It’s that time of year again.
Time to look back on the past year: Wins, Losses, Lessons, Blessings.
And to think about the coming year: Hopes, Wishes, Goals, Fears, Plans.
You may be one of those people who takes time to be intentional and mindful about these things. Or you might only be slightly aware of these kinds of thoughts in the back of your mind. But either way, it’s something we all do, isn’t it?
In fact, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions, which makes them 10 times more likely to achieve their outcomes than the rest of us who don’t explicitly make resolutions.
Even so… only 8% of them will be successful in achieving their resolution.
What do they know that we don’t?
In my work, I am always talking to people about their goals. Even more frequently in December and January, which is why I do live workshops where we sit down as a group and walk through the process together.
The trick to being one of the success stories when it comes to resolutions is in how that goal is constructed, not just consciously, but in your unconscious mind. While you use the conscious mind to set goals, the unconscious is what gets goals.
So how do you get goals into your unconscious?
A good starting point is to make your goal SMART.
Most people know about SMART goals:
SMART goals have been talked about in detail, ad infinitum, everywhere, all the time – so I won’t get into that here. While those are all great guidelines, you can use another version of SMART to make achieving the goal feel almost effortless:
Simple: Since your unconscious is all about efficiency, if your goal is too difficult to recall, recite, or picture, you’ll feel a lot of resistance until you eventually give up.
Meaningful: Your goal, and the picture of success that you create in your mind, must create strong positive emotions for you. This is the fuel that will keep you moving toward it automatically. If your goal is for someone else, or your vision doesn’t create those good feelings, you will get to a point where you just don’t care enough to put in the willpower.
As If Now: There is just something magical that happens when you take a minute to live in your vision of success, as if you have already accomplished your goal. For some reason it feels a lot better to pretend to have it now, than it does to think about having it one day in the future. And, more importantly, when you come back to reality, you will create the unconscious feeling that you had your goal, and it was just taken away… And people always put in more effort to get back something they feel like they lost.
Responsible: Your unconscious mind prioritizes what is good for you, good for those around you, and good for the world. People often set goals without realizing that achieving that goal would create conflict or hardship for yourself or someone else. But the unconscious mind is aware of things like that, and you will sabotage yourself in order to protect yourself. So make sure to look at the consequences of success, and how that will affect you, your family, your coworkers, and your environment.
Toward what you want: Since people find pain more motivating that pleasure, most goals are built around the things you don’t want. And the unconscious mind is not great at processing negatives, which means if you’re focusing on what you don’t want, your unconscious will move you in that direction.
A tip for what to do next: After your goal is all kinds of SMART, decide, right in this moment, what your next action will be.
What is the simplest thing you can do to take a single step toward achieving your goal?
There is so much more to the goal-setting process, and one day I’ll create an online course to walk you through the full thing.
But for now, if you happen to be in southern Ontario, Canada, join us at Create Your Future NOW, our live workshop in London, where we will not only set goals, but help you decide on actions and show you how to access the motivation you need to keep you going throughout the year.
What about you? What tips & tricks do you use to achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments!