to wear. Next, we have to put on our pants…” and so on. These small goals are easily and quickly accomplished, and this process helps your child understand the steps required to identify and achieve a goal.
Let Them Lead
It may be tempting to tell your children the goals they should try to be achieving (and this will be a temptation you will fight throughout their lives), but it will be easier to get them invested in the process if they determine their own goals. Talk to them about what they want – besides more candy or a later curfew. Don’t dismiss their goals as frivolous or not worthwhile.
Even if their goal is to get an Xbox, talk to them about how they can accomplish it by doing more chores and saving. If they aren’t excited about their goals, they won’t accomplish them.
Make a Plan
Once your child is used to setting and achieving smaller goals, start identifying larger goals and make a plan for achieving them. Help your child to identify each of the steps required to meet the goal. For example, if the goal is to get a higher grade on a math test, the steps could include setting aside an hour each night for study, taking a certain number of practice exams, meeting with the teacher for extra tutoring, and reviewing previous tests to identify mistakes.
Creating a plan makes achieving a goal more accessible by breaking it into smaller steps, each of which can instill a sense of accomplishment when they are achieved. Creating this type of plan also helps to illustrate the difference between long- and short-term goals (as many of the steps towards completing the larger goal are short-term goals themselves).
Children often do not understand the amount of work or other requirements necessary to meet some goals. Learning how to ride a horse may seem exciting and easy to do, but in reality, it requires a lot of training. Your child may want to attend an intensive summer camp, but doesn’t realize how expensive it is.
Help your children understand how to be realistic about goal setting, both in the goal they choose and in the plan they set for achieving it. For example, learning to ride a horse is not unrealistic, but learning to do so in a weekend might be. Don’t dismiss your children’s goals, but help them to understand the steps required to achieve them, and then be encouraging and offer your help where you can.
Be a Cheerleader
As your child works toward achieving a goal, monitor progress and celebrate success. Offer your support where necessary and encourage the good work that is being done. Your child will thrive on the positive reinforcement and will feel all the better about the success achieved. In the future, your child will want to set and achieve more goals based on this positive reinforcement.
Learning to set goals is not intuitive. Children must be encouraged to develop this valuable skill for success later in life. Starting early and offering guidance and encouragement can help them to learn short- and long-term goal setting for success.
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on associates in nursing online and online nursing degrees in ny.
Long term goals may be more important to our sense of happiness and well-being than many people come to believe. They direct our actions. They provide us with a sense of purpose. They even shape our attitude towards objects, people and circumstances that surround us.
In the recent psychological study conducted by Alberta School of Business, researchers made a mind-blowing discovery – once we set a long term goal, our subconscious mind will never “erase” it. No matter where we live, what we do and how old we are, our subconscious will continue actively searching for ways to achieve our long term goals.
Once set in motion this mechanism can not be stopped. Not by multiple failures. Not by negative social conditioning. Not even by your conscious decision to stop trying.
Good news is that you have been programmed for success. Not-so-good news – you will still have to do the work to achieve it, but it is hardly the reason to get discouraged.
Having (and achieving) long term goals actually holds a myriad of life-long rewards.
Advantages of Setting Long Term Goals
1. Long Term Goals Give You Direction
As Yogi Berra has put it, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Having clear and specific long term goal keeps us headed in the right direction – somewhere we really want to end up, not just somewhere the circumstances might take us.
2. Sense of greater purpose
Long term objectives give meaning to most, otherwise, mundane tasks. We don’t wake up in the morning to go to work, spend 8 hours in the office to turn home and relax in front of TV for the rest of the evening. We have something great to look forward to. We have something that fires us up; something that has the potential to nourish our personal, professional and spiritual life.
3. Better understanding of possible roadblocks
Having a clear direction in life allows us to prepare much better for the trip, to anticipate and avoid possible setbacks, to build skills that are necessary for success and to gain support of people who can make our journey easier and more enjoyable.
4. Long term positive impact
While short term goals help us create momentum, the effect of accomplishing a short term goal is short-lived. They are only stepping-stones to the greater success. Long term goals may be harder to achieve, but their impact is more noticeable and lasts over time
5. Big picture
Having long term goals allows us to see beyond today’s work and keep our motivation high, especially when we are faced with tedious, but necessary everyday tasks.
What are Long Term Goals?
