Five Keys to Setting Attractive Sustainable Goals
We’ve all been there. How many of you have set up new year’s resolutions only to discover that you have slipped after the first week or been to a workshop and sworn that this time you are really going to achieve those dreams you have had at the back of your mind? The following article gives you five keys on setting goals that will keep you motivated.
Key One: Make them realistic, make them yours.
Key Two: Write them down.
Key Three: See them every day.
Key Four: Make it easy, set up strong support structures.
Key Five: Acknowledge and review regularly.
Key One – Make Them Realistic, Make Them Yours
Jung described a parent’s unrealised dreams as the most powerful influence in a child’s life. When you choose your goals, make sure they are your goals not anyone else’s. Also, make sure that the goals are realistic. For example, you may not be able to make the Olympics gymnastic team, but you could walk a marathon next year or work towards a high standard in yoga. Be honest with yourself about it and when the “yeah, but” tape starts playing remind yourself that you are not given a dream without the capacity to make it true. This is particularly true if you find that you have a recurring desire about something.
Key Two – Write Them Down
There’s something about the human brain that doesn’t seem to see things as real until they are visible or written down. Pick 3 – 5 goals that you want to achieve for the coming year and write them down. Make sure that they are measurable. Writing down “I will save money” is a goal, but writing down “I will have saved €4000 in the next 12 months” is more powerful.
Key Three – See Them Every Day
Write your goals on ten of small 3” X 5” index cards and have them visible everywhere to you. Another powerful exercise is to take time to visualize what your life would be like with those goals. If you can make the experience as vivid as possible, it gets the brain going on ways to achieve them…in ways you could never imagine at the beginning!
Key Four – Make It Easy, Set Up Strong Support Structures
Don’t rely on your own willpower to carry you through because it probably won’t. (But you know that already, don’t you?) In Ireland, there is a proverb, “ ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine” which means that we live in each other’s shadows, we are interdependent. Put systems and supports in place that will sustain you when your energy is low. For example, if you plan to save money, set up an automated direct debit to do it. If you want to exercise more, find something you enjoy and buddy up with someone to go with. Build in a practice of daily silence/meditation/prayer to help you keep in touch with your deeper, truer self. Get a coach to help create structures and keep you accountable. Remind yourself on a daily basis of the benefits of achieving this goal.
Key Five – Acknowledge and Review Regularly
Set aside time every week to quickly review your goals, acknowledge progress, and simply note where you have slipped. Slippage is inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up, note what caused it and begin again! Adopt a gentle curiosity with yourself as to what caused you to slip and then begin again.