A lot of women fall into the trap of not taking the time to describe their goals clearly and positively. Due to perceived time pressures, full schedules, limiting beliefs and conditioning, we often put our own needs last or feel that spending time on goal setting would be better spent elsewhere.
However, time spent on goal setting and planning is one of most profitable uses of your time! Research has shown that setting clear goals, writing them down and making plans how to achieve them often makes the difference between achieving one’s goals and not achieving them. You may have heard of the goal achievement study (Source: What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack) conducted on Harvard MBA students in 1970. Only 3% of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13% had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84% had no specific goals at all. When the members of the class were interviewed 10 years later, the 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. However, the 3% who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% put together.
So, how clear are you on what you want to achieve? Try this exercise. Visualise or imagine yourself just after you have completed your goal, looking back at your goal and how you got there. What do you see, hear and/or feel when you have achieved your goal? What does the world look like at that time in the future? And who is there with you? Make your goal as real as possible, have fun with it and, very importantly, write down what you have visualised, heard and felt!
What happens if visualisation does not work? Some people find it very hard to visualise or describe their goals clearly, especially those goals which they have tried to achieve for a long time, but never gotten close to achieving. That could mean a number of things including:
- The goal is not right for you at this time. You may need to learn other skills or other goals need to be achieved first: Ask yourself, what is stopping you right now from going for this goal? And what would it take to overcome this obstacle?
- A limiting belief about yourself stands in the way: What do you believe about yourself that is in conflict this with goal? Ask yourself, is this belief absolutely and utterly true all the time? What evidence can you find that this belief may not be true?
- The goal is someone else’s goal for you: Ask yourself where your goal comes from. Who is constantly encouraging you to achieve this goal? And how do you really feel about this goal? Be honest with yourself!
- The goal is too complex, too big or too far in the future: Break down your goal into smaller goals and notice what difference that makes
Once you have clearly described your goal and have developed a step by step plan on how to get there, there is often one other thing that holds people back from achieving their goal: The language in which you stated the goal!
Always use positive and present tense language when describing your goal! Many people have goals to get them away from something and state their goal in negative language e.g. “I want to lose weight” (lose implying a problem and not a solution), rather than “I am achieving and sustaining my ideal weight of xx” or “I want to earn more money” (more implying a lack and thus a focus on lack) rather than “I am going to earn xx amount”.
Unfortunately, negative language often does not inspire us and makes us lose motivation quickly. If you believe in the law of attraction, then you know focussing on lack or something negative will just bring more of what we do not want.
Therefore, check out your goals and the language you use to state them to yourself and others. Is it positive, in the present tense and inspirational or it is negative, sometime in the future and aspirational?
Now, moving into the second quarter of the year, is a good time to review progress on your New Year’s resolutions or annual goals. Where you have not made the progress you wanted, you now have a great opportunity to do something about it.
If you are truly serious about achieving those goals you have set yourself, take the time and make an appointment with yourself to clearly describe your goals and prepare a goal achievement plan.