While life-long goals may vary greatly from person to person, there are still similar characteristics that we have to keep in mind before applying massive amount of action to achieve them:
Long term goals can not be achieved overnight. You can not build a successful home-based business, instill healthy habits in your children or obtain a college degree in a few months. Goals like these, take time. They may last anywhere from one year to a few decades.
Long term goals are more concrete than dreams or wishes. There is a big difference between saying “Someday I will be an accomplished surgeon” and “By 2019 I will get my Master’s Degree in Neurologic Surgery at Berkley University”. The first statement is a dream that has nothing to do with reality. The second statement is a long term goal that combines a dream to become an accomplished surgeon and a plan on how to get there. When setting long term goals, make sure that they are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
Long term goals can be set for any area of life. Whether you’re trying to get out of debt, change your career, start a family or stick to a healthier diet, you can turn your wish into a long term goal and here is how…
How to set Long Term Goals?
1. Create a compelling vision
Before choosing a long term goal, take a moment to think what you want to look like in 5 years from now.
- Where do you want to be living?
- What kind of work do you want to be doing?
- How are you planning to spend your free time?
- Who do you want to spend it with?
Try this vision “on”. See what your intuition is telling you – is it something YOU truly want or is it something that would be cool having? Will you be happier after accomplishing it? What could be the possible downsides of living your life that way?
For example, if you imagined yourself being the head of marketing department and working for a big international company, one of the downsides of having this role could be a lack of free time. Another one is the necessity of dealing with interpersonal conflicts within your team.
Ask yourself – are you ready to work hard and make sacrifices to get where you want to go? You know that you are on the right track when you are willing to accept not only the “compelling” part of accomplishing your goal, but also the responsibility that comes with it.
2. Identify one long term goal
Usually there are many areas of our life that we would like to improve. To feel satisfied with our life it is not enough to have a stellar career, to find your love match or to have a great-looking body and good health. We have to find balance between professional, personal and spiritual life.
However, the problem is that switching between multiple long term goals is a sure way to leave all of them half-way. This is one of the reasons why self-help experts suggest that we pick just one long-term goal and concentrate all of our effort on it.
Take a moment to think which goal is most important to your future success? Which goals will have the biggest positive impact on your life 5 years from now?
Now think of how you can write this goal in a way that eliminates any confusion or ambiguity and leaves no room for interpretation.
For example, “I want to be fit” is hardly a goal. “By June 1st, 2013 I am size 6. I can easily jog 5 miles without running out of breath or feeling tired afterwards.” – is a well-defined, measurable target that has a clear deadline and allows you to monitor your progress.
3. Break your long term goal in smaller, do-able chunks
While long term goals are the most meaningful and gratifying, they are also far off in the future. As a result, it can be challenging to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on reaching them. One of the great ways to prevent yourself from getting off track is to break your long-term goal into smaller objectives that take 3 to 12 months to complete. And then break those objectives into even smaller steps that could be completed in just a few days’ or a few weeks’ time.
When you do that, you will have what goal setting experts call an “Action plan”.
4. Take the first step
Choose one of the smaller tasks from your action plan and set a realistic deadline for it.
Then take the first step – a.k.a. get it done!
Then celebrate… then take the next step… and the next one…
You will be surprised at how fast the time flies by. In a few years from now you will be sitting at your desk thinking, “Wow! It seemed only yesterday I was writing down my long term goals, and look how far I’ve come…”
Short term goals are often looked down at. After all, it is the big dreams that we are after. However, as we keep our eyes on a prize, it is important to remember that any BIG success is always a result of many small successes and likewise any big failure is a result of repeated small failures.
It is impossible to change your career, get in shape or learn a new language overnight. Whatever you strive for, the safest, the smartest and the least time-consuming way to achieve it, is by setting clear short term goals.
Benefits Of Setting Short Term Goals
Whether you are trying to excel personally, succeed professionally, prosper financially or grow spiritually, properly set and executed short term goals can help you do that.
Here are just a few benefits that you might want to consider when setting smaller goals:
- They are simple and easy to accomplish
- They do not require long-term commitment
- It is a great way to create momentum
- They allow you to stay on track and keep your motivation high
- They help to boost your self-confidence
- They provide you with instant feedback to measure your performance and progress
- And they guarantee something we all love – quick results!
