Are you a positive, goal-oriented person who would like a bit more success with your goal-setting strategies? Here are five ways success plans sometimes fall short, and how you can tweak your own plan for better results.
1) Vaguely defined goals and/or strategies If you want to get to New York from Chicago, you could probably get there by climbing in the car and simply starting to drive, but you'll get there faster and more comfortably if you plan the trip, have daily destinations along the way, and bring a roadmap with you. It isn't enough to make something your goal. You have to define the steps that will get you there.
So often we set goals like “I will lose 25 pounds, " then can't understand why we put on 5 instead. We do better if we plan the steps, such as lose 2 pounds a week, exercise at the gym twice a week, and have a daily intake of so many calories. These steps are our strategies. Having a goal without clearly defined strategies is like driving around the Midwest countryside hoping you'll stumble upon New York.
Solution: Break your goal down into the practical steps or strategies you must take to reach it. Write these strategies out in clearly defined, measurable terms. Rather than “I won't work late as much, " write “On Tuesdays and Thursdays until June 1st, I will leave the office by 5:10 p. m. "
2) A reluctant commitment With or without strategies, if you don't want a goal enough to commit to doing what it takes to achieve it, chances are you'll drop out before you reach your target. Motivation is extremely important. Think about the times you've wanted something with every fiber of your being. Didn't you find it easy to stick to your goal plan and didn't you achieve your desired outcome?
Solution: Pick goals you're strongly committed to. If you really don't want to start that workout regimen yet, don't create a goal program for it. Doing so before you're ready will only lead to failure, which will make it yet harder to get started with the regimen, because you'll have your added guilt to contend with. If you know you ought to do something, and find yourself resisting, ask your subconscious mind to reveal to you the attitude that prevents your moving forward. Then look at that thought.
3) Forgetting to make it fun When goal setting programs are too arduous, we balk at implementing them. Doing the work required to reach a goal isn't typically easy, so making the process as enjoyable as possible is part of achieving success. Intrinsic motivation goes a long way in helping, but rewards and celebrations for milestones are needed, too. Having a reward to look forward to keeps us going when the goal looks far off, or when our commitment flags due to physical and emotional fluctuations.
Solution: Make fun a major consideration of your goal-setting program. If you know you need to exercise five times a week to reach a weight goal, for instance, you'll have a better chance of sticking with your weight loss plan if your strategies involve exercise activities you find fun instead of the kind you abhor. Structure rewards and celebrations for milestones of progress right into your goal plan. The boost to your enthusiasm that celebrating gives will get you over your rough spots. Rewards need to be planned and specific, so you can look forward to them as self-promises. It's the looking forward that is motivating.
4) Neglecting to track your progress As you move toward a goal, it's important to track your daily or weekly progress (for longer goals, your monthly or yearly progress as well). This keeps us accountable so we don't “cheat" and lie to ourselves. It also provides motivation, as we see a visual record of our progress. Without motivation and positive reinforcement, it's easier to give up on goals than to keep working toward them.
Solution: Make a chart that measures your progress. Post it inside your closet door, on the wall of your bedroom, or inside your personal planner. Record all the times you perform the strategies you've committed to at the time you resolved to perform them. If you find you're repeatedly failing to do a strategy, take a look at it to see why. If the strategy needs tweaking to be workable, just tweak it. It's natural for strategies to need adjustment as you move toward your goal.
5) Expecting too much of strategizing Unlike visualizing, which can be applied to any goal, strategizing is only appropriate for some goals. In visualizing, a person can ask the universe to create most anything, but strategizing only works for some things. When we goal-set for targets we have no material control over, strategizing becomes interfering or manipulation, and we set ourselves up for disappointment and resistance.
Solution: If you're having trouble moving toward a goal, rather than berating yourself, consider whether the goal or strategies could be at fault. Is this goal something you really want and that's good for you to have? Is it also good for other people, or are there those who don't want you to succeed? Are your strategies effective in moving you toward your goal or did you conceive them before you had knowledge of what is really needed to reach this target? Getting down on yourself makes no sense if the reason you're not having more success has to do with answers to these questions. Adjust your goal or strategies to be realistic, and you'll be back on the path of progress and enjoyment.
Goal setting is a skill, and like any skill it takes practice to be done smoothly. Learn from your experiences in goal setting so far, and adapt your efforts to your growing understanding.
And pat yourself on the back for your tenacity! Those who stick around long enough to learn a thing become the experts. That's going to be you.
Winsome Coutts is author of “Go for Your Goals for Kids" - http://www.4lifehappykids.com - a set of illustrated, downloadable e-books that teaches visualization and goal setting to young people. Winsome holds a teacher's certificate in education and has written hundreds of articles on self-development. She personally studied with Bob Proctor and John Demartini, popular teachers featured on “The Secret" DVD.
For more of Winsome's articles, follow the links below:
Goal Setting for Adults and Children - http://www.4lifeselfhelp.com/goal_setting.html