It is a common practice to set our goals when a new period starts.
I’m sure you’ve done this before: you come back from holidays or when the new year is about to start, you grab pen and paper with excitement and write down all those ambitious goals you want to achieve.
The first day you start very motivated and committed. This boost of motivation lasts a few days, maybe a week, but at some point life gets in the way and next thing you know you are procrastinating and battling yourself. At some point maybe you even forget about your goals!
There will always be two opposite forces that will determine if you succeed or not. The one that pushes you towards your goal is your motivation.
The one that pulls you back and stops you from achieving them is resistance. Resistance can take many forms – laziness, forgetfulness, procrastination. It can be rooted in inner blocks like the inner critic’s messages or other limiting beliefs.
So to succeed, we just need to make sure that our motivation is stronger than the resistance!
Here are some tips to help you stay very clear on your motivation and beat resistance:
1.Always be clear on your motivation.
When we set a goal, there’s always a reason for it. If the reason is not strong enough, it will be harder to put the effort in.
So review your goals (or set new ones) and ask yourself: what is my original motivation to achieve this goal? How will I feel when I achieve it? How important is it for me? How urgent is it to achieve it? In a scale of 1 to 10, how badly do I want to achieve this goal?
Sometimes we set goals because it’s trendy or because everyone else is doing it (going to the gym, lose weight), but that might not be relevant for us.
So before setting a goal, make sure that you are clear on your motivation and level of priority.
If the driver is aligned with your values it will be much easier to keep your focus and put in the effort.
Set reminders about your goal (post-its, a background picture in your laptop or phone, a note in your morning alarm) so you don’t forget your original motivation!
2.Give yourself permission to change the goals if they’re no longer relevant
Things change. Sometimes we set an initial list of goals but life gets in the way. Priorities change.
When priorities change, it is clever to review our goals, instead of thinking we failed because we didn’t achieve them.
I rarely achieve all the goals I set myself for the year. I don’t use my list of goals as a rigid, imposed list of ‘I have to’s’, but more as a guidance.
I review my goals a few times during the year to assess if they’re still relevant and realistic. Sometimes they are not, and crossing them over doesn’t mean I failed.
In 2020, we’ve seen how rapidly and unexpectedly things can change, so flexibility and adaptability are essential skills to have.
Lack of flexibility will lead to procrastination and frustration.
So review your goals periodically and be open to make changes without judging yourself.
3.Take baby steps.
Break down your goals in attainable bits. Some goals can be overwhelming, but when you break them down into realistic small steps everything feels much easier.
Grab pen and paper to get clarity on what needs to be done, what needs to be done first, and what’s the most efficient way to do it.
Journaling is a great way to brainstorm ideas and get clarity about the best strategy, so having a special notebook for your goals can be extremely useful.
4.Identify your stoppers.
Normally they’re trying to protect ourselves, but sometimes they get to a point when they are blocking our success. That’s how some beliefs can become limiting. If you feel like you’re limiting or even sabotaging yourself, it’s time to review your beliefs and have a conversation with your inner critic or the inner part of yourself that it’s stopping you from growing and let them go.
There might also be external stoppers, so make a list of anything that might be distracting you from your goal and remove or reduce it as much as possible. Common examples include: social media, TV, negative people, bad habits, etc.
5.Have your ‘Power List’ handy.
When we feel scared it’s because we think we don’t have the resources we need to deal with whatever we are scared of. That’s why the power list is one of my favourite exercises ever. Click here for a detailed description on how to do it.
Focus on the inner and outer resources, skills and expertise you have to achieve the goal or goals you’re struggling with and read it every day!
6.Prioritise your goals.
Especially at the beginning, make sure you save time in your diary for your goals and keep those blocks of time free from other activities and commitments.
In you don’t feel comfortable with prioritising, ask yourself the following questions:
If I don’t dedicate time to achieve this goal, where is this going to take me?
If I make time to work on this goal, how do I see myself in a year’s time? How will I feel? What will I be doing?
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