If you have never set short term goals, I suggest you start today, because it could be the quickest road to a huge, positive life change.
What Are Short Term Goals?
While the name seems pretty self-explanatory, many people still have a lot of questions when it comes to setting and achieving short term goals:
- What is the time frame for the short term goals?
- Are short term goals more important that long term life projects?
- What is the difference between short term goals are New Year’s resolutions?
- How to properly set short term goals?
Let’s start at the beginning and bring some clarity into the whole Goal Setting Concept.
1. Short term goals are associated with specific time frames.
They can range from simple tasks that you can accomplish in just a few minutes to more serious objectives that last up to one year.
2. Usually short term goals serve as stepping stones to a larger, long term dream.
For example, “Triple my income by the end of 2015” is a realistic, but rather overwhelming goal. And that’s where short term planning comes in handy, because any difficult, time-consuming goal can be always broken down into smaller, do-able steps.
If I want to triple my income in three years, there are plenty of things I can do. I can give myself 6 months to find a better, more gratifying job. I can turn one of my hobbies into the source of income (e.g. start my own blog, write a book, or teach someone else how to do something I already enjoy doing). I can take a 3-month course to learn more about finance. I can implement a business idea that I had and see if it will take off.
Some of these goals can be chunked-down into even smaller tasks and objectives that will take only few hours or few days to complete.
3. Short term goals are not the same as New Year’s resolutions.
The resolutions that we set for the upcoming year are usually on-going, like “go to the gym 3 times a week”, “stop smoking”, “giving up diet coke”. Short-term are not. They have a clear deadline and are directed towards specific result – “lose 10 pounds by March 31st”, “read Allan Carr’s book ‘The Easy Way to Stop Smoking’ by the end of the month”, “create a healthy eating plan for the next week”.
If you are new to Goal Setting, it is probably better to start with short term goals rather than on-going resolutions. That way you will not feel like you failed if you skipped just one day of a workout or had a chocolate chip cookie, while being on a diet.
How To Set Short Term Goals?
There are two easy ways of setting any type of goal and double-checking it. One is SMART goal method, another less known is what I call 7 P’s method.
Following 7 P’s System your short term goals should be:
Prioritized: You may have several different goals that you would like to achieve, but ideally you should concentrate only on one goal at a time. Write down everything you would like to achieve by the end of the year. Now look at your list at start with the high-priority, but lower-difficulty goal. Start with that one!
Present: Write your goal as if it is currently true. From psychological standpoint goals that are stated in the present tense create a sense of urgency and motivate us towards their achievement. While goals that begin with ‘I will…” leave a lot of room for procrastination.
Positive: It is always much better to work towards what you want than trying to avoid something that you want to leave behind. Always start your goal with a positive statement, “I am…”, “I have…”, “I feel…” It is a lot more effective and inspirational.
Precise: When setting goals try to be as specific as you can. If the goal is stated in way that is too general or too vague how will you know what steps to take and more importantly when will you know that you have achieved it?
One way to ensure that your short-term objectives are precise is to make them measurable. For example, a statement “I want to earn more money” sounds more like a wishful thinking than an actual goal. “I increase my monthly earnings by $500” is a much better way to phrase your objectives, but even this goal can still be improved. Which leads us to the next point…
Performance-based: Any well-set goal should have a clear and realistic deadline that allows you to measure your progress and your performance. Having a timeline for your short-term goal takes it from the realm of “I will get to it someday” to a commitment that you have promised yourself to keep.
Practical: Is your goals realistic or does it come in conflict with any of your other goals? Is it challenging enough so that you are motivated to work towards it, but reachable so that you can still achieve it? Is it within your control to make things work or do you rely on other people to meet your objectives?
Sometimes just a few small tweaks are necessary to bring your goal in line with reality.
Personal: Whatever goal you will choose for yourself, always make sure that it is something YOU really want, not something that your parents expect of you, something you would like to prove to your friends or something that sounds good. If your goal is not aligned with your inner values, beliefs and heart-felt desires, your subconscious mind will sabotage your conscious efforts, setting you up for a failure. On the other hand, if your goal is something you truly dream of, just re-reading your goal statement will be enough to motivate you into action.
