Setting Clear Goals for Yourself
Updated: Mar 7, 2022
“One of the worst things is to continually train your brain to desire something that you don't actually achieve.”
Let’s talk about getting clear on a vision for yourself.
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
Secret to Success: Stop Setting New Year's Resolutions!
Yes, I said it!
Now let me clarify. Most of us use the new year to think about what we want for ourselves, especially for the upcoming year. I think this is great to make time to think about this, but truth be told, I am not big on setting New Year's resolutions. Why? Because when was the last time you set a New Year's resolution that was realistic and you were actually successful at fulfilling that resolution? There are numerous articles published by CNN, INC, etc. that speak about the low success rate of resolutions - 92% of those who set resolutions report failing, and 80% have failed or abandoned these resolutions by February!
Here’s Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work.
You May Be Setting the Wrong Goal
A lot of times, we’re setting New Year's resolutions that we think we should have or should be doing or we want to do better. For example, maybe you want to lose weight, drink less wine, or make more money. But are those things what you really want deep down, or just your perceived means to a bigger end?
For example, why do you want to lose weight? What is the deeper/real desired outcome you seek? Is it because you desire better physical health? Because you want to live a more active life? Better self-esteem? When your stated goal doesn’t really match your true desire, it’s far easier for you to get frustrated that you’re not making progress and drop the resolution.
Another reason why resolutions don't work is because we're not actually specifically clear as to what it is that we really want. We have a subject but we're not actually clear on what we want and what that looks like in our lives.
Unclear goals are uncompleted goals! There’s nothing worse than a vague, unclear goal. If you find yourself having unclear goals, then I would question if you’ve spent enough time with that desire, and ask yourself if that is the true desire.
Many times we don't believe in the feasibility of our goals, especially with resolutions, because we haven't been successful in the past. We don't actually have true faith in ourselves that we're going to be successful in creating that resolution for ourselves. And when it comes time to set resolutions, many have a tendency to become unrealistically optimistic in a way that just sets themselves up for failure.
The problem with this is that we create a cognitive dissonance between what we want and what we believe we can have. As a result, you begin to condition and train your brain to never believe that you can have the things you desire. At the subconscious level your mind will start to sabotage your thoughts and actions to fulfill your doubts and disbelief!
How To Effectively Set Clear Visions and Goals For Yourself
Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash
Know What You Really Want, and your Why
It is important that you take time to settle and hone in on what you really want. Why is it really important for you to create that goal for yourself? Is it something that you would really like to see in your life? Is it something that you think you should have?
Be honest with what you are really seeking to achieve, and that desire may lead to a better aligned and more realistic goal that you are more likely to achieve.
Here’s my personal example:
Weight has been a struggle I’ve battled my entire life, and like many, the pandemic was not a friend to my hips! But this year, instead of setting the typical weight loss goals (which stress me out) I asked myself, “why do I really want to lose weight?” I gained the clarity of my desire for physical fitness. I want to feel strong in my body and feel good that I’m living an active, healthy lifestyle (this is my deeper why). Through that, I realized that even if I didn’t lose a pound, but increased my physical fitness, I would be delighted!
So I set a new goal: to reduce my time for swimming a mile. I LOVE swimming, and focusing on that inspires and motivates me, which feels so much better, which makes it easier for me to take empowered and inspired steps forward.
So again, consider: what is the deeper why for whatever it is you think you want. Take a moment to think about the deeper reason why you want to do this goal.
Get Deeper Into a Goal that Feels Good
The next step to building clarity is drilling down a little bit more and getting deeper into a goal that feels good. This is where we really create things that will increase the likelihood of actually creating clarity and bringing it into this world.
Take a moment right now and do this quick exercise:
Ask yourself, what will you do once you achieve this goal? What about achieving this goal feels really good? Visualize yourself there, once you’ve brought this vision to life. See yourself and what you’re doing, feel the sensations in your body now. What will you tell yourself once you achieved this goal? Allow yourself to completely connect to that state of what you most enjoy in this vision, and just feel good!
The more you allow your mind to connect with all of the sights, smells, and emotions of this future state, the more you increase your likelihood of achieving this! I encourage you to regularly do this visualization exercise; the more you see yourself achieving it, the more you will believe you can, and the more actions you will take to move yourself forward.
Lastly, the final area setting a clear vision for yourself is to get really specific. It’s not good enough to just say, “I want to spend more time with my kids or my partner.” How much more time do you want to spend? What types of activities do you want to be doing?
As you get clearer on your desires, you want to make sure they are SMART.
SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based
Specific: Get clear with what it is that you really want to happen and how you want that to happen so you can tell if you’re going to be successful with it or not. For my swimming goal, I decided that I want to reduce my time to swim a mile by ten minutes.
Measurable: In business we always say, what gets measured gets done. It is quite helpful to have a clear way to measure whether or not you achieve your goals and desires. Picking up on the goal above with spending more time with family, making it measurable may be saying I want to spend 2 hours playing games with my family twice a month. That is easy for you to track whether or not you achieve it.
Be Realistic: Are your new targets realistic? While you want to stretch yourself, you don’t want to shoot for what is completely out of your current range. For me with swimming, I researched average swim times and calculated what feels like a stretch, yet in my real goal. Not training for the next Olympics, but I do ultimately want to get to the point of feeling strong enough to compete in a race!
So just take a step, look at that goal, and see if it’s realistic. When it's a stretch, but realistic, you will actually believe that it can happen and that is so important for moving you forward.
Time-Based: Make sure to set the date that you want to achieve your goal. And if that date is far-away, like the end of the year, also create milestones along the way to keep you on track.
I hope this was helpful in getting clear on creating your vision and goals for what you want to create this year. You are awesome, and can create whatever your heart desires. Why else are we here on this earth, if not to love, grow, and create?
Drop me a line and let me know your vision and what goals you are setting for yourself.
Sending you big love!