The New Year and the first week of January are traditional times for new resolutions and setting goals. But what is the difference? Well a resolution is something that we vow to do, or not to do. It relates to habitual behaviour that we want to either stop doing or incorporate into our lives. So you may make a New Year’s resolution not to lend your brother any more money, or to stop biting your nails or to go for a walk three times a week.
A goal however, is something specific we want to achieve, something we are aiming for. So if your resolution is to stop biting your nails, perhaps the goal is to have nice nails. If you want to start walking three times a week, perhaps your goal is to lose weight or feel fitter. And if you are not lending your brother any more money, it could be because it always leaves you short if he procrastinates in paying you back, or perhaps you want him to take more responsibility for his finances.
Usually our goals are set higher and are something we seriously want to achieve within a certain time-frame; something we are passionate about and are determined is going to bring us success maybe. We all have goals, right? You know the type of goals I mean, the sort that are connected to improving our life in some way whether a career goal such as getting a promotion, increasing our income, setting up our own business etc. or a personal goal like losing weight, getting fit or finding ways to improve our mental health.
However, unless we specifically state the outcome that we want, how we will know when we have achieved it. The chances are, we have set ourselves a dangerous goal. Now let’s not get all dramatic about this!! Wanting nice nails or wanting to feeling fitter does not seem particularly dangerous, but, unless we are clear about the outcome, even those types of resolutions and goals are doomed to fail. So ‘I resolve to stop biting my nails’ may on the surface appear to be quite innocent. But! Have you thought about why, have you thought about what you can do differently this year to be successful, (I say this as a habitual nail biter!). What I am getting at is – what or where is the motivation to make sure a resolution is successful, or achieving a goal is successful.
A dangerous goal is a goal that puts a lot of pressure and stress on you to achieve something that is actually an unrealistic target. Having a powerful strong goal can keep you focused and motivated for sure, but what happens as time goes by and it starts taking longer than you anticipated getting things off the ground, to see progress and start feeling like you are actually on your way? Are you certain you haven’t been overwhelmed by the constant stream of messages in your daily environment telling you to think big, dream big and go for it? If you have ever felt stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated by not achieving targets you have set yourself despite feeling incredibly passionate and motivated at the time you set them, and despite believing you have made a very specific goal within a time-frame, then perhaps you have been setting yourself dangerous goals.
The key to setting achievable goals is to have a realistic outcome. Making sure your goal has realistic stepping stones factored in so you can actually give yourself a chance to once and for all achieve that big and powerful goal to ultimately change your life will mean you have the best possible chance to succeed in something that you have only dreamed about. Focusing on the finer details and making a full and complete plan which gets updated regularly is how we achieve our goals; otherwise all we have are dreams…! So whether you have a new resolution or a goal you want to achieve this year, follow these steps to success – and for me, hopefully nice nails!
- Step 1: Define what the goal is
- Step 2: State why you want to achieve that goal – what is the point of setting it in the first place
- Step 3: Explain how you will know when you have achieved it – what exactly will have happened, or not happened
- Step 4: Imagine yourself being successful, what are you feeling, what is happening around you, what are the benefits of reaching that goal
- Step 5: Tell yourself what will happen if you do achieve it
- Step 6: Say what won’t happen if you do achieve it
- Step 7: Now state what will happen if you don’t achieve it
- Step 8: Then explain what won’t happen if you don’t achieve it
- Step 9: State again exactly what your goal is – redefine it if necessary
- Step 10: Now clearly explain the motivation and reasoning behind wanting to achieve that goal