Properly-rewarded: Ok this point is not a part of 7 P’s System, but this does not any less important. Goal Setting should not turn into something you procrastinate against. It should be something that you enjoy doing, something you eagerly work towards almost every day. One way to make the whole goal setting process more fun is by celebrating your smallest accomplishments and rewarding your efforts with little surprises and gifts. It does not necessarily have to be something expensive. There are plenty of ways to celebrate your successes without having to spend a dime!
Your action step:
- Think of something you wanted to achieve for a long time.
- Write your short term goal down, keeping 7 P’s system in mind.
- Now think of the smallest step that you can take to set the whole goal-getting process in motion and do it TODAY!
Set short term goals and you’ll win games. Set long term goals and you’ll win championships!
With February just beginning the thought of sticking with your New Year’s resolutions might sound as appealing as scraping wallpaper off of drywall. It’s understandable why: The vast majority of people make and break their resolutions within a few weeks’ time. They fall back into their old ways, and they convince themselves their resolutions were too hard to keep anyway.
You don’t need to be part of the vast majority. In fact, 2012 can be the year that you separate yourself from the masses and keep every resolution you make.
Here are five ways to help you stay on track:
1. Set realistic objectives.
You probably can’t change jobs, launch a nonprofit organization, revamp your kids’ parent-teacher organization and start a community garden all in one year. You can always keep certain goals on the back burner, but chunk down your goals into just a few that you can realistically meet within a year’s time.
For longer-term goals, such as how to plan for retirement, choose a few to-do items that get you closer to your goals. For example, you can commit to putting more money in your 401(k) and creating a retirement planning guide with your financial planner. Establish time frames that are believable to you, and monitor your progress regularly.
2. Get an accountability partner.
Find someone who has similar goals with whom you can check in frequently. If you want to run a marathon, find a running partner and schedule regular runs. You’ll be more likely to show up for a run if you know someone is waiting for you. Keep track of your progress together, and share the results of your training.
3. Establish a reward system.
Even small rewards will help to keep you motivated. The reward should be tied directly to the goal. So, if you make an extra few hundred bucks in your business, rather than going on a spending spree or blowing every extra dollar on a latte, put some of that money in a savings account that will let you save up for a larger purchase. Post a picture of the item on your refrigerator. You’ll stay motivated to obtain that reward and will work that much harder to get it.
4. Revisit goals as needed.
Your goals may shift with the economy, life changes such as a new home or a new baby, a big move or other key events. Revisit your goals every few months to be sure they still encompass everything you hope to get out of life. Make any necessary tweaks to ensure you achieve the desired outcome.
5. See yourself succeeding.
Use your imagination to visualize yourself with your goals realized. Get a journal and log your thoughts and feelings about your accomplishment. Post photos of images that symbolize your success. Mentally associate with people who have what you want — not the naysayers who doubt your potential.
Bit by bit, you can meet all the goals you set forth in 2012. As long as you commit to specific action steps, you’ll not only keep your New Year’s resolutions, but also finish the year better off than when you started it.
Felicia Gopaul helps consumers understand how to plan for retirement, save for college and plan for the future. With insightful articles and advice featured at FeliciaGopaul.com and College Funding Resource, she offers easy-to-understand tips for consumers seeking better, smarter ways to manage their finances. As part of her New Year’s resolutions, Felicia will be sticking to a new fitness plan, reading motivational books and spending plenty of quality time with her daughters.
Goal setting is an essential drive of our life and an important factor of motivation. Some people consider it as the fuel of our daily and everyday living. This becomes even more important when the goals are set by us, thus transforming us to self-driven individuals.
One of the goals set by millions of people every day is the loss of weight. Our goal should be the loss of weight that can be achieved through a healthy way of living and this can be definitely achieved by setting SMART goals.
SMART Weight loss goals
Setting goals is an art. In order to see the best results, the goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, SMART. The weight loss goal cannot be an exception to this rule. Following the SMART guidelines enables us to achieve our goals, feel happy and repeat the exercise setting higher and more ambitious goals.
How can a weight loss goal be SMART?
