Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Proper goal setting in 3 steps

You may have noticed there is a plethora of self-help advice out there (AKA "personal development"). A lot of gurus have stepped up to the lime light in the last decade or so... Or maybe they tend to be noticed by a particular type of people (people like me). This post is a condensed version of what I have gleaned from them so far.

Does Zig Ziglar ring any bell to you? Les Brown? Tony Robbins? If so, well you may well be like me. If not, bear with me, we're not that different.

I won't write an expose here on the reasons why I find the self-help/personal development movement particularly of interest. Maybe I will in a later blog. Let's just say for the time being that people like me are always in search of inspiration... And we see it in unlikely places.

Anyway, I'm quite sure that everyone find themselves in that situation from time to time. Lacking motivation. Not feeling like we're moving forward and yet not doing much about it. Or maybe just going through the motions, doing things mechanically, with no fire, no energy....and little result.

Do you relate?

Well, there is something that the "gurus" say that ring true and that I have experienced myself. A lot of us do not set goals properly. Do you remember that job interview question "where do you see yourself in 5 years"? I used to dread those because I had to make something up... I literally never set goals that far ahead. I was young then. I feared setting goals anyway because I almost invariably ended up somewhere else in the end.
What was wrong? Not that I didn't grasp the theory of a SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive). I did. And I'm sure most of the people who have broken their new year resolutions this year had SMART goals. But this is what I found is missing from SMART goals:

  1. The goal has to be aligned with one's core values. It's got to feel right. In my case, I'm a tough cookie when it comes to compromising my core values.No point in me setting a smart goal to be a money magnet when money itself doesn't do anything for me for example... 
  2. Emotions have to be involved when designing and recalling the goal. Reflecting on the benefits of reaching the goal to reinforce the desire to do the work is paramount. Emotion = energy in motion. The energy to get there is within you if you generate it.
  3. The goal has to be verbalized/visualized constantly. Otherwise it will get buried in the clutter of modern living. Motivation has to be fuelled regurlarly  otherwise it dwindles. "Fix your eyes on the prize". I find if the goal is constantly in the forefront of my mind, worded  in a positive way, it's as good as done.

Those 3 missing ingredients mixed with a SMART goal transform me into a powerhouse. I remember this period when I was under a lot of pressure at work to hit targets, train people and muddle through the fog of office negativity at the same time. I achieved it all because every morning I was visualising and preparing myself mentally to kick butt that day. I was on a mission.

Another time, I was in quite a bad period of my life when I read a book by John Assaraf where he talked about how the brain can rewire itself in a matter of days. So if you were a negative person and set about becoming more positive, you can do that in less than a month. I kid you not, the month after, I could not recognize myself. My positivity rubbed off on a few of my friends too.

Now, John isn't a scientist so you can take what he says with a pinch of salt but noone can deny the extraordinary power of the brain to repair itself. It's made of cells like the rest of our body. Cells renew themselves, unless very very very severely damaged. Even when some are, the others manage to compensate  for it.
Also, what we choose to think about make us who we are. If we don't like who we are at the moment, we haven't got to lump it.
The brain's plasticity means nothing is set in stone. We can choose to think about who we want to be. Regularly, vividly. Even if the negative voice in our mind says it won't work, it will soon get in line if we keep ignoring it. Think of it like good advertising: bombarding your conscious and subconscious with the things YOU decide are important, for a change.

What other choice is there? Listening to someone else's propaganda...or even worse, listen to that inner voice saying that there's no changing you, you are what you are, take it or leave it.

The thing is, that voice has no sense. It's only trying to preserve the status quo. Is your status quo worth preserving? Or is it in need of a good kicking?

Food for thought...

P.S: I'm an INFP. You can read about what that means on Wikipedia or on this site , which I think is more straight forward. Have you taken the test? Do you know what personality type you are?
P.P.S: If you would like me to call you to account or just give you an extra push daily for a month, check out my online course 
P.P.P.S: I'm launching a new blog, check it out!

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About the Author :

"Citizen of the world, believer, workafrolic, multipassionate vagabond out to turn his talents into business ventures. Will he do it? Stay tuned."

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