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Setting Goals That Stick: Part IV

Posted on February 18th, 2014 by Stephen Hardy | Print

In the first three blogs of this series we talked about setting SMART goals. These goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

In previous blogs we discussed how to make a goal Specific and Measurable. In this blog we look at making them:

Attainable

Any goal you set for yourself has to be more than something you think you can achieve. It has to be something you believe you deserve. We’ll say more on this second, very important point later. For now, let’s focus on making sure it is a goal you can both achieve and control.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution of running three Ultra-Marathons before the end of January when you’ve never run before and don’t own a pair of decent running shoes is just unrealistic. It is a goal you cannot possibly achieve because you’re not ready.

Likewise, winning the lottery or picking the numbers in the top prize pool is not a goal as the only control you have over it is how many tickets you buy! Achieving a goal isn’t due to good luck; it’s about good management.

So with the simple stuff out of the way, let’s look at the idea a goal has to be something you believe you deserve.

Remember the buzz a few years ago about writing positive affirmations and sticking them all around the house: On the fridge; on the bathroom mirror; on the wardrobe in the bedroom. “I am strength.” “I am abundant.” “I am loved.” “I have self esteem.” The idea was by the power of conscious will you could speak to and reprogram the subconscious mind to give you what you desired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way because your subconscious mind is much more powerful and has more control over your life than your conscious mind does. Much more…

The hard truth is you won’t achieve the goals you set for yourself until you believe, really believe deep down to your toes, you deserve them. For that your subconscious and conscious minds must agree and be pulling in the same direction. If your subconscious mind doesn’t believe what your conscious mind is telling it through your affirmations it will just say “Yeah, right” and give you what it thinks you deserve, not what your conscious mind may want. Your subconscious mind won’t buy the sales pitch.

If for example you want to increase your income by $50,000 next year yet subconsciously you don’t believe you are worth or deserve to be paid that much, then your subconscious mind will sabotage your efforts to increase your income because your subconscious mind doesn’t believe you deserve it.

So how do you convince the subconscious mind the ambitious goal you’ve set for yourself is something you can both achieve and deserve?

Do you remember the answer to the question: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is of course, “One bite at a time”. Goals are no different. One way to make a big goal believable to the subconscious mind is to break it down into lots of little goals. Ideally, these little goals should be no more than 20 – 25 % from where you are or what you are doing now. By making the target close to where you are now, you stand a good chance of the subconscious mind believing the goal you have set is both is achievable and something you do deserve.

Your goals don’t have to be huge or earth shattering. Successfully achieving lots of little goals is infinitely better than not achieving one massive goal, no matter how noble or set with the best of intentions. Will power is like a muscle: It improves with exercise. As you set your little goals and celebrate achieving them, the more familiar you become with success and the more confident and comfortable you become with setting and achieving goals. With each accomplishment and celebration of success the subconscious mind becomes more used to success. It switches from “you can’t” to “you can” to align with your conscious mind and as it does, you’ll get better at hitting what you aim for and can take on bigger and bigger challenges.

Until next time, stay happy and healthy.

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