The Secret to Achieving Any Goal

Another year is approaching its end and that can only mean one thing- everyone is thinking up goals! Or resolutions, as we like to call them at this time of year. For most of us, resolutions tend to have a similar story: they are made, they are attempted, they are abandoned. It's sad, but true.

But what if this year could be different? What if this year you knew just what to do to succeed at reaching your goal and making the progress you want to make? Well I'm here to tell you that this year you can reach your goal, and I'm going to tell you how. 

There are 2 parts to setting yourself up to succeed in achieving goals. 

Part 1- The TYPE of goal: is your goal a to-do goal or a not-to-do goal? Is your goal to remove something from or add something to your life? This matters because you are far more likely to succeed if you focus on affirmative goals -goals that focus on the behavior you want rather than the behavior you don't want.  For instance, if your goal is to give-up Netflix on weekday evenings, unless your goal includes activities you will be doing instead during that time, you're not likely to stick to it.  Same goes for giving up certain foods or behaviors. 

So the first part of the secret is to focus on what you will do, not on what you won't.  Rather than making your goal to not watch Netflix on the weekdays, make it about reading a book a week, learning a new language for an hour every evening, writing in your journal, taking an online course, or whatever activity you would like to spend more time doing that will enhance your quality of life. Same goes for diet related goals- make a list a foods you want to eat more of rather than focus on the foods you don't want to eat. 

Part 2- Overcome your AMBIVALENCE: for every goal you have there is a reason to do it AND a reason not to do it. Most goals aren't achieved because you have mixed feelings about them that haven't been resolved.

When I work with my clients, we do an extensive values assessment exercise to identify their top values. Once we've done this I have my client reflect on what values they are honoring by pursuing their goal. This helps them appreciate why the goal matters to them and how much it matters. This enables them to consciously decide that the achievement of the goal is much more important than any reason they have not to pursue it. In fact, a good coach will regularly engage their client in conversations that serve to dissolve any lingering ambivalence about a decision, desire or goal.  

So the final part of the secret is to make a firm decision. Acknowledge what might stand in your way and that it will be difficult, but get very clear for yourself on why it will be worth it. Netflix is a fun way to unwind at the end of the day and you enjoy it- acknowledge that. But resolve that what matters most to you is that you continue learning and growing in your life, and feeding your mind and soul with things you feel good about. Too much Netflix makes you feel like you've wasted time. Reading makes you feel like you're using your time wisely and doing something to better yourself. You can still enjoy Netflix on the weekends and keep up with your favorite shows then. That is ambivalence resolved! Now you have a resolution.

Now it's your turn! How can you modify your goals so that the focus is on what you want more of in your life? Next, what mixed feelings can you identify and resolve? Share in the comments or email me. I'd love to hear about your goals and why you want to achieve them.

Do you have a question you'd like me to answer or is there a topic you'd like me to address in a post?  Let me know!  I write for YOU! Tell me how I can help.