Written by Sarah Godfrey. Personal and professional development coach & Psychologist
Director Moving Mindsets & author of Life Works When self help books
That time of year again! We set about making goals that we were unable to complete during the year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. Why is it so hard to achieve a goal we really want? What makes us go from high motivation to loss of absolute interest and then a sense of failure, (and if you are the type who insists on making a public announcement of your new year goal, some level of embarrassment when people realise you have not been able to stick to the plan).
It takes more than a alcohol infused inspirational dream. More than just desire and motivation. Goal achievement is a little more complicated than most of us realise. Otherwise we would all achieve our dreams very easily. Our goals are what keep us going and help define our purpose in life. Goals, when properly determined, are nothing else but what we are meant to do. It is where we hope to see ourselves years from now – the ultimate destination of hopes and dreams.
Over the next few weeks I will offer some tips to help you through the goal setting and achieving process. From identifying what your goal is to celebrating reaching it.
So let’s get started.
Do you know what your goals are?
Have you tried to find out and set them for yourself? If yes, what techniques have you used?
First and foremost is know what your goal is. Vague goals like, “I want to lose weight,” are too broad and full of escape routes out of success. In fact, they are a dream, a concept or a desire but not a goal. I want to lose 5 kilos in 5 months is a goal. Be specific. But before we can look at goal achievement, we need to know the goal really is and why. Here are some ways to begin to identify your own personal goal before you set out to make it happen.
VALUES- Connect the dots.
Know Your values: The important beliefs in your life.
Think about what is important to you.
What do you value?
What are your beliefs about the things that are important to you?
Make a list of the 10 most important values you can think of and then rank them from highest to lowest. Think about things like Love, Success, Friends, Power, knowledge, Freedom, Popularity, Responsibility, Honesty, Humour, Loyalty, Achievement, Beauty, Spirituality, Wisdom, Fairness, Creativity, Wealth, etc
Done? So now where does your goal fit in with your value set? Which value is it aligned with? If a goal can be identified with a value you hold, it is easier to connect with the aim of reaching the goal than if you have little idea about why you want to achieve the goal in the first place.
VISION BOARDS OR MIND MAPS
Sift Through Your Subconscious. Okay, sounds a little new age and unorthodox but to grasp what you subconsciously want, you can try this. Take a piece of paper and a pen, and write down about your vision of an ideal life. Jot down the important points and then study them carefully. The parts which you haven’t yet achieved are the ones that you desire, and these should form the foundation of the goal identification process. What you have left is a vision of what goals could bring you happiness. Get creative and make a visual representation of your goal.
A vision board or Mind Map is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. A vision board is any sort of board (be it in your kitchen at work or on your phone using a mind map app), on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Try to think of times when you were at your happiest. What images come to mind that you can associate with the goal to make the process easier and more positive.
QUESTIONS- Four Future Facts you need to ask.
Ask the questions you need. A goal is a future task that we activate in the present, so acknowledge that you are working towards a goal somewhere down the track. It is not going to be instantaneous and, yes all you iGen, YGen and zGen people that means goals are not based on instant gratification.
Work For It. Nothing was ever gained without hard work. If you want something great, you need to toil for it and with goals, the best way to know that it’s the right fit, is to take chances. Stop worrying about consequences and take that leap! It is only when you have attempted several things will you develop an understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Don’t be afraid of recognising you may lack insight. One of the biggest reasons why goals don’t work out for some people is the reason they were set in the first palce. It is always about the end result and the ultimate ‘prize’ and never about the path to it. Yes, goals, by definition, are the result that you would expect from your efforts but if you don’t consider the journey that leads to it, you will never make it. For example, say you want to earn a fortune. It won’t happen by magic and there is a lot of hard work involved. Being lazy or unwilling to put in the hard yards, will not cut it and the goal will remain forever elusive. If you feel you don’t have enough real insight into your values, your goals and your endurance for reaching goals, seek advice and support rather than putting goals in the too hard basket.
Make sure when you are identifying your goal, you ask yourself the four future facts to make the future happen.
- Where do you want to be in 1 year from now?
- What do you need to do to make it happen?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years from now?
- What do you need to do to make it happen?
Don’t forget that all goals Are Subject to Change – It is not set in stone that when you have identified something as your goal, you’d have to stick to it despite evidence to the contrary. Don’t be stubborn about something and instead, always look for better avenues to your goals. Re-think everything and identify new goals flexibly. If you set a goal to lose weight in 5 months and don’t, well, redefine your goal with new expectations and knowledge about how hard or how long the goal is really going to take. Goals are things we have to manage around our lives, loves and work so cut yourself a little bit of slack if time is against you. Don’t see it as a sign your goal is unachievable.
Identify you can have more than one goal in life. There is no limitation when it comes to your goals. Yes, there are things to which you may be suited to more than others, but versatility is always a gift. Rather than identifying and sticking to one thing when you are multi-talented and can have many well-formed goals. Don’t focus on ‘One’ but rather open your eyes to the ‘Many.’
Goals are all about you and your self-expectations. As such, it is less about what’s going on around you and more about what’s happening in you. Your goals are an extension of your abilities and they should never be anything less. Smaller goals will be a wasted potential and excessive projections will result in failure. Always go for what you are confident about and what makes you happy as with positive effort and thinking comes the strength of accomplishment.