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A strategy for success!

A strategy for successWhether you want to weigh a few pounds less or find a job that pays a few pounds more, you can increase your chances of attaining your goals by having a proper strategy, says behaviour analyst Judi James.

Goal-setting involves much more than a dramatic declaration of a handful of resolutions as the clock strikes midnight on December 31.

The majority of these well-intentioned but poorly thought-out resolutions are consigned to history the moment we breach them – which is often sooner rather than later!

While making big life changes is never easy, there are some important steps you can take to prepare yourself for challenging times ahead and maximise your chances of attaining your goals. 

Set clear, specific goals

One vital aspect of goal-setting is to be clear at the outset what your goals actually are. Be specific about your goals, as your brain will work better on clear, rather than vague, targets.
 
For example, if your goal is to become more confident, ask yourself, “What type of confidence do I long for and what would that ‘new me’ look like?” Or, rather than setting a general goal to lose weight, be clear about how much weight you want to shift, and within what time frame.
 
When you choose a goal, be clear about the consequences of achieving that goal. It’s easy to list objectives that are low on long-term appeal, or which you think you should be setting, rather than the ones you want to set.
 
Listen to your own voice as you list goals. Is this something you want to do – or something you think you should be doing to keep other people happy? 

Work out a goal-setting strategy

Once you’re clear about your goals, it’s time to work out a strategy to achieve them. A proper goal-setting strategy involves making a list in advance of all the stages involved achieving your goals.
 
Set targets for each stage, rather than starting the New Year with a set of huge and unrealistic ‘do it now or else’ goals.
Here are some more tips for goal-setting that will increase your chances of success:

  • Never baulk at making a written list of your goals. Research proves that writing goals down gives you a much better chance of achieving them. Try using a pen and paper, too, as the physical act of writing (rather that tapping into a computer) creates a sense of a contract, implying commitment.
  • Make your strategies long term, rather than instant, and list markers for success at every stage.
  • Create a ‘goal-grid’ by identifying the degree of challenge for each goal. Some goals will be harder to achieve than others and anticipating this and planning for it is vital. Will you need new skills? If so, how/where can you get them? At what points will you need some vital re-motivating? How can you plan for that?
  • Avoid an ‘all or nothing’ approach to your goals. Setting strict rules that can easily be ‘broken’ will risk the instant collapse of your plans.
  • List simple ‘next steps’ that are easily achievable. Tasks look better if you take small steps towards steady improvement, rather than facing your ambitious goal as an imposing whole.
  • Focus on the gaps, not the trees. It will help to set your thinking towards how your goal can be achieved, rather than focusing purely on the barriers.
  • Visual stimulus is a powerful aspect in the goal-achievement process. Get a photo or picture that represents your goal and pin it above your desk or bed.

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