So far in this series helping us to #Finish2020Strong, we’ve:
taken 3 steps to a fresh start, letting go of the past and allowing ourselves to dream about our future
narrowed our focus so that all of these possible dreams have become one clear dream to pursue.
And now it’s time to turn that dream into a goal.
But what’s the difference? 🤔
Dreams are vague, loose ideas of something you want at some point.
Goals are something specific that you are working towards by a particular day.
Which do you think is more likely to happen…?
There are all sorts of different ways to turn a dream into a goal - often using an acronym!
I covered these in an earlier blog post.
Today we are going to focus on one particular method: the Well-Formed Outcome.
Follow these steps to frame your dream as a powerfully motivating goal.
1. State what you want (not what you don’t want)
This is so important! The brain does not take account of negatives.
I’ve mentioned the famous polar bear experiment before, inspired by Dostoevsky.
Or another way to look at it: if I ask you NOT to think of a purple elephant riding a bicycle, what do you immediately think of…?
By the same token, you can’t have as a goal feeling “not stressed”. Instead, choose “calm”, or “peaceful’.
You need to use the same approach when defining your goal to #Finish2020Strong: make it an active, positive statement, not a negative avoidant one.
2. Specify how much/ by when
A goal without a deadline is meaningless.
So really think about when you want to achieve this goal by.
Put an actual, specific, concrete date on it.
Don’t let yourself wriggle: if you are to have any hope of achieving your goal, you need to set a date to achieve it by.
And if you can quantify it in any other way - by how much money; or by an increase in however many numbers - that really helps too. Get as specific as you can.
3. Make it live
Next, make your goal come alive:
ask yourself, what would it feel like to achieve that goal? Satisfying, pleased, proud?
go deeper: and what would that give you? A sense of achievement, positive feedback, promotion?
go deeper: and what would THAT give you? More money, a better reputation, the admiration of my peers…?
and keep going: what would THAT give you? A greater chance of succeeding in my chosen career, the opportunity to go on holiday/ buy something I want, an enormous feeling of wellbeing and pride?
Keep going until you’ve really followed through on all of the positive ramification of achieving your goal - especially how you will FEEL as a result.
And if you can, try to find a representation of what the world looks like once you’ve achieved your goal:
the feeling of achievement expressed as a colour;
the amount of money you will get written on a post-it and stuck to your laptop;
or a picture of the car/ house/ phone you will buy as your screensaver.
Remind yourself visually of the outcome of achieving your goal: it will act as a powerful incentive.
4. What is the first step?
This is a very powerful part of the process.
We can become inspired and motivated by the idea of our achievement - only to then get overwhelmed.
How do you even begin to achieve a goal like that?
Well, it’s very simple: identify the first step.
Whatever that step is: whether it’s buying a book or watching a video that will teach you something crucial; blocking some time in your calendar to think about it; arranging a phone call with someone vital to your goal.
There will be one easy step that you can take NOW - today or at the latest tomorrow - to start you on your path towards achieving your goal.
So decide what it is, and take it.
You will immediately break the inertia of overwhelm, and it will make it so much easier to continue taking action to achieve your goal.