So this guy gets into a taxi. The driver says, “where to?”
The guy replies, “I have this rough idea where I want to go, not exactly sure where it is or how to get there… but it’s definitely not Old Street or Been-There Lane. And can you step on it please, I’m expecting to be there yesterday!”
Where does the driver take him? Round and round in circles perhaps… but probably nowhere.
Last week I highlighted how using negatives and focusing on what we don’t want often just brings us more of that very thing. The other downfall of resolutions like: ‘avoid chocolate’, ‘be less stressed at work’ or even ‘find a new job’ is that the objectives are too nebulous and vague. Basically we’re giving our subconscious directions like that guy in the cab… it’s really no wonder if we’re not getting anywhere.
So how do we get our drivers to take us where we want to go?
We give good directions – we set good goals! There are some rules for good goal setting – rules that, when followed, will increase the likelihood that you will see your goals through to completion because your subconscious driver will be working hard to get you there.
Firstly, you have to know where it is you’re going. Last week I invited you to start thinking about what it is you really want. What do you want to be doing, having or being? With this in mind, create for yourself an End Goal. This is your ultimate aim; what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by, whether that’s sometime this year or in 5 years time, or by the time you’re 94 years old… whatever fits. This goal is how everything will be when this area of your life just as you’d like it.
Next make sure that your goals are SMART and PURE – this is like giving your cab driver the GPS coordinates of where you’re headed.
Specific – Make your goal as detailed as you can. Envisage exactly how it will be when this goal is accomplished. E.g. if it’s a goal about weight, how much to you want to weigh? What clothing size will you be wearing when you’ve achieved it? If you have a goal around saving money - how much money exactly?
Measurable – How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal – what is the measure of your success? What will you be doing, seeing, hearing, feeling when you’ve accomplished it?
Actions – Break your goal down into action steps that you can start to take almost immediately (we’ll be covering this next week!) Tony Robbins says never leave the site of setting a goal before you’ve taken at least one action (no matter how small) towards achieving it.
Realistic – this doesn’t mean easy. In fact you need your goals to be challenging to inspire you to do them. Realistic means that you are giving yourself enough time and breaking the goal down into manageable enough chunks so that you will be able to follow through in the time you’ve set yourself.
Timed – when you set a deadline for your goals, you are grounding them in your reality. Put them in your calendar/diary! That will make it real for you. By June 30th, 2012 I will be…, By Friday next week I will be…
Positive - when your goal is stated in the positive, it means the subconscious is focusing on what you WANT, not what you don’t. Instead of quitting, stopping, losing, not… etc. spin it around. If you’re having trouble seeing it, ask yourself: what is the opposite of the undesirable thing I have now? E.g. to be healthy/fit/saving money etc.
Up to you – we can only set goals for ourselves and that are within our control. There is no point setting a goal that your husband will pick up his dirty socks, or that you will win the lottery (not suggesting the odds are as likely) but neither of these things are within your control. You can only control and take responsibility for your own actions, through which you will achieve what your outcome.
Recorded – VERY important. You must write your goals down! Brian Tracey says the mere act of writing down your goals, taking that one small action to get them out of your head and root them in the physical world will get the ball rolling towards achieving them. This is the first place to start. Write down all your goals. Then look at them, often! Keep reminding your subconscious of what you want it to achieve for you.
Ethical & Ecological – not just ‘earth friendly’ (hopefully this too). We each operate within a system (family/friends/colleagues etc) - consider the impact of your goal on the people around you and keep in mind that your goal is part of you as a complete person. How will attaining this goal affect the rest of your life?
When your goals are SMART and PURE, your driver will know exactly where you’re headed, by when and even what it’s going to look like when you get there. You are well on your way… Next we just need to make sure he has a map!!
It’s not realistic to think you can just jump there, there’s a route to take. Those are the actions, step by step towards where you want to be. Next week we’ll be looking at that map, how to get you from here to there, whilst enjoying the ride along the way!
