Goals That Get Accomplished

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Tick Tock! ‘Tis the season for freshly brewed resolutions, goals, aspirations, intentions, habits and the like. Goal creation and execution for some, successfully follows tried and true methodologies. For most people however, the end of the year finds them coming up short when they review their pre-established goals.

Growing up, New Years’ Eve would find my family and I sitting around the television watching the presidential address, toasting the New Year with a wee bit of wine, and then listing our goals. As you may have guessed, the recited goals were what our parents wanted to hear and not what we young ones truly aspired or were motivated to achieve over the coming months. As a result goal setting and I got off to a very bumpy start. The last few years have found me a very keen, wide-eyed student of life, seeking demanding the very best of each new year with successful goal accomplishment as one of my greatest motivators.

thWe all know that the key to success in any part of life lies in the planning and design phase. To accomplish ones’ goals you need to put the right habits into play.  According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, the number one reason why we’re unable to keep our resolutions is that we’re simply designing them wrong.

 

“People design them incorrectly — very often they write out a list of goals, rather than writing a list of actions they’re going to take and thinking hard about how to structure those behaviors so that they become habits.”                                       

~ Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit ~

Successful goal creation requires us to focus on breaking down our resolutions from a general goal into smaller actions that can be done on a regular basis. These small actions will become the habits that will drive you to achieve your goals. The actions need to be specific, measurable & time-based. Here are a few examples:

GOAL

ACTION

Lose weight

Run for 30-minutes everyday at the gym next to work

Become a better writer

Write a blog post every Monday

Go to sleep earlier

Set a daily alarm for 10:00pm as a reminder to go to bed

Manage stress

Register for weekly hot yoga classes

Read more books

Spend 30-minutes every day reading

Communicate more with friends and family

Call 3 different friends and/or 3 different family members once a week

Once you have learnt how to write your goals and link them to a specific action, you will need to establish a trigger or a cue that will remind you to initiate the action. All habits both good and bad have a trigger. For example if your goal is to have healthier teeth, the action may be to floss after brushing your teeth. The trigger would be to put a roll of floss next to your toothbrush so that you are reminded to floss after brushing your teeth; an action you already do daily. Another example is if your goal is to read more books and the assigned action is to spend 30-minutes every day, the trigger could be placing the books by your favorite seat in the house where you find yourself every evening. Establishing the right trigger will take some practice. An alarm clock is only effective if you don’t throw it against the wall (hint, hint).

After establishing the trigger and beginning your routine, habits will begin to develop and attached to every habit there will be a reward. The reward could be a tangible item or it could be a feeling. Good habits take time to form so it’s especially important that you celebrate the rewards along the way to your new habit.  Celebrate each day that finds you making a new network contact, making an appearance at the gym and running 5 minutes longer than yesterday or lifting 5 pounds heavier than last week.

“Habits are the unthinking choices and invisible decisions that surround us every day and which, just by looking at them become visible again”                      

~ Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit ~

If you’re struggling with a bad habit that is interfering with goal accomplishment, take a look at the reward that the habit delivers. Can the reward still be received by changing the habit?  For example, if you are rewarded with a feeling of camaraderie and social euphoria when you go out with your friends but notice you are drinking and eating too much, and your goal is too adopt a healthy lifestyle, you may change the habit to go hiking or for walks with a group of friends instead. You will still be rewarded with the feeling of camaraderie and social euphoria and your waistline and overall health will be positively impacted. Habits are difficult to change due to the associated rewards. If you pay attention to why you do something, you can then change what you do and still be rewarded.

Before you dash off and start writing your resolutions, goals, aspirations, intentions, habits etc., there is a very important feeling that you must embrace first. That feeling is BELIEF! You must believe that you can change. If you believe you can change, if you make it a habit, the change becomes tangible and undeniable.

“Your beliefs energize you to create the world you want to live in right now. What you value determines what you focus on”                                                       ~ Tony Robbins ~

The process of goal setting is much, much more than simply saying you want to accomplish this, that, or the other. Unless you clearly identify and define exactly what you want and understand why you want it to begin with, the odds of success will not be stacked in your favor.

So, what will you decide to aspire to in 2016?

 

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