In our last post, we talked about how to change our thinking about goal-setting and goal-achievement. These are time-tested ways that help us get to the results we want. However, the simple truth about us as humans is that sometimes we don’t do what we want to do, or even what is good for us. Then we use our God-given brains to tell ourselves all sorts of negative messages about how awful or inadequate we are. Sometimes those messages fit perfectly with old messages that we took in as children, making them even more powerful.
What to do? My answer for myself and my clients is, make the unconscious conscious.
If we allow ourselves to become conscious of these negative messages, then and only then do we have the opportunity to change them. A good set of questions to ask ourselves is:
- What are my expectations for myself? Are they realistic?
- What are other people’s expectations for me? Are they realistic?
- What messages do I give myself about success? Are they accurate? Do I believe them?
- What messages do I give myself about failure in general?
- What messages do I give myself when I don’t achieve a specific goal? Are those accurate? Do I believe them?
Notice that the main idea here is to become aware of what messages I tell myself, and then objectively question their accuracy. If they aren’t accurate, what is? By figuring this out, then I can substitute more positive messages for the destructive negative ones.
A great way to determine if those messages are accurate is to imagine whether or not you would use them with a loved one, friend, or co-worker in the same circumstance. If not, why are you using them with yourself? A nice imagery exercise is to imagine yourself talking to that loved one or friend and noticing what you would say to them. Then switch the roles around, and imagine that person talking to you about the situation, using them same kinder, gentler (and no doubt more accurate) words. Take those in, and make them your own.
If you work on changing both the practical and the emotional aspects of how we approach goal-setting, and the behaviors and messages that go with it, you are very likely to find that accomplishing new things becomes easier and more pleasurable.
Happy New Year, and Happy New Results!