Set Goals You’ll Achieve and Claim Your Best Life
Do you ever wonder why some guys seem to hit every goal they set? While others struggle to even take the first step towards their goals? The difference may be in the finer details of how the goal is being set.
Communication, whether with ourselves or with others, is critical in today’s society. Goal setting is simply the process of communicating our targets and future life with the part of the mind that will go out and seek it –- the unconscious mind.
Yet despite the importance of being able to communicate effectively, rarely are we ever taught how to communicate. Or what the meaning of communication is. We’re not taught the importance of honoring the communication that’s happening with ourselves.
The majority of the population choose their words unconsciously, maybe even carelessly. Very few people consider the meaning of the words that they use, or the impact those words will have on the receiver before the words fall out of their mouth. And, we are typically even less self-aware when it comes to communicating with ourselves because our own brains should understand what we mean… right?
Wrong. This is why 90% of the population struggles to achieve their goals. This is also why New Year’s Resolutions have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.
We don’t communicate in words. For everything we say, the person we’re speaking to (including ourselves) gets an image in their head. How they interpret that image determines how they interpret what has been said to them. Allow me to demonstrate…
I want to travel to an isolated beach and stay in a hut over the water for a week.
What picture do you have in your head? To make sense of that sentence, you had to get a picture of an isolated beach and a hut over the water. Your experiences and beliefs about isolation, beach, and huts over water will impact what that picture in your mind looks like.
Here’s the thing: If we’re choosing our words carelessly, we then lack control over the picture that is created.
This is a FATAL goal setting mistake. Within our unconscious mind (the part of our mind that drives behavior) is our filtering system, the Reticular Activating System, or RAS. The RAS is like our internal GPS. When we set a goal, the RAS holds onto a picture of that goal and seeks out the faster and easiest way to make that goal happen.
So how can you make sure you’re putting the right image into your RAS? Here are three simple self-communication tips to ensure you set yourself up for success in achieving your goals.
Watch Your Words
If this lesson hasn’t hit home enough yet, let’s dig into a little deeper. There are certain words the unconscious mind processes in a way that will bring any momentum or success to a grinding halt. The first word we need to remove from our vocabulary is “not” or any derivative of not (ie. don’t, can’t, etc). The unconscious mind is unable to process negatives. Here’s an example…
Don’t think of a purple frog.
What picture do you have in your head? A purple frog!
If we set a goal like, “I don’t have any debt” or “I don’t want a partner who cheats on me,” then we give the RAS a picture of what we don’t want and seek out more what we don’t want. It then sets out to find us those things as quickly and easily as possible. Remember: what we focus on expands! Instead, focus on what you do want.
Another word to eliminate from your goal setting (and your vocabulary in general!) is “try”. To the unconscious mind try means, “this isn’t important enough to commit to, so I have an excuse to fail”. Anyone who “tries” to do anything rarely succeeds. Instead, remove your excuses and commit!
We’ve all heard of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, responsible, and timely). Being specific when communicating your goals is particularly important to the unconscious mind.
If the goal or end result is too ambiguous, the unconscious mind won’t be able to create a picture to move towards. In the absence of a specific picture, it will continue to move towards whatever beliefs or programming is already installed in the unconscious.
For example, setting a goal to be “financially free” won’t move the RAS into action. Instead, set a specific dollar amount you want to see your bank account!
Emotions drive actions. Our unconscious mind is inherently emotional (and lacks any capacity for logic and reason). If the goals you set aren’t making you emotional (in a good way, go on get excited!) then you’re unlikely to take action. At the same time, if your current situation isn’t causing you discomfort, you also may not be motivated to act.
There are two types of goals we can set –- towards motivated goals and away from motivated goals.
Away from motivated goals are when the pain or discomfort of our current situation is so intense that we have to take action. Think about people with unhealthy habits like smoking, when they witness someone close to them die, or they have a brush with death themselves, they can easily and quickly stop smoking. People who are overweight are typically spurred into action when they are unable to fit into their wardrobe anymore. The pain of where they are pushes them to take action.
“Away from” motivation is a great way to get started, however, the motivation only lasts while the pain or discomfort is present. It’s not uncommon for someone with a weight loss goal to completely lose motivation at the halfway point because the intensity of their situation no longer causes them the discomfort that pushed them to move.
Towards motivated goals focus on a reward at the end that creates a strong emotion such as pride, excitement, or sheer bliss. Brides wanting to look slim in their wedding dress, people who reward themselves with holidays, cars or houses are motivated to continue taking action towards their goal, even once the pain of their current situation dissipates, because of the emotion of the reward at the end is so strong it continues to pull them towards the goal.
You Deserve Your Best Life
It’s ok to use pain to motivate you to take action, just make sure your goal also contains towards motivation and the emotions you’ll feel once you reach the goal.
Create some time in your schedule to review your goals and make changes based on these three steps. The sooner these changes are implemented into your goal-setting process, the faster you’ll experience their power and achieve your goals!
What goals have you set for yourself?
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Photo Credit: @dsmacinnes on Unsplash