With the start of the new year, many of us are looking to change our habits that keep us stuck in loops of disempowerment and negativity.
As the champagne is poured and the countdown ensues, we find ourselves thinking “this will be my year. This is it. Im finally going to make these changes and transform my life!”
Or you may be someone that finds yourself thinking, “why even bother? I have tried to make changes so many times before and they no longer stick. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong, I must be lazy and incapable.” We see others changing their lives for the better. Seemingly without struggle and much effort. What is their secret to success?
Well I am going to fill you in. Sit back or go get your resolutions from the trash can because I am going to tell you how to set goals and achieve them!
I believe that EVERYONE has the capability to set goals and achieve them, it is simply a matter of starting small, your why, having passion, and being realistic.
When you start with a goal or a dream, usually you are thinking BIG. I am going to use the example of a half-marathon because to me it seems big and I have actually ran them before.
Lets say you have a goal of running a half marathon that is occurring in your town in less than a week. You are not a runner and have never run in your life (this is an extreme example used for effect). Race day comes and you go out there, hit the pavement and give it your all, only to drop out of the race a few miles in.
You’re laying on the side of the road, panting and sweating as everyone else runs by you, seemingly with ease. You think to yourself, “I’ve failed again! This is why I never try anything. I’m such a loser. Everyone else can do it but me.”
You play this sad song in your head over and over again. You feel angry, disappointed, and shameful. You don’t want to feel this pain again so you decide never to set any more goals for yourself. It is more comfortable to feel safe yet stuck.
This is just an example (an extreme one at that) that happens to all of us at some point. We have BIG changes that we want to make RIGHT now and we think that they will magically happen over-night.
We bite off more than we can chew and then we find ourselves quitting before we even started. This leads to pain and frustration and it tells our sub-conscious mind that setting goals and chasing our dreams leads to painful experiences. So we don’t do them. We throw our resolutions in the trash!
One way that we can keep ourselves from flying too close to the sun and burning out is to start small. Start even smaller than you think. (Trust me on this). We are re-wiring your mind and beliefs about goals here.
Lets go back to the example of the runner. You want to run a half-marathon that is occurring in your town in six months (notice the different time-frame here. This is way more realistic than a week). This is your BIG goal or rather the over-arching umbrella that covers all of your smaller goals.
In order to achieve this BIG goal we must go back all the way to the present moment. The NOW. All we have is now so you must commit to your goal and taking action NOW.
Because you are not a runner and have never run in your life, you have to start very small and work your way up. For three days a week you commit to running for one minute. Yes I am aware that this seems crazy. But here me out.
You run for one minute for three days a week and now guess what? You are a runner!! You are proving to yourself that you can do this and that you are committed to this goal of running. Slowly you start to run even more, maybe its for five minutes for four days a week. Then you build up even more to six days a week for twenty minutes a day.
Each time you lace up your shoes and get out there and run, you are saying “yes” to yourself and your goals. You are giving yourself evidence that you are capable of achieving this goal and that you can run this half-marathon. The more success you have with this goal, the more you will associate goal-setting with pleasure instead of pain.
So eventually, when you cross that finish-line six-months down the road, you think to yourself “wow! I did it!” You feel admiration for yourself. You feel GOOD. This is what makes you want to set even more goals for yourself.
Another important factor in goal-setting is your WHY. Why are your doing this? Why are you setting this goal? What will you get out of it? What will your life be like when you accomplish this goal? This is your why. What feeling is it giving you? Most of us do not set goals and buy things because of the (tangible) thing itself but for the (intangible) feeling that it gives us.
This will help you in staying motivated. Knowing your why is so important as well as if it is coming from YOU. If your supposed goal is coming from an outside source (such as a parent or a boss) than you can almost bet that this goal will lead to failure. You will have little to no motivation by the end of the goal because it isn’t really aligned with what you truly want. You will either abandon the goal all together or keep going but associate goals with pain which will make you not want to set them in the future.
Getting clear on what you want and when you want it by is also another important variant in goal-setting. You really need to be specific. For example, “I want to lose weight by August” isn’t specific enough. How will you know when you lose the weight? Whenever we use the term “lose” as well, our mind associates this with scarcity. We don’t really want to “lose” anything. We always want to be gaining, cultivating, bringing in, etc.
A better example would be, “I will get to my ideal of weight of 145lbs. by March 2,2022 because I appreciate and love my body and treat her with respect.”
Notice how much more specific this goal is and how it is associated with more positive wording than negative wording.
The more specific our goals are the more “tangible” the goal is in our mind. The more tangible the goal is, the more we can picture ourselves grabbing it, crossing it, and even tasting it! If we are not specific enough, our minds have nothing to hold onto and nothing to work towards. We are not even sure where we are going and how we will know when we get there.
I firmly believe that anyone can achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality. It all starts with your WHY, “why do you want to achieve this goal?” Then implementing the steps that it will take you to get there (aka the small things lead to the big changes). Make sure that your goal is specific and is worded in a way where you are gaining something rather than losing it.
The more we train our minds to associate goal-setting with pleasure rather than pain, the more we will want to keep implementing them into our lives. The will lead us to believing that we are capable, successful, and we have what it takes to make our dreams come true!