If you’re like most people, you may have started strong, and are now having some trouble with consistency. Or, you may still be gearing up to “get started”. Either way, this is a great time of year to take a quick look at what helps us actually accomplish goals.
Most of us start out the New Year, or any other goal-setting time, with great intentions, then sooner or later go “off the wagon”, “off track”, and go back into old habits. Then we give ourselves negative messages, and feel more discouraged than when we started in the first place.
What are we doing wrong? I believe that we need to take a fresh look at how we approach goal-setting from both a practical and an emotional viewpoint.
On a practical level, two big issues are problem definition and time management. We first need to decide what the result is that we’re trying to accomplish, and break it down into achievable steps. We need to have some deadlines in mind, even if later they have to be adjusted. We have to assess the “cost” of the results we want. Sometimes in doing that, we end up deciding that we’re not willing to do what it takes after all.
But the biggest shift we need to make, in my opinion, is a shift from focusing on the results as being our goal, to focusing on the behaviors that create the results. Why? Because that is where the change happens. So if I want to lose weight, it doesn’t make sense to make “losing 10 pounds” my goal. It makes sense to make “walk for 30-60 minutes, 4-5 days a week” and “eat lots more veggies, lots less refined carbohydrates” my behavioral goals. If I keep those as the focus, and set aside time and energy for accomplishing them, I will more than likely get the desired result.
The same idea works in business or relationships. What is my desired result? What are the specific changes in behaviors that will get me there? When specifically will I do those things? That’s what going to help me achieve my goal.
What about the emotional component of achieving my goals? More on that in our next post.