5 steps to setting successful goals
Ever decided to do something with enthusiasm, and then kind of just let it…fizz out?
That’s because there’s a few key tricks to setting goals that are successful! We are constantly engaged by multiple stimuli everyday, things demanding our attention and energy that might not even be our priority.
We have more ambition and life choice than ever, but too much choice makes it hard to stay focused in the long run.
Ive found that in order to see something through, you need to keep these crucial things in mind, both before setting the goal and during completion.
1. SET THE DATE! (as Charlotte exclaims)
Whilst it’s never good to push things like meaningful relationships or artistic creativity – it is actually good to push yourself when it comes to goals.
Setting a date gives you that nudge you need to stick to something, and holds you accountable for the result. If we never gave ourselves deadlines, nothing would get accomplished. There’s a time and a place for meandering (like Sunday mornings), but when it comes to weight loss, learning that second language, or climbing that huge mountain – do yourself a favour and just choose a realistic yet challenging date.
2. Write it down…
Or as one of my clients prefers, draw it! It doesn’t matter what form this takes – paper, computer, whiteboard, just get it in writing to send that all important message to your frontal lobes confirming we are really doing this thing.
Better yet, invoke some emotions whilst doing it. Play a song that really revs you up! Or give yourself a little pep talk, read a poem about life, or watch a movie that just makes you want to jump up in the air with joy.
Connecting emotion to something is like sticking an anchor on it; it’s much harder to forget.
3. Set up your support
It’s difficult going through life changes, and the thing is – you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Find the best people to cheer you on, and ask them seriously if they’ll give you a hand. Even if they just check in with you regularly, or spend time doing the activity you’re trying to get better at, it can be a big help knowing there’s someone there to encourage you.
But choose carefully; you want people who will be understanding of the process, not drag you down or judge you. It’s best if they have similar interests, or better yet – if they are already really good at/successful at what you’re trying to achieve! Model their skills, take on their beliefs. (This a huge premise of Neuro-linguistic Programming).
4. Make sure it’s YOUR goal
Constantly trying to please others generally doesn’t end well. You could start to resent them, lose sight of your own needs and desires, or feel overwhelmed with disappointment if it doesn’t seem like they’re impressed.
You should be focused on goals that you are proud of, that inspire you and are completely within your control. Plus, it’s so much more rewarding when you’re impressed with your own efforts!
5. Celebrate your success
Always reward behavior that you want to encourage, to set up subconscious reminders that ‘doing this thing is good’. Small rewards, patting yourself on the back, or just being super happy with the result (note: emotional anchor), will give you all the more reason to keep improving or achieving other things.
But goal getters be warned – it’s addictive! Once you feel the pure joy of ticking off a few things you’ve always wanted to do, you’ll be thirsty for more…
The more I achieve, the more ambitious I get. But as long as my goals contribute to being a more positive, content member of society – then I don’t see this being a problem at all!
Good luck with your goal setting, and if you get stuck, that’s what I’m here for.