“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
I don’t know that I agree with Bruce Lee’s description of goals. Of course, the quote could have been taken out of context, as quotes often are, in order to make a point.
If a goal is simply something to aim at, then how do you know when you’ve arrived?
Most of us spend the last month of one year and the first of the next crafting resolutions and goals. Forbes Magazine reported at year end 2013 that 90% of all goals or resolutions people make are never achieved.
I don’t know where they got that percentage from, but if the history of my resolutions are anything like other people’s, then that percentage is probably fairly accurate.
At least in the past years. 2015 was completely different for me. Instead of using the same goal-setting, objective-creating, activity-making list for 2015, I sat down and reviewed some of the research about changing behavior.
Because, realistically, that’s what has to happen. Behavior has to change.
If you want to achieve the same goals this year that you achieved last year then you should continue doing the same thing.
But, if you want different results, greater success, more out of your life than you’ve experienced in the past, then you can’t do the same things you’ve done in past years.
You have to change your behaviors.
Creating a vision or mission for your life will guide the steps you have to take to achieve that goal.
It’s like standing at the bottom of a staircase. At the top is your mission or dream for your life, and each step are the activities you have to take in order to get there.
If you get distracted and work towards other goals that don’t ultimately lead where you want to go, it will just take you longer to achieve your mission.
Once you know where you’re going and have written down how to get there, you have to change the WAY you do things or you’ll be facing the same tasks next New Year. Without change, you’ll get the same results.
Behavior change is something I’ve been working toward this past year, and here are the steps that I’ve found to be most beneficial. You might think that some of these are not pertinent to the subject at hand, but if you actively go through and complete the steps, I believe you’ll find that each one had something very important to contribute to your ultimate success.
There are other lists of ways to achieve behavior change that are just as legitimate. But those lists address specifically how to attack your goals. My goal was to do a total overhaul and make changes to all my behaviors so I could experience greater success. These are the fabulous five on which I focused this past year.
- Inspiration. We all get our inspiration from somewhere or someone. It’s that one thing that is unique to each of us. What drives and inspires me, doesn’t inspire you – or at least in the same way or in the same relationship. My inspiration is my relationship with Jesus. It’s personal, unique to only me and something I spend time and energy developing every day. It’s important to understand what drives you and where you find both strength and inspiration – because you’ll need it in April when the flush of excitement over your goal list has faded and you’re back where you started in October.
- Openness. Being interested in, and open to, new ideas and new concepts is one important way of learning to change your behavior. Again, if you do it the same way – you get the same results. You don’t have to jump ship completely. In other words if your goal is better health, then you don’t have to create an entirely new diet plan today and follow it strictly.
But it is important to open your mind to new ideas about developing better health, how to quit over eating, how to quit smoking or drinking excessively or how to get more exercise. You don’t have to do things the same way that everyone else does to get the same results. But your aim is to get the best results possible for your efforts.
- Forgiveness. This is the hero of every day of your life. Without forgiveness you’ll become bitter, angry and not very fun to be around. Whether you have to work at forgiving yourself for falling off the new diet for 24 hours, your kids for not following through on a promise or your friends for being thoughtless in their comments – it’s important that you forgive and learn to do it well.
Forgiveness is something you do throughout your lifetime because none of us is perfect. You are just as flawed as the next person, and require just as much forgiveness as I do. Too often pride gets in our way from asking or giving forgiveness, leading to even greater pain, lost years or deteriorating friendships. And, while our friends and relatives need our forgiveness, our children benefit even more.
- Banishing Fear. Fear speaks to you at night. Lying alone in the dark you begin to wonder if you are good enough, smart enough, make enough money, have enough friends, will get through the next day without killing your boss and wonder why the guy in the office who keeps flirting never asks you out. Maybe you aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough, eat the right things, say the right things, wear the right make-up or dress the right way. You know the litany of things that go through your head, because they go through most women’s heads.
Whether we want to admit it or not, each of us is afraid of something. We might not even be able verbalize what that something is. It might just be a pit in your stomach that nags at you for attention each night. You don’t put the word “fear” on that thing – but it continues to eat away at your self-confidence and self-esteem. To make any changes to your behavior you first have to get rid of the fear – whatever that fear is in your life.
- Self-talk. Do you know what self-talk is? They are the words you say to yourself, in your head or out loud. The words you say aloud are more powerful than the ones you say in your head, but they are both either detrimental or uplifting – depending upon what you’re saying. Your brain will believe what it hears you saying. It sounds a bit farfetched, but it isn’t.
Do this experiment to see results in the physical world.
You’ll need two people. You stand up with your experiment partner standing in front of you. Hold your dominant arm out to the side, level with your shoulder and your elbow straight.
The other person should try to push your arm down while you are holding it up. Ask them to note how difficult it is for them to move your arm.
Next, out loud, say, “I’m not good enough,” three times. Say it out loud, with conviction. You might feel a bit funny about it, but the results of this experiment will demonstrate visibly and physically how important what you say is to your brain and body.
Now, do the same strength test, with the same arm. Your partner should then tell you what they notice.
If you are like 97% of the people who do this test, your arm strength will have diminished. It will be much easier for your partner to move your arm. Even when you KNOW that this will happen and you try to guard against it, the results are the same.
THIS is the reason you should change any negative self-talk to positive!
While it may be difficult or time consuming to make these changes, without them you’ll be experiencing the same results this year that you had last year. What do you want? Do you want the same results at the end of 2016? OR do you want to experience something new, better and greater in your life?
The choice is yours.