So you want to lose weight, buy a yacht, or retire young and in good health?.
Imagining success helps, but it isn't enough. Positivity and optimism help too, but probably not enough to get you through the inevitable setbacks.
Here's my summary of the best evidence available - from researchers who have tested various techniques on large numbers of goal-strivers.
- Write a specific goal Base it on the SMART acronym (but remembering that SMART is only a start).
- Decide the purpose of that goal so that you can keep reminding yourself of it: "I want to lose weight so that I can play sport/have fun with the kids...'
- Write mini-goals so that when you achieve them you will know you are on your way to achieving your ultimate goal
- Tie the behaviours you want to inevitable events (more).
- Stay realistically optimistic, generally positive, but accepting that setbacks are part of the challenge.
- Plan what you will do if you encounter a setback or obstacle to your goal.
- Review your progress regularly and write the results. Ideally, tell other people about your progress.
- If you are not making enough progress, brainstorm behaviours that will be more productive.
- Forgive lapses and get yourself back on track asap.
Recognise some things you are doing already? Good, but 'I knew that' is also a trap. What really matters is whether we are making the most of those ideas - using every one that's relevant to us.
Let's be realistic. Achieving goals is hard, unless the goals are so easy they're just a 'to do' list. Most people give up within a few weeks. People whose goal is to change entrenched behaviours, such as smoking, usually need several attempts.
We improve our chances if we see achieving goals as a process, not an exam that we pass or fail. Use the list to stay focused.
Interested in a workshop on achieving goals for your team? Contact us. We'll put you in touch with a trainer, not a salesperson.