“New Year, New You” – Chances are pretty high that you’re starting this year with the best of intentions to make it “your best year yet”. An initiation process, that it’s probably safe to say, we’ve all catered for at least once or twice in our lifetime. The one great thing about this process, is your intent. However, the one hard thing about this process, one that we’ve all most definitely faced when we initiate goals, is that at one point or another, the likelihood and chances of failure, is reasonably high.
Motivation is particularly high at the start of any given year. You want to do better, be better, conclude projects, achieve success. Not to worry, we’ll give you an insight into the reasons why we fail, an understanding of the goal setting process and the “know how’s” to goal setting that enable your pursuits towards sustainable success.
Significant amounts of research have been carried out to study the processes that lie at the very heart of goal setting and creating worthwhile, achievable, “good habits”. Locke & Lathem (2002; 2013) examined the way in which people set goals, their type of goals and such subsequent outcomes as a result of such goal setting processes.
In goal setting, individuals tend to broadly focus on quick fixes and quick changes, ones that ultimately require longevity, particularly in relation to systemic behavioural changes. Just a note: there are no quick fixes. Anything worth achieving or getting, takes time, energy & struggle, but don’t let that limit you, just approach it the right way.
Psychology research has identified that the very minute an individual imposes a limitation on a particular behaviour, action or activity (i.e. reframe from unhealthy eating habits at night), the brain has an association to orientate and fixate on that particular limitation, fuelling our desire to “break good habits” and explore such “forbidden fruits” that negatively affect our goals and the goal setting process.
Not to worry though, we’ve got the answer and you’ve actually got the key. The brain, complex in nature, is susceptible to the fine arts of persuasion. What this means, is that we have the ability to feed our brain alternatives, be it negative or positive, drawing attention away from its ability to fixate on such limitations that we impose.
“It begins from the inside out”
– Daniel Pink
On our pursuits to succeed, give the brain another, more alternative, more tempting idea to fixate on, setting up cues throughout your day, to almost alarm or trigger your attention and thus, mind, to allude or pull yourself away from the temptation of the very thing that impacts your goals and success. There is significant power in persuasion – persuade, evade and you’ll be made!
Big picture, small goals.
Research has shown that “subordinate goals” (goals that are singular, lower/lesser in magnitude – smaller goals) have a significantly higher success rates, as they are specific in nature and action, allowing individuals to achieve behavioural changes in limited periods of time. In short, this means that short specific goals are more attainable. However, while this research emphasises the utilisation of small goal, it’s influentially important that you don’t forget about the “bigger picture’ – your ultimate goal.
Goal setting research identifies that in order for an individual to be successful in achieving subordinate goals, one too must place emphasis on their vision of a larger success, identifying their “ultimate dream goal”.
“Think big, dream big, believe big and the results will be big”
– Timothy Kasbe
The “How To” to Goal Setting
Define Your Objectives – Vision Driven, Values Based.
- This stage forms the foundations of your goal/s. Build them strong so they can withstand or hold any of the pressures applied upon them – ensure they are driven by personal meaning (i.e. your vision or your dream); hold significant emotional value to you.
- Find your “Why” – Ask yourself the hard questions:
- Why do you want to set a goal/goals?
- Why do you change?
- Why is this goal important to me?
- What is it about my current situation that pulls me towards a desire or will to achieve such a goal?
- Why put yourself through this hard work?
- What do you want the result to be at the end of your journey?
Make a plan.
- This stage is evolutionary in supporting you on your road to success. This is the “road map” or guide high achievers utilise to instills significant measures of success.
- Jot them down – grab a piece of paper (research has shown that individuals are visual beings, and thus have higher response rates when practices of structure/routine/reminders or visual cues are elicited).
- Set “SMARTER” goals – identify Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-limited, Exciting and Rewarding goals.
- Set small term goals, medium term goals & long term goals – record the completion of each stage (review what went well & what could have been done better)
- Share your goals – enlist the help of others (research shows individuals who were supported in the goal setting/achieving process had higher rates of success and completion versus individuals whom acted alone)
- DISPLAY – Put your goals in a place where you see them everyday. These will be used as your daily reminder or visual cue (remember the brain’s fixation – tempt its attention towards the positive)
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare”
– James Ker
Break down The Plan Into Steps – Create Your Fuel For Success
- Begin the process of breaking down your plan into steps. Steps generate movement and movement brings you closer to your goals. When the step process is identified, you begin to feed you and your goal fuel for developmental change and success.
- When you start achieving the smaller goals, you will gain more motivation to keep going, and achieve the bigger goals.
- Set a timeframe for each step (i.e. what time & date do you want to achieve your first step or milestone?).
So, Take Action!
Do exactly what it says in on the tin. Back your plan with action, as action brings your closer to your reality. Get after it!
Be consistent, there will be times when you don’t want to do what you should. You must be gritty and still do what’s required. Before you know it your actions will become habits and the wheels are in motion.
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true”
– Greg Reid
Goal Setting Process:
Dream -> Record/Write down -> Goal -> Broken down -> Plan -> Take Action -> Make dreams a reality!