09 Nov 2016
Motivation and Goals – Are you wishing and hoping or setting goals?
In my previous articles on motivation, I discussed positive VS negative motivation, i.e., making sure our thoughts were focused on positive emotions and feelings. In this discussion, I want to focus on goals. After all, without proper goal-setting, all we have are wishes and dreams.
Whatever wellness goals or dreams you may have, achieving them requires several variables. The very first and most important of these variables is your motivation. Your specific motivation for each goal has to evoke a powerful emotional state-of-mind every time you think about it in order to become the leverage you will need to create change in your life. Sometimes you will need to dig deeper than the surface of your reasons for your goals. Take weight loss for example. I often ask new clients why they want to lose weight. At first, it might be “because, I want to look and feel better.” But when we dig deeper, this motivation could become, “to live a longer healthier life”, (sometimes followed by a heart-breaking tale of a member of the family that recently past away due to a heart attack, or type II diabetes, etc.)
What differentiates our goals from a desire, wish or dream? The language we use and associate with our goals must be strong, directive, positive, and action-oriented. When we say things like “I should eat a salad instead of (insert junky food here)…” or “I need to stop getting stressed out about….” This kind of language does nothing to change our attitude or rewire the brain. Instead, start using language that will set a fire through your inner thoughts and emotions. A goal needs motivation, but also strong language to support it. Goals need to come from an “I MUST” , “I WILL”, and/or “I AM” state of mind.
WHAT’S IN A GOAL
It is great to have several long-term goals that might be 5 to 10 years away. However, in setting these goals, you must break them down into smaller short-term goals. Be sure to also have wellness and life goals that can be achieved in a 6 months to a year.
There is an easy formula for setting goals that I am going to share with you. To make the formula easy to remember, we use the acronym SMART. This stands for;
MANAGING AND MONITORING YOUR GOALS
With a well thought out goal in place, another important variable to consider is having a strategy to track and monitor the success and progress made. You will want to be able to track your success to see the progress you’ve made over time, and also to assess what may be holding you back. Try following your goals using a management cycle like this;
1) Daily objective – Your goals, being specific and measurable, should allow you to have a daily objective.
2) Plan/organize – Be prepared and plan for goals. Are you planning and preparing meals ahead of time? Are you booking your workouts at times you know you are available? Are you bringing your gear to work with you?
3) Execute – This is your action that will ultimately lead to your success.
4) Measure – Keeping a journal or log that you can use daily or weekly is a good way to measure progress. (this is great for tracking workouts, meals, mood, and productivity.)
5) Analyze – We must be able to analyze if our actions and strategies are working. This is why our goals must be measurable.
6) Modify – Be willing to modify strategies and actions to allow yourself to find success and progress with goals. If something is not working, change it. And change it as often as needed until you find progress is being made.
Reaching a goal is a great achievement, no matter if it’s just a step towards a greater goal or a long-term goal. Don’t let your achievements go unrecognized. Celebrate along the way, and reward your efforts.
There are several different ways to set up rewards for achieving your goals. One way is to determine a reward that ties into the goal itself when you reach the time. For example you might book a cruise at the end of the allotted time you set to reach your goal. I like to book a photoshoot for myself when I want to be in top shape.
Progress rewards are a great way to celebrate your dedication. Plan an outing with friends and family who can share in the excitement with you. Just be careful of progress rewards that are sabotaging your efforts. Progress rewards that compliment or aid your work in achieving your goals are great too. When I set strength or muscle-building goals, I reward my progress with new fitness equipment. – Like my cute but very heavy and challenging orange kettlebell- I also upgraded from a Fitbit to a Polar GPS watch and heart rate monitor.
Hopefully by now you have everything you need to know in order to set and take initiative. If you’re not sure where to start with your health goals try thinking about the five foundations of health; breathing, exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and thoughts. Use these as a guide to achieving the health you want in your life.
Can you come up with a SMART goal you’d like to achieve in each of the five foundations? Feel free to share some of your goals with me in the comment section below.
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