Making your 2010 Goals Work
Written by Harlan Goerger
Goals for 2009 were ok, but could have been better? How can you make 2010 even stronger by eliminating avoidance.
In the last article, the reason most goals do not work was uncovered. (Why We Can't Change) This article will give you specific steps to overcome those barriers and accomplish more in 2010!
Interested? Read on…
People motivation is complicated and complex, yet if we can focus on basic truths progress can be astounding. The simplified view is we either move toward "gain" in some form, or move away from or avoid "pain" in some way.
The first step to making you goals for 2010 is to understand which moves you forward and which holds you back.
From observations and the research of others, the majority of highly successful goal achievers utilize both "gain" and "avoidance" to their advantage. Those not achieving their goals tend to allow the "avoidance" to rule them.
First, the characteristics of the goal achievers.
Jill has a clear vision of what she wants that is better than today or yesterday. This vision has her emotionally attached to it and the "pain" of not achieving it is much greater than any "pain" she may encounter on the way. Each day Jill refocuses on the outcome of this vision and takes steps to overcome whatever barriers she may encounter. Yes, Jill has bad days and frustration just like anyone else. The difference is Jill does not allow these minor "pains" to misdirect her away from the vision. Jill is motivated by the "gain" of the vision and the "avoidance" of reliving the "pain" she feels today.
An example of this positive "avoidance" from one national speaker; A Girl Scout comes to his door selling cookies for $2 a box. He does not have the $2 to spend and makes up the excuse that he had already bought from another girl. He closes the door and says; "This will never happen again"! He is now motivated to do better and "avoid" ever experiencing not having $2 for a Girl Scout again. The "pain" of his current situation is far greater than any "pain" he may encounter in the future.
How is this different for the person who is not achieving the goals?
Jack may have the same or even great skills and abilities, but allows the "avoidance" of "pain" in the present to keep him in the present. Jack may have a vision yet may not truly be emotionally attached to it or believe it's possible.
Because Jack is more motivated by "avoidance" of "pain" today, he ends up "avoiding" the activities that will accomplish his goals. Jack is a manager, he tends to "avoid" conflict with anyone because it is uncomfortable and he has very little skill. Rather than take conflict training or asking for help, Jack has become "comfortable" with his current "pain" and has developed "avoidance" behaviors that keep him comfortable. Everyone else is aware of this and unfortunately, lost faith in Jack's leadership ability. Because Jack has chosen to be comfortable with his current "pain", he has no real vision that drives him, only frustration that he is not moving forward. By being comfortable with his current "pain", Jack is more motivated to "avoid" any additional or future challenges that would accomplish goals. Thus, Jack settles for the current day situation and creates excuses for his "avoidance". Jack's goals are generally never completed.
Now do you identify with Jill? Jack? Or both?
How does one become more like Jill and accomplish more goals?
Here are a few actions that will help.
1. Be aware of your feelings next time you take a new action that is uncomfortable. Are there any feelings or thoughts that come through saying, avoid this! What are they? Where do these feelings and thoughts come from? What is the source of these feelings and thoughts?
This awareness is the first step. Identify what you are "avoiding" and why! Many times when we discover the "why" we find a ridiculous source that is completely unfounded or substantiated. From here, we can make a plan to overcome and eliminate this avoidance barrier.
2. Take the time to create a very clear and emotionally important future vision of what you want in your life. It is important to hand write this with pen and paper. Research shows writing versus typing into a computer creates more retention and more emotional attachment to the ideas.
If this is uncomfortable for you, then we are getting to one of the root causes for avoidance! Do it anyway; because this is the first barrier to break down. Put in lots of detail and include what is most important to you. Yes, this could take hours, days and weeks if needed. Do it anyway because this is your future.
3. Now compare your future vision with today. How does it feel to look at today and the future side by side? If today is causing a great deal of "pain", you're on the right track. The brain has to choose one or the other, today's pain as comfort or tomorrows gain as more pleasurable. If this pain drives you towards the vision, great we are going in the right direction! If the vision causes you pain, there is more work to be done.
Perhaps your vision is too big for you to currently believe, then bring it down some. For example, you barely make the end of the month with your income, yet your vision is traveling the world on your multi-million dollar yacht. This simply is too big a jump for your brain to make! Try instead to envision having $1,000 left at the end of each month; what does that feel like, look like, act like? This smaller stretch is more realistic and obtainable and your brain will accept it.
4. Now you have a future vision to focus on, your next step is to execute a plan that overcomes the avoidance you uncovered in step one.
a. One strategy that works well is the "frog in the morning" approach. Identify your major avoidance and then take action first thing each day to do exactly what you are avoiding. Yes, this can be stressful and uncomfortable, yet in a few short tries, you will find yourself not avoiding it! Simply keep focused on the future vision rather than the current "pain". Then implement this action as a daily routine that will help you tackle other avoidance's.
b. Create daily, weekly and monthly routines. This consistent discipline with smaller actions will set up a success pattern and circumvent the avoidance actions. One man simply did his regular "get ready for work" routine seven days a week no matter what. He soon found his procrastination diminished because he was always ready to go!
c. Focus on what you dislike about your current situation today. What "pain "do you want to avoid that exists today? What part of your future vision replaces this "pain"? What will never happen again? Now you are using "avoidance" in a positive future oriented way that drives you away from today and towards tomorrow.
To summarize, there is no reason to set goals for 2010 until you have the above in place; it will simply be a repeat of all the previous years.
Who else does this? How about the top 5% that own 95% of the wealth! They are always pushing their personal envelop and being proactive rather than reactive and comfortable. Now it's your turn!
To your success, it's your choice!
© Harlan Goerger 12-2009
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