In order to explain the idea let us assume that at the end of the summer period after a lot of abuse, you have gained 11 pounds and you are now 187 lbs. You want to lose 11 pounds, this is Specific. You do not state I want to lose weight. Can you Measure the goal? Yes, you can. Every Monday morning you get on your scale and measure your weight, noting it down on a board so that you can easily see it. Is it Attainable? This depends by when you want to lose those 11 pounds. If you say by tomorrow this is impossible, if you say in a month almost impossible but if you say by next summer, that is in 8 months then this is achievable and attainable by anyone. It is at the same time Realistic because 11 pounds out of 187 is 6% of your weight but if you were 100 lbs then 11 lbs would have been 11% of your weight, which is less realistic. Surely, this goal is Timely. It should be completed in 8 months for a specific reason.
You have set your SMART weight loss goal and now you need to monitor it and ensure that you are within this goal. Since a goal cannot be achieved once in a big chunk, it has to measured and monitored so that we achieve it in small but steady increments. Therefore, we measure our weight, week after week and we record the readings in our computer or a board where we can see and monitor the progress.
Once we set our weight loss goals, we have to find the way to meet our targets through healthy living. By healthy living, we mean taking care of what we eat and by being physically active. The tools we have in our disposal are no other than a natural diet and exercise.
What is a natural diet? A natural diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grain and cereals. Other foods like low fat dairy products and fish should be consumed many times a week, white meat in less frequency and red meat a few times a month. A natural diet is not restrictive but rather selective in the sense that you have to select what you eat and in normal quantities rather than restrict whole food groups from your daily meals.
Exercise: You cannot live healthy without exercise. Daily, or almost daily, physical exercises like walking for about 30-45 minutes a day is necessary. You should stand up and leave the couch for a couple of hours per day and deal with activities that keep your muscles moving. This is the only way to burn calories but refresh your spirit at the same time.
Do not forget that it is important to have a healthy body but it is equally important to have a healthy mind. There are many ways to get active and this is not limited to joining a gym but you can do sports (basketball, football etc) or engage into other outdoor activities alone or with friends.
Finally, do not forget that having a healthy weight is not only good for your appearance and health but is important for your self-esteem and confidence.
The Definition of Goal Setting is pretty self-explanatory – it is the process of deciding what you want (or setting a goal) and figuring out how to achieve it.
We all have goals, right? Well… actually… not exactly…
We have plans. We plan to make more money in a few years, we plan to find a better job, we plan to go on vacation in Europe and we plan to start a family when the time is right.
But all these are not goals. They are ‘wishes’, ‘desires’, or maybe ‘plans for the future’ at best.
Even those of us, who are familiar with the concept and definition of Goal Setting often set false goals for ourselves. This is actually one of the main reasons why only 10%-15% of people who have the motivation and skill to succeed, consistently achieve the results they desire.
Whether you are new to Goal Setting or consider yourself a pro, I urge you to take a few minutes and check if your goals are lacking some important characteristics or if they can be made more powerful and more effective.
Is Your Goal:
Make sure that your goal is challenging enough to motivate you, yet not too hard so that it discourages you before you have even started.
How clear are you about what you want? If you were to share your goal with me, would I be able to picture it without asking any other questions?
Are you confident enough in your abilities and your chances of success? Does your goal sound do-able to you?
Do you feel inspired by your goal or is it just something you would not mind having?
5. Limited in time?
Does your goal have a specific deadline, so that you can measure your progress along the way? In my practice, many people confuse goals with ongoing habits (e.g. “waking up early”, “going to the gym twice a week”). If your goal is based on something you have to do regularly for the rest of your life, you are setting yourself up for sure failure.
It is much easier to succeed at something that you enjoy doing, rather than at something that you have to force yourself into.
7. Written down?
Writing your goals down instantly makes them feel more tangible, more urgent and more desirable.
8. Breakable into smaller action steps?
Can you identify a number of steps that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be?
9. Easy to visualize?
Our mind thinks in pictures and, therefore, it is hard for our mind to focus on something like “tons of money”, “a beautiful body” or “a hot-looking date”. Make sure that when you think about your goal you can picture it up to the smallest detail.
10. Backed-up by a support team?
At times when your confidence wavers, is there anyone who can encourage you to stay on track and keep on moving forward?
Many people fail with their goal achievement, because they hope that simply setting a goal is enough – that once you have set a goal, the rest will magically happen without any action or any change. In this article I’m going to examine this by explaining the only time you can set goals without including change…
The fact is, the only way you can set goals without including change is to set a goal of ‘keeping everything the same’.
