An old saying goes: “That which we put our attention on, expands.” When we’ve put our attention on negatives like difficulty, unfairness, obstacles, limitations and reasons why we haven’t been able to do something, we’ve put our attention on matters that do not move us forward. We have then unwittingly formed a goal of not moving forward because our attention has been focused on negatives.
There’s no way that a trained Olympic athlete would ever say just before a competition, “I can’t do it – it’s too hard – who do I think I am that I can medal in this event?” The reason is self-evident: to do so would be to put attention on some aspect of failure. At best, that unwisely-focused attention would dilute one’s power to hit one’s goals. At worst, that choice would impair one’s performance and even invite disaster.
Can you think of examples in yourself or others where you have heard litanies of attention being put on negatives? Do you believe that that behavior can and should be changed if one wishes to reach your goals? How urgent is that change in behavior?
Among the frequent questions about goal setting is the degree to which it’s best to reveal your goals to others. Likely, all of us have had the experience of telling someone else a goal and having that other person squash it in some way, including:
* Telling us that we can’t do it
* Reminding us when we’ve not met the goal yet, and not in a kind way
* Making fun of us for trying
* Not believing in us, but rather in our failing
Disclose wisely because the survival and ultimate accomplishment of your goal may depend on it. Get the agreement of those to whom you disclose that they will only support you and never engage in any of the behaviors above. The support of others can be determinative.
Bottom line: it’s your goal and you are the only one who, by definition, can ultimately be responsible for it. It’s not a terrible idea to hold your goals closely and disclose on a “need to know” basis at first and then slowly reveal as success toward the goal is had.
What has been an approach that best works for you? Is it best for you to disclose your goals? When and to whom? Is there someone whom you can always count on to support you and believe in you?
We’ve all had the experience of going through a day or longer and asking ourselves what we accomplished. We know that even if we’ve been busy, we haven’t always been purposeful or acted with a goal orientation. An unknown author said, “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”
Scary thought; isn’t it? We don’t want to always have what can feel like the pressure of goals, but without a clear sense of direction, we have all felt somewhat lost and even unaccomplished.
Consider using a report card approach: grade yourself for five days in a row in the category of “clearly focused on goals,” and see where you are operating in life. You’ll then be equipped to take action based on what you find.
Just as the first most important thing about goal setting is to write down your goals, the second-most important is to review them frequently. Weekly review is optimal; and some people even review them daily.
Reading goals aloud is consistent with best practices. Why? Because the integration of goals into ALL of our senses dramatically increases the odds of the goals actually happening.
Next, review your written goals aloud – this time with visual reminders like photographs or advertising that animate your goals.
The more of the senses you engage, the better. Try to feel the feeling you anticipate will be there when your goals are realized. You can even ask yourself how your goals “taste” and “smell” – for example, “sweet” and “delicious.”
Are you willing to engage all of your senses in service of your goals and experiment with how effective the approach of all-senses integration is for you? You’ll find that it works!
Goal setting is widely taught and discussed with varying degrees of effectiveness. No matter your stage of life or profession, you are a goal setter. This week, we’ll discuss the core distinctions of goal setting as a means of maximizing your results.
We’ve all heard it before, yet most have ignored it: WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS! Statistics vary, but it’s clear that writing down your goals increases the likelihood of their happening by somewhere between 50 and 90 percent – just by writing them down.
That list of goals is obviously much more specific than free floating ideas in your head. You increase your focus and intention by putting goals in writing.
Check this against your own experience: has it been true for you that you’re more likely to accomplish goals if you write them down? Where do you write them? How many are there? What is the level of detail in your goals?
Consider setting aside time today to write down your goals for use as this week’s program continues. You will have an opportunity to build on your written goals throughout the week.