I’m a goal setting master. However, like many other humans out there (maybe you?), I lose motivation quickly and eventually my goals disappear into the ether only to be heard of again when it’s time to make a change and set a new goal…and the cycle continues.
A few years ago I did Whole30 in January. It was rough. Clean eating for 30 days! No chocolate, no cookies, no alcohol, no cheese, no bread, no, no, no. There were easy days and there were hard days even towards the end. But, I did end up completing the entire Whole 30. I was proud but eventually I went back to my old ways of overeating junk food.
Here are my goals for 2021…
Every human who wants to better themselves goes through this cycle…They set a goal or a resolution and may even accomplish the goal but eventually things seem to situate themselves back to the way they were before. This can be such a frustrating experience! It’s so frustrating in fact that I have read hundreds of books about goal setting, habit formation and the brain to solve this annoying problem. I’ve definitely accumulated a whole lot of information about this but still…the application of this info is lacking.
Recently, after going through Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever course I realized I was missing some very important pieces on my goal setting journey. In this blog post I will reveal those three missing pieces and explain how you can go about achieving your goals, sticking to them and helping your students do the same!
Determine Your Beliefs
All my study of the brain and years of meditation practice have taught me that all our emotions and behavior originate from one thing…our thoughts. It’s quite incredible how one thought can lead you down a path of self-sabotage. If you think you will never change, that is exactly what will happen. If you think a goal is impossible, then it is. Our beliefs about ourselves have an incredible impact.
This is why it is important to write these thoughts down. Daily journaling can be so revealing about the repeated pattern of thoughts that occur.
If you aren’t wanting to take on a journaling habit then instead follow these steps:
1. Write down a goal you want to achieve. I recommend making it a SMART Goal.
2. Write down all the negative thoughts that come up around that goal.
3. Keep writing negative thoughts as they come up throughout your day and week.
4. After a few days of paying attention to these negative thoughts (which very well may be partly true), work towards reframing the thoughts to help you achieve your goal.
Determine Your Why
If you don’t know why you are trying to achieve a goal, it will be hard to keep motivation going. When we ask ourselves why we want to achieve something, we are getting to the heart of the goal and what will truly keep us motivated. But, I’m not recommending you ask yourself why just once. I actually believe you can ask yourself why at least 7 times to really get at the heart of the matter. Here’s an example:
Smart Goal: I will write 3 blog posts every Monday morning and evening if I have to.
1. Why do you want to write 3 blog posts? I want to write 3 blog posts so I can use my time more wisely.
2. Why do you want to use your time more wisely? I want to be able to spend time with my family and do relaxing things as well as the work I’m passionate about.
3. Why do you want to spend more time with your family and do relaxing things as well as work? I love my family and relaxing is important for my health.
4. Why do you love your family? Why is relaxing important for your health? I love my family because they make me happy and I want to make them happy. Relaxing is important for my health because my body and mind feel good when I take care of them and don’t overwork too much.
5. Why do you want to make your family happy? Why do you want your body and mind to feel good and not overwork too much? I want to make my family happy because they are all I have in this life and I want to do right by them. I want my body and mind to feel good for years to come, not just temporarily.
6. Why do you believe your family is all you have in this life? Why do you want your body and mind to feel good for years to come? Friends have come and gone but my family sticks around. I’ve spent years feeling awful and I still have half my life ahead of me, I want to make the second half really something special and joyful.
7. Why do you believe family sticks around? Why do you want the second half of your life to be full of joy? Family sticks around because they love me and want to do right by me too. I want the second half of my life to be full of joy because when I’m joyous more often than not I bring joy to the people around me too and they deserve that.
My Why: I want to write 3 blog posts every Monday because I want more joy in my life and when I have more joy I bring that to others who surround me too.
Set Firm Dates for Review
One of the biggest mistakes we make when we set goals is we don’t regularly revisit them and take the time to adjust them. Often, if we fail at meeting a goal we give up, when what we could do is change it up a bit. If the goal is too challenging, make it easier. James Clear discusses this idea of making our goals fail proof by making them super simple in Atomic Habits (Amazon Affiliate Link). Shift the goal around to make it work for you and your current life, not against you! Setting a firm date and time to reflect on how you are doing and make any adjustment is a powerful way to recommit and stay strong in reaching your goals eventually, although it may not be exactly what you intended at first.
This process can work for teachers and students! I recommend that you try it first on yourself before bringing it to your students though. So, what’s the next step? Just input your name and email and I’ll send you this Goal Setting Template for both you and your students to begin this goal setting process. Here’s to living your life to the fullest in 2020!