That may seem obvious, churlish even, but it’s a hugely important point which can be pivotal to whether you succeed or fail with your goals. If you set your goal as ‘keeping everything the same’, then you won’t have to change anything to achieve it, right?
After all, we all know that to keep repeating the same actions will keep bringing the same results. The trouble is, life will come along and throw a spanner in the works, and that spanner can be classed as ‘unexpected change’.
So, even if you did set a goal of changing nothing, of remaining in the safe and comfortable status quo, it’s unlikely to work in the long term, because life *will* throw change at us. It really is a case of when, not if.
That’s introduced the 2 points I want to make with this article, so let’s look more into what practical steps you can take to incorporate them into your goal setting…
Armed with the knowledge that change is essential in the achievement of goals, if we are afraid of change at the outset, it’s important how we phrase that change in our plan.
In the goal setting stage, when you lay out the steps you will take to get you from where you are now to where you want to be, most if not all of those steps will bring change. Although some of them may be massive changes, lots of those will be a way down the road, and some of the first steps you need to take will be small ones.
Make the small ones the priority!
Don’t worry about the big ones down the road – they will come in due course, but they won’t come at all unless you make the small changes to start with. So, don’t focus on big changes, focus on the small ones, as this will massively reduce the fear factor which stops so many people dead in their tracks.
In your written plan of action, look at the first step, and then break that step down as far as you can, into as many smaller steps as you can. Each time you do this you are reducing the size of the change you need to accept.
Accept the inevitability of change
Change happens to us whether we want it to or not. The physical ageing of our bodies is a good example of this, but other examples will come as a complete surprise.
By definition, those surprise changes cannot be planned for in advance, but you can develop your way of reacting to change, and a good exercise for this is to look to your past.
In the majority of cases, things we feared never ended up being as bad as we thought they would, and reminding ourselves of this is very helpful in developing an acceptance of change.
Take your pen and paper, and write down 3 examples of your past experiences which were not as bad as you had thought they would be. Three examples, and they must be from your own experience.
Writing them down will help to drive them home as memories you can draw on for support. It won’t be hard to think of 3 examples, and in fact once you start you will probably end up with a whole list.
Combine two steps for maximum results
So to sum up, remind yourself with your own experiences that change is rarely as bad as it may appear beforehand. Although it would be naïve to suggest that all change is nice, it certainly is true that most of the time change is not awful – a big difference.
You can combine this with focusing on small changes in your goal setting plan. If you use both these exercises, you move from someone who reacts to inevitable changes that life brings, to someone can ride those changes.
There is more though – you will also move to someone who takes control of change by making them yourself, steering them to your own purpose, and that’s a powerful foundation to drive some serious goal achievement!
So although it might be nice to think we don’t need to include change in our goal setting, that is a limiting mindset, and it must be accepted that change is a key element to the whole process.
Gordon Bryan is a UK writer about goal setting who has followed a powerful formula for over 25 years. He is passionate about sharing it with others, and reveals it in his free 8 Step Goal Achievement Formula.
I feel that these days anyone can learn how to set goals. There are countless books, and even more articles on the web, teaching people how to set goals, and pretty much any kind of goal. Whether it is a personal goal or a team goal, a health goal or a personal development goal, an effective goal or an attainable goal. If you’ve read up on, or just know about setting goals, then you probably noticed my last thought ended with two aspects that every goal should incorporate. But setting goals is a whole other topic. And I do not want to talk about that. I want to talk about actually achieving the goals you set!
Sure, setting effective goals is important to achieving them, but there is more to achieving goals than just setting great goals. Think about it, if all it took was setting the ?perfect goal? to achieve your goal, everyone would be exactly who they want to be and have exactly what they want. Unfortunately, it takes more than just setting that goal to achieve it, it takes work. Hard work. And that hard work is exactly what is behind the scenes of achieving goals. So let’s talk about it.
Achieving goals takes hard work in the four core aspects of life: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Let’s discuss the first two individually:
This is where effective goal setting comes in. If you set a goal you do not believe in, or do not feel you can achieve, or do not really believe in, then your not going to achieve it. But that isn?t all. Even if a goal seems achievable when you set it, over time it may seem to be unreachable. Personally, I’ve been trying for two years to lose all of the sixty pounds I put on over 2007 and 2008. I started 2009 at 240 pounds, peaking at the end of 2008 at 245 pounds.
