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.