If you checked out our last blog you should have some great SMART goals that span a wide range of areas of your life. You may think that the next step is to go out and do but actually there are some other steps that come first:
These are all very important steps that can be overlooked or underplayed when it comes to going for goals. True, do-ers may still be effective without these things because they are so focussed. But if you consciously use these strategies and make them into habits then you will find that the whole process of goal attainment becomes more streamlined and efficient – allowing you to get more done than the unconscious do-er.
Positive Goal Scripts
In this article I want you to focus on the language you use ‘on yourself’ when you are considering working on your goals. Your SMART goal should already be framed in the positive – ‘I want to go to the gym three times a week’ rather than ‘I don’t want to be fat and lazy’. But even with a positive goal in mind people still mistreat their goals when it comes to the crunch.
Imagine for example that your goal is centred around going to the gym more often. You have finished work and are trying to give yourself that extra push of motivation to ensure you end up at the gym. What do you say to yourself?
Probably something like: I ought to drive to the gym, I must get to the gym class, I should do my exercises.
Just say these things to yourself over and over …
Try closing your eyes and saying it…
See how you feel…
Probably not much like going to the gym - and there’s a very good reason for that!
Towards and Away from Language
Language is very powerful. The words we use have hidden meanings and knowing how to use this to your advantage can help you reprogramme your thought processes. (See articles on Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP for more details).
Even though it is your consciousnesses that uses the actual words, your subconscious fills in the blanks with all sorts of associations and connotations that can influence your mood. When you say:
Your subconscious starts to say “because…” There are two types of motivation. ‘Away from’ motivation is where your mind is focussed on a negative or painful result that you want to get away from.
“I MUST / OUGHT / NEED / SHOULD go to the gym.” because if I don’t then I’ll be lazy, fat and unhealthy which will make me feel bad etc. The words in bold are associated with the negative outcome and so saying must, should, need to and ought to can make you feel quite down about your goal. It starts to come with pressure, guilt, anxiety and a sense of obligation which can all add up to put you off doing the thing you have set out to do.
The opposite language pattern is ‘towards’ motivation. This is where you are focussed on a positive outcome that you would like to move towards.
“I WANT TO / WOULD LIKE TO / WOULD LOVE TO / AM GOING TO go to the gym.” because if I do then I’ll get fitter, healthier and have a better body shape, which will make me feel good etc. The words in bold are associated with the positive outcome and so saying those phrases can make you feel pumped, enthusiastic and happy about your goal. It is important to note that not everyone may ‘love’ going to the gym, but even saying I am ‘going to’ or ‘I can do this’ is significantly more positive than the ‘away from’ phrases listed above.
Choose your words carefully
There is a time and place for each type of language. Some people need to feel the pressure and urgency of a goal before they can do it – often the people who snooze until the last minute when they really NEED to get up are motivated by ‘away from’ more than ‘towards’. However, they probably feel in a state of panic or urgency for a lot of the time. Nothing will get done until it is desperate and they may find themselves always juggling goals based on a deadline rather than by their importance or meaning.
Training yourself to use ‘towards’ language more often means that you are focussing on a positive future and choosing the goals to work on that lead you in the best direction. It also puts you into a much better emotional state for tackling the goal, as you are thinking about the positive outcome.
Try it with any task or goal on your list. Take 5 minutes before you start to actively change your language patterns. Close your eyes and say to yourself:
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