At this time of annual goal-setting and resolution-making, this month’s blog focuses on how to set yourself realistic goals so that they are genuinely focused on areas that mean a lot to you and also how to help create the circumstances where you are more likely to achieve those goals.
If you have ever set yourself a New Year’s Resolution that’s been forgotten or broken soon into the new year, you’re not alone. Research shows that 80% of resolutions are broken by the second week in February . Why is that? Maybe the goal was unrealistic? Or you weren’t particularly committed to achieving it? Or something inside you told you it wasn’t really possible so why bother trying? Or perhaps deep down you have a limiting belief. These are some of the reasons why most New Year’s Resolutions end up written off as ‘wishful thinking’ and leave you feeling that you ‘failed’ (or as we say in NLP, haven’t succeeded yet 😊)
It’s widely accepted that “Progress on our goals leads to more positive emotions and more satisfaction with life.”  So making progress and achieving goals can make you happier. Key to this is making sure that your goals are really right for you.
How do you make sure your goals/resolutions are focused effectively?
As a starting point, I’d like to invite / challenge you to review how satisfied you are with all aspects of your life. Use the Wheel of Life in this month’s download to map out the key areas of your life (typically eight, including family, work, finance, health, relationships etc.) and rank on a scale of 1-10 how satisfied you are with them (10 is ‘delighted’, 1 is ‘the pits’). Please be honest with yourself. Then decide which area(s) you would like to improve (typically areas with scores below around 6-7, or perhaps the two or three with the lowest scores).
For each area of life, and especially for those you’d like to focus on, set at least one goal for this year. Allow yourself enough time to do this to ensure that you choose goals that you’re really committed to achieving. Be honest with yourself about what is realistic. Write down your goal and make sure it’s SMART (specific, stated simply, stated in the positive (i.e. what you want rather than what you don’t want), measurable and motivating, achievable, realistic and right for you, time-bound / dated). I’ll be sharing more detailed information about goal setting in a future blog. If you’d like more information now, download my ‘goal-setting for athletes’ e-book for only £0.99 (the principles apply even if you’re not an athlete!)
Remember this final crucial step…
One of the key reasons a lot of New Year’s Resolutions and life goals aren’t achieved stems from whether or not you believe not only in your ability to achieve the goal but also your right to achieve the goal (for a more extensive list, read my blog ‘Why most people have probably already broken their New Years resolutions’).
Beliefs pay a major role in determining the results and outcomes we produce. When thinking about goals that we have set, it is extremely useful to consider the beliefs we have about each goal, and to assess the following beliefs we have about it:
- Is the goal desirable and worth it?
- Is it possible to achieve the goal?
- Is it appropriate and ‘ecological’ (i.e. no negative consequences) to do what is necessary in order to achieve the goal?
- Do you have the capabilities to achieve the goal?
- Do you truly deserve to achieve the goal?
This month’s download (sign up below) contains an assessment sheet to help you look at your self-belief in your ability to achieve a goal and start on the road to understanding any possible self-imposed limitations to reaching the desired outcome.
It helps to write your goals down, so why not post yours on my Facebook area or Tweet me (@JeremyLazarus) and we’ll catch up in a couple of months to find out what progress you’re making.
Download my guide to setting goals and assessing limiting beliefs here.