Body language for goal confidence!
Having positive and confident body language can be a powerful ally in helping us attain our goals, says behaviour analyst Judi James. But how do we adapt the (often subconscious) non-verbal signals we send to ourselves and others?
Using negative or defensive body language - the crossed arms, slumped
shoulders, fidgeting hands, lack of eye contact - can undermine your
chances of attaining your goals without you even realising it.
By slumping and looking unhappy about your objectives, you make them feel undesirable, which will trigger your subconscious to underachieve, or even send ‘quit’ signals.
Body language creates two sets of signals:
interpersonal – what the signals say to other people; and intrapersonal – the signals your body language sends to yourself.
Getting your body ‘state’ right is vital, as it endorses your goals in your own subconscious, which makes achievement more possible. Your body language will ‘sell’ your goals to you.
Showing you mean it!
The more aware you become of your body language, the easier it will be to correct it as you catch yourself slipping into bad habits.
Use open and emphatic gestures with a relaxed facial expression and few barriers, such as crossed arms.
Avoid body language that reveals ‘self-comfort leakage’, such as fidgeting, hand-wringing or tapping.
The most lethal gestures are what are called ‘denial’ rituals. These are all those little guilty or grinning facial expressions, eye-rolls and dismissive hand gestures that are performed while you talk about your goals – or any passive or submissive gestures that suggest you have no control over your own behaviour and goal achievement.
When you talk about your goals, make sure your verbal and non-verbal dialogues sound and look congruent – ie that you mean what you’re saying.
For example, using phrases like, “I’ll try to give up smoking” and using guilty smiles and shrugs will tell your brain that you’re expecting to fail. Saying “I don’t smoke” and endorsing that with confident and honest body language will create a much more powerful intrapersonal message.
Be aware that displaying ‘unhappy’ body
language can trigger other people to press you into giving up. Refusing cake because you’re on a diet, while eyeing that cake longingly and pulling guilty faces, can prompt sympathetic friends to start talking you out of your diet.
Creating 'future history'
You can create what’s called ‘future history’ by looking and acting like someone who has already achieved their goals. Standing upright, using more eye contact and sporting a relaxed smile will make you look more confident/slimmer/successful. Performing success is a vital prompt to achieving it!
Finally, be aware of the ‘triangle of achievement’: the thought in your head affects your feelings, which affects your behaviour, which in turn affects your thoughts. Change at any of those three points will boost your motivation – and your body language is often the easiest to change.
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