So, how did those 2013 goals go last year? For those who are less than satisfied with their results, don't feel bad. You probably didn't set yourself up for success. Let's change that this year and go beyond the usual SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) goal setting techniques. They are good, but they aren't enough! They don't prepare you to win the battle with your brain.
Your brain is made up of a rational side and an emotional side. Our rational side sets the SMART goals, lays out a plan, etc. It will forego instant gratification for a long term result. Our emotional side though is strong, irrational and wants immediate gratification. Sound familiar? Your emotional side wills you to stuff your face because you're sad or skip a workout because you're tired.
So how do we win the rational side of our brain over? We need to tie in to the emotional side of any goal. And we need to feed it some instant gratification. The emotional side of your brain is not satisfied when it doesn't see instantaneous weight loss when you diet, so we need to find a way to make it feel successful. Our goal is to turn our goals in to new habits so your two brains can stop battling with each other. So, let's try on some new strategies.
1) Find someone who has accomplished your goal so you can set your sight on what it would look like and feel like. Can they coach you on how they do it? Find the feeling! If you have wanted this goal before, you better really tap in to the feeling you would get if you accomplished this goal. If it doesn't really matter, it won't happen.
2) Make a plan. If your goal is to read 12 books this year, create a plan to read 1 book per month. If your goal is more complicated, like weight loss, then I would suggest picking one thing at a time to change. For instance, month 1 you might focus on adding more vegetables to your diet. Make that a habit. Then month 2, focus on eliminating processed sugar. Make it a habit and so on. The challenge is when you try to do all of it at once. Choose your one thing and make it non-negotiable.
3) Set your goal. Go back to SMART goal setting here. Be very specific. I would never let any client set a goal to lose weight. How much? By when? WHY? Set mini goals that get you to your goal.
4) Find the reward. Is there some reward you can give yourself to keep you on track? If your goal takes some time to feel results, then find a way to keep yourself motivated by the long term reward or give yourself small rewards just for continuing with the behavior.
I am big on goal setting. I set them every year, every month and every day for that matter. For your 2014 goals, set some quiet time aside and figure out what do you actually want? You have the rest of your life to accomplish many things. Be very clear on what you would be proud of one year from right now.
Use our goal setting template. Start with asking yourself what you want to HAVE in 2014? What do you want to DO? Who do you want to BE? When you have the answers to these questions, it can help shape your goals. In this goal setting template, you are set up for personal and work goals. You can divide it up however works for you. Finally, keep your goals in front of you. Don't just tuck them away until next year. In fact, shrink it down, laminate it and keep it in your pocket. If it's that important, you want your goals in front of you all the time!
"Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible in to the visible." Anonymous
Please share what you will do to plan for an amazing 2014!