Over the last two years, I’ve slowly and naturally taken that weight off through changing my diet, exercising regularly, and just doing a better job all around in take care of myself. I just got back to 180 pounds this week. I was stuck at 185 pounds for months, and was about to give up on those last five pounds. Mentally I was worn down, and lost hope. Then I took some time, thought things through, and mentally recovered and then hit it hard. Staying mentally strong is just as hard as anything else, but its crucial to success.
It does not matter if your goal is a physical goal, like losing weight, or getting in better shape, or if it is a goal to get a promotion at work; if it?s a goal, the state of your physical being is crucial. Take the example of getting a promotion at work. If you are not taking care of your self physically, you are going to be more prone to illness, and having to take a lot of time off work as ‘sick’ days is not appealing to upper management. Or what if it’s not even that, but rather you simply just do not fit the physical standard needed to perform your daily tasks, or the daily tasks of the promotion you desire.
Ultimately, taking care of your self physically is crucial. A healthy, strong you is much more desirable than a sick, weak you. My recommendations for always being capable of the hard work demanded physically, and the three simple principles I strive to live by everyday are as follows. First, eat healthy. If you want to be healthy and alive, eat food that is alive. Eat fresh fruits and veggies, along with food you prepare, and avoid the processed junk.
Second, exercise. Just get active in some way. Start small, and build up. Third, unleash the full potential of your body. I personally see a chiropractor. Others prefer acupuncture or massages. I personally feel the difference, and see the difference when I am well adjusted. Some call me extreme, but I have a Folsom chiropractor for when I’m home, and a Honolulu chiropractor for when I’m in Hawaii. They are that important to me, that I always have one I can go to.
Ryan Chaffin is an Internet fanatic and loves anything technology, Internet, and social media related along with sports and health & wellness. Ryan believes in achieving your fullest potential. You can also find Ryan on Twitter (@ryanchaffin).
After the Christmas season of overeating, socialising and general festivities, most of us come to January with a sense of resolve that we are going to make some changes to improve either ourselves, or our environment. By January the First, millions of resolute people make a promise that they will achieve something different, whether it is stopping smoking, going to the gym and getting in shape, quitting a bad habit or taking up a new hobby.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions goes right back to the Babylonians four thousand years ago, who used to make pledges involving farming and agriculture to mark the beginning of the year. Since then, the tradition was continued by the Romans, the Chinese (who pledged to clean their house from top to bottom) and now, the modern world. There is something truly satisfying about making a promise to do something differently, and subsequently sticking to it, and there is no better time to do it than at the beginning of a new year, with all the promise and willpower which that can bring.
All that said, many of us find ourselves making a pledge to achieve something, only to find that by the end of January or will to achieve has dwindled somewhat, and we are left feeling disappointed in ourselves. The following tips are designed to support you in making a great New Year’s resolution, and stick to it…
Choose something realistic
The most fruitful resolutions involve something which is entirely feasible to achieve. Rather than telling yourself to lose half your body weight by the end of the month, cut out drinking for the rest of your life or become the next leader in world peace, choose something which is within reach. It could be that you decide to cut down on your alcohol intake, go to the gym twice a week or pledge to take up a new hobby. Whatever you pick, make sure it is tangible and can actually be realized, so you don’t lose heart at the first hurdle.
Set yourself an end date
Nobody responds well to the thought of endlessly undertaking an activity which doesn’t inspire them. Deciding that you are going to stop smoking, forever, is not as effective as telling yourself that you have a target to quit and not smoke for the next two months. The chances are, as you progress, you’ll choose to extend your deadlines anyway. The beauty of this is that you break your resolution up in to a manageable size, making it easier to realise.
Tell everyone about your plan
Nothing spurs willpower on more than being encouraged and supported. Tell people around you what you are planning, to give yourself a little more incentive to achieve, and line up people to call when your resolve is wavering.
Pick a great reward
The best possible way of achieving something is to give yourself a nice reward at the end of it. Whether you put some money aside from quitting a habit to buy yourself something you’ve always wanted, or simply promise yourself a gift at the end of your resolution, make sure you have a great incentive to achieve, and make the reward as much a part of the overall resolution as the job itself.
By Bev James – managing director of The Coaching Academy, who are specialists in business and life coaching training