Goals: I know what you don't want, what do you want?
It's that time of the year for many of us: Resolutions, goals, reflecting on what we did in 2016 etc. A lot of my initial work with clients is about understand their goals and I ask them what are their goals. More often than not I get "well I don't want...". This is understandable and I'm going to share some tips here in a series of posts for setting effective goals:
Thinking about what you don't want over what you do want confuses your brain. It makes an internal representation of what it is you don't want and where the mind goes, the body follows. If you're unsure about this then don't think about a purple elephant. What are you now thinking about?! Thinking about what you do want instead (which could be a reframing the goal or stating it in more positive language) will be more effective.
My second tip is related to the emotional attachment of a goal. Goals become very powerful neurological levers for change if they satisfy the following with what we believe that:
a) we can achieve it
b) we deserve to achieve it and
c) we actually want to achieve it.
If someone asks me if I can help with quitting smoking, my question back is “do you believe you can, deserve it and actually want to quit smoking?”. Quitting anything for someone else, has nowhere near the emotional pull as powerful as quitting it for you.
My final tip is for teams and businesses: Share your thoughts and goals as you form them with your colleagues, peers and stakeholders. Not only will they more coherent with wider aims and goals, you might also find that you open more doors to making them a reality. I’m amazed how few organisations do this and shudder to think of the energy wasted as a result. A good start would be the CEO team sharing, reviewing, critiquing and adapting each of their goals with each other if this is not already happening.
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