goal setting

What makes a good goal?

I often get asked about goal setting. For a lot of people the hardest part of living a life on purpose is actually working out what they want. Often times people approach me and reel off all the things that they don’t want and while that is a great place to start, being clear on what you do want is EVEN better.

Our Subconscious brain cannot process negatives. If we say “Don’t eat that” or “Don’t smoke” our brain only hears “Eat that,” or “Smoke.” The word “don’t” isn’t processed. In fact, a small bunch of cells at the base of our brains (the reticular activating system) RAS which acts as a filter for everything our brains need to process, gives more importance to the stuff that we’re actively focusing on at the moment, it basically goes around collecting evidence to support our beliefs — so if you say to yourself “don’t do X, don’t do X”  Sure enough, ‘X’ is the one thing you find yourself doing. This is also because what we think about, is what we bring about.

It is for this reason that really good goals are set in the POSITIVE.

Great goals are set in the PRESENT tense;

By saying “I will…” you are subconsciously pushing and keeping the goal in the future. “I am…” or “I have…” are great way to state your goals. Getting practice at saying them out loud. If you can’t even say “I am ‘X’ ” then how will you ever be ‘X’?

Really good goals are also PERSONAL,

They are yours, which means that they are not your mum’s, your partners or society’s. If your goal starts with “I should” then I’m guessing it’s not yours….

The best goals, the goals you will be motivated to achieve are the goals which are in line with your values, and make you smile when you think about them. They are INSPIRING….

Good goals are also POSSIBLE

By which I mean that they are something you have control over, and do not involve changing other people, by all means dream big, breaking down big dreams into smaller manageable steps is completely possible.  No matter how big or small your goals are though, they need to be measurable – if you don’t know what it will look like when it is done, if you cannot tell how you will measure success, then how will you know when you have got what you wanted? Painting a picture in your mind, on paper, with words, is a really important step. The clearer you can describe what it is that you want, the easier it will be to move toward it.

Getting clear on your time frame is also really important. If you are anything like me, you want to achieve your goals yesterday…but here’s the thing, the journey, the getting to the thing, is just as important, and can be just as rewarding, as the end result. Learning to set realistic time frames is all part of the learning curve. Actively rewarding yourself along the way, will keep you motivated….

Being really clear on what it is that you want will make saying “No” to things and people much easier – Saying “NO” is much easier when it’s saying “YES” to something else.

Here are some great questions to get you thinking about your goals:

  • How will achieving this goal benefit you, and or those around you?
  • What will happen if you don’t achieve this goal?
  • What impact does having or not having this goal have on you and on others?
  • What is motivating you to achieve this goal?
  • How challenging is this goal for you?
  • What support or resources do you need to put in place for you to achieve this goal?

 goal setting


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