How many times have you tried setting a goal and in spite of your best efforts, not gotten there? I think we all have. The frustration and self-deprecation that follow can make being at the bottom of an avalanche seem like a good day. When you have this experience often enough, you eventually stop setting goals and become more complacent about playing average. A truth that feels too much to admit. Let’s start by defining a goal. It is a finite, fixed measure of success you find meaningful that will be true at some point in the future (tomorrow, next month, next year, etc). A goal is not a dream or a wish, it is a vehicle to the dream. When you stack many goals together, they become the row of dominos that lead to your dream come true at the end. There are two types of goals – avoidance and approach. Unfortunately, most people set avoidance goals, and then can’t figure out why they fail to achieve them. Avoidance goals are focused on moving away from something or stopping a result you don’t want. The problem is the key functioning of your behavioral brain which needs to first process doing an action, before it can then decide not to do it. So you are actually focussed on getting more of what you don’t want! Example: “I want to stop being late for work and having my boss hate me.”
- negatively framed in opposing language
- often fear based, derogatory and demotivating
- perhaps more important to others than they are for you
Approach goals are about moving toward something you do want, and are far more effective. This method can be scary because you need to clarify, articulate, and own what you want. No more pretending you are settling for average, and let some light into that box of dreams you may have packed away in the attic of your heart. Example: “I will set my alarm fifteen minutes earlier each morning to be on time and get a raise by the end of the year.”
- positively framed in affirmative language
- evokes excitement and motivation
- has a sense of meaningful ownership around it
There is one last caveat you must understand before setting off to wild success. Three little t
raps quietly waiting to highjack you right out of the gate. Knowing them is the difference between ‘oh, soooo close’ and and a full happy dance, fist pump, ‘YES! I DID IT!’
- Is your goal too big, grandiose or unrealistic? You might need to break it down into smaller parts.
- Is your goal poorly defined? Success goals are crystal clear and finite, with nothing left for interpretation.
- Is you goal too far away? Break your time frame down to something that is closer and motivates immediate action.
You can accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small, by knowing how to set goals that work. By following this simple outline you will be well on your way to living your awesome (and you are worth it)! Are you serious about wanting better results with my help in a committed group of other people doing the same?
Check out my results group Exponentially You
Here are a few related blogs on goal setting
Achieving Goals with Penalties or Positivity
Change the Goal or Change the Strategy
The Execution Epidemic.
Leave me a comment below and share your experience with goal setting.