How To Set - and Reach! - Your Personal Goals
This is a guest post written by Jenifer Giles, a relationship coach specializing in couples coaching, pre-marital and marriage consulting. Visit her website at jenifergiles.com. Have a relationship question for Jenifer? Use our contact form to send it in and she will answer it in a future post.
Here we are again at that time of the year when we all think about how long our New Year’s resolutions are going to last. Can you believe that less than 10% of New Year’s Resolutions will be kept? That’s a huge amount of dreams that will fall by the wayside.
I’m struck by how often these resolutions are phrased in very general ways. A great example is “I’m going to lose weight”. Oh yes, that’s a familiar one. But what are the specific commitments to retrain eating and exercise habits? How often, how long, what types of exercise? What changes in food types, portion sizes, frequency of eating?
These details are the baby steps that will move you to your outcome, whatever that is. The steps must be specific and measurable. No vagueness allowed.
The reality of modifying habits in the long term is that we only change when there’s compelling - and usually emotional - reasons to do so. Rarely do we change because of outside pressure, and that includes creating random resolutions just because it’s the right time of year. Goals have to be connected to our values and needs, not someone else’s wants.
The trick to following through is to be clear about why you want the specific outcome. Now, if we follow on the weight path (just because it’s so popular as a goal) it’s unlikely that just wanting to lose weight because someone made an unkind remark will cut it.
However, I can imagine that wanting to wake up feeling energetic every morning and vibrant throughout the day may be a motivator. That’s internal motivation, and that’s much more compelling.
To get from here to there we need to have a very specific image of how our lives will be different when we’re at the chosen destination. How will we feel, look, interact with other people? What will I be doing differently when I achieve my goal?
In other words, to succeed you have to have a very, very clear vision of yourself. You will need to revisit that vision frequently while taking the action steps that will get you there.
If you have a clear image of yourself succeeding you not only add to the probability of achieving this time around but you’ll also set up in your mind a belief in yourself as someone who routinely succeeds at achieving goals. Over time this will have a compounding effect on your conviction that you are someone who follows through on visions.
Of course, as you already know, it’s not a goal until it’s written down!! An idea flying around your head doesn’t make a goal. So, to recap:
1. What are the values and needs that this goal aligns with?
2. Have a clear vision of the end result.
3. Write it down.
4. Create baby steps.
5. If you slip (as we all do) start again from that point.
Good luck in setting and achieving your personal goals this year!
photo credit: alancleaver_2000