How will 2017 be different for you? Is your goals page still blank? Have you set goals that seem to be fading fast?
I love January, Spring is just around the corner everything feels so fresh and new. Everyone seems a little more positive and has a little more pep in their step.
We are setting goals like “I’ve got to get in shape” or “I’ve got to quit smoking” or “I need to make more money” and while these are all great goals, they’re not really useful as ways to guide our activities throughout the year. It’s 2017! So maybe it’s time to try a new way.
Goal setting in of itself is one of the easiest ways to increase your motivation and enhance your performance. In the 1960s, Psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham carried out dozens of studies and found that setting goals increased performance and productivity by 11% to 25%. So to illustrate, in our average work day of 8 hours, we would get up to an extra 2 hours of work a day. Woo hoo! World conquest here we come.
Okay, cool your burners and let’s get real for a moment! Not all goals are created equal. When was the last time you achieved a goal that you set for the entire year, regardless of when you started? A whole 365 days of consistent determination and persistence to achieve 1 goal. Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist published his 2007 research study into goals and his study showed that 88% of people fail.
So in order to be one of the 12% of people who achieve their goals, we need a goals Roadmap that at it core is made up of 3 elements:
Imagine that “I’ve got to get in shape” goal is our goal for the year. Firstly, it’s too vague, unfocused. Does it mean? Lose weight! Compete in a triathlon! Win Olympic gold! We need goals with clarity, laser like focus.
So first, let’s convert our “I’ve got to get in shape” goal into my C.L.E.A.R formula for example, “I want to cycle 1000 miles this year”. It’s big! It’s bold! It’s doable!
With a vague goal like get in shape – we’ll waste our valuable time trying to work out how to get a shape, but if the goal is cycle 1000 miles in 2016 you have already answered the question of “How” to get in shape. You have your result.
Secondly, we need to break the goal down into milestones, which I call “Relay Goals”. A simple way to explain a Relay Goal, is to think of a relay race where each person runs doing their part to win, passing on the baton to the next runner until the whole race is complete. These Relay Goals will hold you accountable and keep you on track for your long term goals in manageable bites. How many bites?
“Four is the magic number”
Why 4? Because 3 months, 90 days, 13 weeks times 4 equals a year and that about a long as we humans can concentrate on working towards a single goal.
So imagine your January Relay Goal is to cycle 250 miles and the same for April, July and October. Do you think we can achieve our C.L.E.A.R Goal by December? Yes, we can. You have your progress.
Remember you can start your goals any time of the year, ‘Goals not are just for New Year’s.’
Now I have simplified our C.L.E.A.R Goal into manageable steps but imagine it has been years since you were last on a bike, that first month you might want to set the first Relay Goal a little lower. We want to ensure success at every milestone! You might want to join a cycling club or start cycling to school, college or work every day and integrate your Relay Goal into your life. You have your action.
“Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” John Bytheway
But, if 3 months sounds like a long time, remember that’s only 13 weeks and cycling 20 miles a week for 13 weeks is actually 260 miles. This is generally, where people stumble with goal setting as there are no clearly defined steps on how to achieve the goal. We need our Roadmap.
My next piece of advice.
“Let you network support you but don’t go telling everyone”
We need our community or network to support us to achieve our goals and stay motivated, people that we can share your highs and lows with. Friends who will hold you accountable when we stumble and help raise us up.
I have some science on this internal process of the mind, when we achieve something our body’s produce a congratulatory chemical release as reward. Conversely, when we tell someone or many someone’s about your planned goals and they show us their approval, we get the same congratulatory chemical fix and guess what happens next … NOTHING! Most people don’t even get past telling everyone what they intend before they forget and stop because as far as your mind is concerned your goal has been achieved.
Like I said don’t have to go it alone, leverage your network, join clubs or friends who are doing what you want to achieve, get an app that tracks you, or go virtual and join an online forum.
Finally, don’t forgot to reward your successes as you achieve your goals.
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