Do you remember i.e.: Easter egg hunts as a child and being told you were warm/warmer/hot when close to your prize, or cool/cooler/ice cold when getting further away from your quarry?
One habit I ask my Mentees and Life Coaching clients to develop as quickly as possible, is an adaptation of this childhood game - and now you can do it too. Here is my very Simple Goal Setting Hack:
1) Define Your Goal: What is it you want to achieve? Write it down in as much detail as possible. Something magical happens when you put pen to paper; your all-powerful subconscious mind pays more attention, and takes your intention far more seriously. It also gives you a record of what your goal is, and helps to keep you focused once the initial spurt of enthusiasm inevitably wears off.
2) How Much, By When? Give your goal a deadline and write that down too. Whatever you want to achieve must be measurable and time defined, i.e.: "I will weigh 10 stones & 7 pounds by 31 December 2017". Don't focus on the losing bit, don't say: "I will lose 7 pounds by 31 December 2017", because who has ever wanted to lose anything? Losing has negative connotations, so turn it into a positive - what will you become? This works for everything: "I will be a non-smoker by 31 August 2017", "I will be running 5 miles a day on or before 30 September 2017", "I will have written three chapters of my book by 31 October 2017". If you can't finangle what your personal How Much, By When is, give me a call and I'll be delighted to help you.
3) Practice Mindfulness: With every decision you make, are you getting warm/warmer/hot and close, or are you getting cool/cooler/cold and further away from accomplishing your goal? This principle is so simple, even a child can do it - because as children we did do it! It's so easy to hold the image of a thermometer in your mind, and watching the mercury slide up and down the scale, according to your choices. And you always have a choice. Always.
4) Self-Mastery Challenge: Now here's another somewhat extreme - and strictly hypothetical - method you can employ. If you had to i.e.: write three chapters of your book, or be fit enough to run five miles a day by 30 September 2017 - or you would die - could it be done?
Now, you may have to cancel that girl's weekend in Brighton, or your Sunday football matches with the lads, but so be it. Hypothetically, if you don't get these chapters written, or your mileage targets achieved, you're going to die, so can it be done - even if it means heavy sacrifices? What's more important to you? How badly do you want it? See what I mean about choices? Here's the formula for you to remember and apply to any aspect of your life you want to succeed in - write it down and place it somewhere visible:
If you had to do X, before Y, or you would die, could it be done?
I don't want to hear your excuses. You can either be successful or make excuses, but you can't do both, they're mutually exclusive. If you really can do X (i.e.: write three chapters) before Y (i.e.: 30 September 2017), by temporarily sacrificing non-essential frivolities, then do it - plough on and through whatever it takes.
5) Don't Beat Yourself Up: What's the point? It's a complete waste of time and energy. The time and energy you spend berating and self-flagellating, would honestly be better optimised finding a solution, or getting back on the wagon. Seriously, what positive purpose has blame and self-flagellation ever served?
If you make a mistake, have a setback or just have a bad day, that's okay - it happens to us all. The big not-so-secret here is to jump up and start again...and again, if necessary. You only truly fail when you choose to quit. By beating yourself up you're demoralising yourself, which is counterproductive. Who really performs at their best when they're being scolded and diminished? Think of a toddler learning to walk. What would happen if a toddler just gave up at the first bum drop? They're new to this walking lark, and bumps are to be expected - well this applies to you too. You're stepping out of your comfort zone and attempting something new and unfamiliar, so give yourself a break when you have a wobble - every path has its puddles. It's not what happens to you that matters, but how you choose to respond. Keep getting up, and keep fighting for what you want and deserve.
6) Break It Down: If you're finding the attainment of your goal extremely challenging, and keep "falling off the wagon" by i.e.: not watching what you eat, smoking another sneaky cigarette, not writing those chapters or running the miles, then why not break it down? How can you break it down?
Okay, let's say you can stick to your diet for three days, but then your willpower melts and you succumb to the temptations of cake on Day 4. This seems to be a pattern for you. Why not challenge yourself to go four days without cake, with an option to eat cake on Day 5? Then when Day 5 rolls round, you've exceeded your own expectations already, and it would be a shame to let yourself down so early in the process, so why not make it to Day 6? Then Day 7.
This could equally apply to giving up smoking, running 1000 extra paces per day, writing five pages a day, not having that glass of wine until the weekend...whatever - anything really. With every day you triumph, you're getting warm/warmer/hot towards being slimmer, healthier, fitter, a non-smoker or an author. You will find that you will get so far into your goal, and will have discovered a new found respect for yourself, that you will start adopting the stubborn "I haven't come this far, to only come this far" mentality.
THE STRENGTH YOU NEED
The strength you need will come to you through small and infinite choices every day. You don't decide on a goal (to lose a stone, write a book or run a marathon), and then take delivery of all the strength and perseverance you need to complete the goal successfully. Sadly it doesn't work that way, you have to build your own strength and perseverance on the job, as you go. This is because you must grow gradually into the person you will ultimately be. Progress is a process, not an event.
Know that your initial enthusiasm and momentum will wane, and be ready with new rewards for yourself, for when you keep going and push on. Make the end of every chapter, every several pounds exercised off, or every week as a non-smoker a celebration of some kind. No, that doesn't mean you smoke yourself stupid, or pile all the weight back on by making weak choices - make strong choices which compliment your overall goal. Deliberate and willful self-sabotage makes for tragic waste, and if you have that kind of time to lose, then I'm not the Life Coach for you, because I want to see you win!
These are very simple goal setting hacks that can really make a difference, if you're serious about achieving the goals in the first place. You will note I have not once referred to any of this as easy, because it won't be. You have what it takes to get what you want done, but it will take everything you've got. The good news is that you don't have to do it by yourself, because I am here to help, support, encourage, inspire, motivate and empower you into becoming the best version of yourself possible.
If you're truly ready to make a change, and achieve the goals you've chosen, then it's time for us to work together and make it happen. You can even have your first Life Coaching consultation free, so you can see for yourself what a powerful team we will be. All you have to do is take the first step and reach out to me, the rest will flow in perfect time.
Now you have the information, it's time to implement it, because nothing changes until something changes!
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