You and I know this well too well: we have all felt this moment when enough is enough and you need to do something about an issue be it anything: your health; relationship; work; horrible bosses etc – you start quite well and big and all at once: going on a diet; exercising; cutting on drinking; going raw etc., only to find yourself that by day three you binge eat whatever your eyes and hands can catch in the fridge and kitchen cupboards.
How come this keeps happening? We are creatures of habit and some of them do not work for us!
Let’s dig into what can work!
Imagine a scenario when you want to speak to a conference in two months and you are terrified at public speaking. One thing is your fear of public speaking and something else can be the limiting belief that you unconsciously have. Something like, whatever I would say would sound stupid or I can’t make it. Or it will be a total fiasco or disaster (whatever your limiting belief is). If you have these beliefs, you will do anything in your power to sabotage yourself for these beliefs to come true. Strange, right? But this is how limiting beliefs work if you are not aware of them!
Let’s say that that is your goal: Speak and present fluently my research in two months time in front of 500 people.
Great – so you have defined your goal: It is specific; you are starting with the end in mind; time bound, big and compelling and also attainable; you have written it down so you can see it every day. Now what is left is that you set measurable milestones everyday (if only it were that easy!!) and the deeper and harder part of it, is that it needs to align with your values and beliefs.
When you are shaping a goal, you need to look into your values: what is important for me in presenting my research? What values of mine am I honoring by doing so? It can be your contribution and impact or service or community – anything: values are personal.
One other thing to look at are the beliefs you are holding for yourself as mentioned before: they can be created from anything: culture; social media, family, something somebody said at some point to you that we take as reality for us etc. If you are not achieving your goals, chances are that the beliefs you hold are creating obstacles and preventing you from achieving what you want.
It is also important to make it your own goal and nobody else’s – something that you believe you must achieve and again not because it is imposed on you by society or culture or parents or friends or colleagues or bosses! It simply has to be your own goal! (Like I want to give this presentation as I have something to say that will improve the quality of life for people.)
How do you make it a success story to achieve your goals? To sum all up what I already mentioned:
1. Start with the end in mind: know where you are going. If you do not know, it is quite difficult to navigate. It is like having a gps with no address. Therefore, have a highly specific goal that you write down.
2. Goals must be something that you want and not something that people are expecting of you.
3. As explained, goals need to be congruent with your values and your belief system.
4. They have to be SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable; realistic and timebound.
5. You have to commit! Accept the fact that this goal is not magically going to happen. It requires effort and commitment.
6. Have measurable milestones during the journey of your goal achievement. Milestones that you have control over and you don’t end up feeling like a victim. You need to be able to track your progress and have feedback and adjust during the way if something is not working. For example, if I need to deliver the presentation in two months, I will practice it every single day for 30 minutes to 1 hour and then when I know it upside down I will present in front of family, friends, colleagues…anyone who is willing to hear so I am ready to present it to 500 people in two months.
7. Be flexible and open minded: true you have set a goal but it important that in the process of achieving this goal to be mindful of what other circumstances/results/new opportunities are showing up that I did not see before I set this goal. Continues readjustment is key to success!
8. Bring others along: there is a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Bringing others along by talking about our goals not only makes them more pertinent and real, it also provides us with great support through those difficult, reluctant times.
Remember that goals are a mean to an end – not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are tools to hold us in the direction of what we want and have us be focused. And there are so many more “side-effects” to achieving goals. It is not the achievement of the goals that make us happy and fulfilled, it is who we become in the process of achieving these goals – how much we grow and expand and learn – that gives us that strong feeling of fulfillment. Knowing that you can do it if you set your mind and heart to it increases also your self-confidence, personal leadership and self-awareness.