Read this article in The Royal Gazette
New Year’s Resolutions – remember them?
It wasn’t that long ago that we took those noble vows to: lose weight, quit smoking, drinking, avoid spending… the list goes on, and do it all as of January 1st.
How’s that working out for you?
Same old story? When the hangover eventually cleared, maybe you gave it a go: eating only carrot sticks for lunch, going cold turkey on the nicotine etc. Perhaps you managed a few days of being ‘the new you’. But a couple months later are you still doing it?
What happened? On the scale after a week of wretched carrots sticks and you GAINED a pound!? A little thing can throw us off course and we throw in the towel.
By now for most of us, New Years and all its promises are long forgotten, if we bothered to make any in the first place: “I haven’t got the willpower - maybe next year.”
Why do so many of our good intentions, our ‘resolutions’, end up in disappointment and giving up? What if I said it has nothing to do with willpower?
Instead it’s the way we make our resolutions that can set us up to fail. Allow me to share with you some insights into how our minds work, and you’ll see it’s no wonder we can’t keep those resolutions very long.
A few things to know about our minds:
We get what we focus on.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re aware of something new, suddenly you start seeing it everywhere? Ever broken up with someone only to find every radio station is playing sad love songs, every channel is showing a romance, there are couples kissing on every corner. Or for example, when I found out I was pregnant, suddenly there were pregnant women EVERYWHERE. Had there actually been some freak fertility boost or had my subconscious just not been paying attention before? Whether good or bad, we see what’s on our mind, usually lots of it…
That’s the thing about our subconscious… it is like our simple, faithful servant, wishing to answer our every command. The subconscious doesn’t make judgments or consider if something is helpful or unhelpful, it just provides supporting evidence of what is asked of it. So just like with break-ups and babies, whatever’s on our minds, the subconscious works hard to manifest it.
Another thing about our subconscious - it does not work in negatives…
Example: if I ask you NOT to think of a pink elephant with blue polka dots, what is the first thing you think of? You can’t help it. In order not to think of something, we must think of it first. So all of our resolutions about not smoking, not drinking, giving up cake… if we remove the negatives, what do we get? What is our brain now focusing on and our subconscious wanting to provide more of? Exactly what we don’t want! More cigarettes, booze and calories! Can you really be blamed for not avoiding those things you’re trying to give up, when that’s all you see?
What can we do instead of fighting our subconscious and wasting time and energy making resolutions that might leave us even worse off than we were before?
Make resolutions that set us up to achieve what we want!
In coaching, we call this goal-setting. Goals are a fundamental part of the coaching process. The thinking is, if we don’t know what it is we’re heading for, how will we know:
a). what direction and action to take to get us there and
b). when we’ve even arrived?
There is a ton of research showing that goal setting, when done properly, leads to higher achievement rates and greater success in both personal and professional endeavours. Top athletes, wealthy business tycoons, successful politicians have all cited goal setting as part of their success strategy. What makes their goals different to our new years resolutions that we set each year and fail to keep? I’ll bet that it doesn’t come down to willpower, or intelligence, or financial resources. It’s that these high achievers know the secret to successful goal setting. It’s also likely that they have had some coaching around it. Personal development gurus like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracey put coaching on the map twenty years ago as an invaluable tool to boost performance, create positive change and help people achieve their dreams. And that road to success for all of us starts with setting good, strong goals.
It’s never too late to start making those changes you want to see in your life, and actually stick to them! Start thinking about what you do want for the rest of this year going forwards, instead of what you don’t and let your subconscious start working for you. It’s spring time, a time for new beginnings Next week I’ll be helping you to turn your resolutions into goals and start turning intention into action. Together we can make this the New You Year you’ve always been resolving towards!
Julia is a trained Personal Development Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, writer and public speaker. Using coaching methods, tools and conversation, Julia helps her clients achieve the goals they set for themselves and transform their lives. Here she shares her own personal development journey on her life quest for authenticity, growth and having a good time!