by Margaret Stone, Life & Executive Coach
The Dalai Lama once said “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done…… one is called yesterday …… the other is called tomorrow…. so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live”. Oh yeah and start on that bucket list! Have you got one? When is the right time to jump on board and enjoy the trip?
Imagine you sat down tonight and shared your goals with those close to you. Imagine how that would feel. Good right? Wow now it’s more real than ever… you receive encouragement which makes you feel even closer to the goal. Almost there! What next? When is the right time to start on the first step?
What will help you to jump on board with these goals? Does life carry you along or do you jump on board and put yourself in the driving seat to really achieve the goals you dream of. What will the journey be like? Rough/smooth, worthwhile or a waste of time? Not convinced? Neither am I but… Remember when you were getting a pep talk in school before exams and you were told “when stuck, write whatever comes to mind – just write down the first thing that comes to you and the rest will come”..
We can hold ourselves back from even attempting the first step… When is the right time? If, like me, you are a P (perceiving MBTI type) then you can procrastinate till the cows come home waiting for the push that helps you do your best work. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this blog post in the 12th hour just before it is due!! You reflect on your goal, mentally plan and write it, have conversations in your head about it …sound familiar? If you don’t try it you will never know if its right for you or not. Now this would really stress some people out.. stress is bad for you. Right..?? Not quite!. only if you believe it is bad for you! Studies show that if you believe stress to be good for you, that it helps your heart work better and pushes the blood around your body to really perform, then it will work for you. And with you…
A recent study on IQ and EQ showed that those with lower IQ but who had higher optimism levels got past the barriers to achieving their goal more effectively than the person with a higher IQ… If you have a glass half full mentality then you are half way there too…. I’m convinced…
WHERE DO I START …TESTING THE WATER…
I use the Understanding Goals tool (click here) for clients who might be stuck/ not sure where they want to go. When they drill down to what the goal will give them, the bottom line can give astonishing results. I remember working with one client who was very clear on what he wanted and at one session we worked on this tool. He put the goal he had been working on in the first box and, if I remember correctly, the end box read that the goal would help him feel that he was providing for his family. I then encouraged him to look at another goal which related to a dream in the far distant future. The end box here read very different – Fulfillment (whilst still providing for his family). Not a lot you can argue with here which option would you choose?
DEFINE YOUR GOAL, step by step.
The next step is to more clearly define your goal. Are you really committed, make a good idea a great one. Reflect on a time where you have succeeded in reaching a goal, can you repeat those good habits here. What could hinder your progress what has hindered you in the past. Review and rewrite your plan to build in supports to avoid this. Through Coaching or a trusted friend (choose wisely) you may like to be accountable to someone else … this may keep you on track just as we do when losing weight… you avoid that extra piece of chocolate if you know you need to report back!
However, and this is a big however, studies have found that if you share your goal with others, verbalising the goal will trick your mind into thinking the goal has been already achieved and you will be less inclined to reach your goal in reality. As far back as 1926 Kurt Lewin Social Psychologist called this substitution and more recently you will hear Derek Sivers present at a Ted Talk on the same topic, worth a look…
So how do you avoid the mind tricking us like this? When sharing your goal, if sharing , share the goal but ALSO the steps you need to make to get there then your journey will be clearer. Like this… my goal is to run a marathon in the next year, I’m going to start going running three times a week for three miles etc. etc…
RESEARCH & POSITIVITY
Surround yourself with positive people, those who will support you, network network network. If you get stuck, Google will probably be able to give you some light on the issue . Perhaps you can link in with on line forum with like minded people?
Reward yourself on the little steps not just the big ones and remind yourself that YOU ARE AS SUCCESSFUL AT THIS GOAL AS YOU CAN BE TODAY.
Oh yes and don’t forget to send me a postcard!
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