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The Scientific Way to Set Goals You Will Achieve
Posted by Nicky Coffin
‘Be motivated and inspired, develop a positive mental attitude’; all of which are suggestions we hear consistently on social media and the latest meme that shoots past us on Facebook.
Well-meaning they are too – and yet how do you as a business leader keep on top of your game, motivated, inspired and always ready for action.
It boils down to a couple of things: having goals linked to a compelling why.
Do this and the next 365 days will be so much easier and dare I say, enjoyable too.
So, in today’s post, I want to talk about how to motivate yourself using the power of why you are running your business in the first place and how to set some compelling goals.
What do I Mean by Motivating yourself 365 Days a year?
Well, it’s about having a reason that is so compelling that even when the chips are down, and you’re hitting obstacle after obstacle, feeling demotivated, that you’re able to pick yourself up and keep going because there’s a purpose that is reminding you that yes, you can get over this hurdle because the goal on the other side is worth it.
These might be:
- Creating a secure financial future, so your significant other no longer needs to work
- Building a legacy and family asset that your children can take over
- Developing such a strong business that you can take six months of the year off to work in a charity, or spend more time with your family.
Only your imagination limits the ideas, by the way. In our RockIT programme our members all have compelling goals like these.
I’ll come back to this topic of setting goals that are meaningful to you in more detail later in this post.
The First Step: Get Clear on Your Vision and Goals
Now, there are a couple of keys to motivating yourself consistently. Firstly, it’s essential to get clarity on a strong, powerful and clear vision or goal that you really want. Something that excites you, where you’re truly living the life that you want.
The thing about goals is they help us focus on what we want and consequently when they are linked to our ‘why’ or big compelling reason why we are running our recruitment business, they direct our energy towards achieving it.
When you have a sufficiently compelling goal, all of your resources are directed towards bringing that future about because what you focus on ultimately becomes your reality, and the brighter and more vivid you can make this vision, the more confident you’ll feel about it happening.
Another thing to remember is that every single scientific innovation, song, painting, electronic device or movie or political movement started as an idea in somebody’s creative mind.
Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Sara Blakely, Sheryl Sandberg…. and the list
goes on. This is why having goals in your imagination are so powerful.
The Power of The Written Word
The second key is to write your goal down. I’m sure you’ve heard that if you want to achieve a goal, you need to write it down. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but it does work.
There is a commonly quoted story about a Harvard University research project into the power of written goals, and it goes something like this.
Scientists polled a class of 1953 at Harvard and found 3% of the students had written their goals down, and in the class reunion of 1973, they found that 97% of the people who’d written their goals down had actually achieved them, compared to 34% of the people who hadn’t written them down.
In a recent article on Forbes, a research paper on gender and goal setting revealed that both men and women need to do a better job of writing down their goals. In fact, when questioned about how vivid their goal was, less than 20% of people said their goal was written down vividly.
By writing your goal down, it triggers something in your mind called the reticular activating system. It’s a diffuse network of nerve pathways in the brainstem connecting the spinal cord, cerebrum, and cerebellum, and mediating the overall level of consciousness – pretty powerful!
It’s a filter that accepts or rejects information into our consciousness, and you can set this filter by consciously choosing to think about certain things. One of the most familiar examples of the reticular activating system, or RAS, is when you buy a new car.
You start seeing the same make and model and colours all over the place. Now, they were there all the time, but your RAS only allowed the information to enter your consciousness when you told it that that piece of information was important.
Stay with me because this will be so critical as you move forward in scaling your recruitment business.
Why? Because by writing down what you want in your life triggers the RAS system, and you’ll start to notice opportunities which will bring you further towards your goal.
What questions could you ask?
First, grab a pen and let’s start: The first question to ask yourself is, what do you really want from your business?
What do you want in your life?
Imagine it’s a year in the future and it’s been the best year of your life. What’s happened? What do you see and hear?
Who are you becoming?
What new thinking and behaviours have you practised?
Describe this as if it were happening right now. What are you doing, and how are you NOW spending your time? How does this make you feel?
What do you see yourself doing in your vision?
When everything’s flowing and succeeding in your work, how does that make you feel? Also, what do you hear? What’s happening as you’re getting the success you want?
Write down your thought; you now have your compelling vision.
Understanding Why You Want Your Goal
Remember earlier, when we talked about setting a meaningful goal for you. The critical thing now is to understand why you want this, and the big why is probably the most crucial driver.
It’s the primary reason why you either will or will not successfully achieve your goal and be motivated, because as you come across challenges and obstacles on your journey to achieving your goals, which you will because this is what happens in life, it’s going to be your big why which keeps you going.
If you’ve got no idea why you want to achieve a goal, then you’ll soon lose focus, and your energy will run out fast.
It would be best if you made your why so big that when you hit an obstacle, you’re still able to see your goal way above that obstacle, reminding you and calling you that, yes, you can get over this hurdle and it’s going to be worth stepping outside your comfort zone because this is why you’re doing it.
Looking at your vision, ask yourself, why do I want this goal? What will having this give me or get for me? What will achieving this enable me to do, be, have, or create?
Important: Your answer should just be a few words long. People want what they want for a variety of reasons. Some people want to have money because they think it will give them security. Others want it because they believe it will buy them freedom.
Others want it because it gives them a sense of achievement or success. Each one of these words represents your highest values, the things are most important to you and bring you a sense of meaning in your life.
Now, this may be making you feel a little uncomfortable, which is a good thing because after all, this is what it will feel like if you don’t change where you’re headed.
Allow yourself to go there and feel what it’s like to not achieve your goals. If you’re not feeling uncomfortable by now, then you need to go deeper and be honest with yourself.
This next statement may need to be read a couple of times. The good thing is it’s the mantra that all successful people live by.
You need to see that comfortable is the worst you can be if you want to make a real change because feeling uncomfortable makes us take action and action will change our results.
You should by now be feeling a strong push and pull inside you, pushing you and pulling you towards your goals. You should feel a sense of urgency to act. If not, then go back to your why and ask yourself those questions again.
Would you like our help to get clear on your goals so that you can move forward? We can help you identify what’s sabotaging your growth, and we will do it for free. Every month we open a few free coaching slots. We will help you identify the hidden profit centres in your business too. Click here and apply for your session now.
Nicky and Katy