So it’s the New Year and inevitably, there’s A LOT of goal setting stuff going on at the moment in the entrepreneurial world - and isn't there always?
But this week it’s like everyone and their dog is running a goal setting challenge, talking about their superhuman powers of abstinence or stressing about how this year HAS to be when they break their new income ceiling.
Which is all wonderful - I LOVE to see people making progress, bettering themselves and doing whatever they need to do to feel happier.
But I know that inevitably for a lot of people the wheels tend to fall off - the shine wears off those goals after a few days or weeks, and it starts to feel HARD.
Or they just don’t know how to even get clear on what goals to set in the first place and end up feeling a bit left behind at this time of year!
So I’m going to help you with that today. Listen here or read on for my top tips on actually achieving your goals next time you set them.
Make sure your goals TOTALLY align
So, the first thing I want to say is please please please, don’t put pressure on yourself to do anything that doesn’t 100% originate from you. From the heart.
If you’re setting a goal, for example, to eat more healthily or to lose weight, or to take up some new activity - check in with whether you’re doing this for YOU because it feels like it will light you up and enhance your life… or whether you’re doing it because it will make you feel better about what other people think of you.
This is such a common trap and I fell into it for years!
If you’re doing things to feel better about yourself - that’s a wonderful thing - but make sure they will genuinely make YOU happy deep down. If you can do yourself a list of reasons why you really want to achieve your goal and that list all comes back to bringing you spine-tingling joy - then it’s a PERFECTLY aligned goal.
If you dig deep and find that the real reason you’re setting that goal is because everyone else is - like £10k months or multi 6 figures, or your best friend is losing weight so you feel the pressure to do it too - it’s not going to connect deeply enough with you deep down to make it happen.
And then we get into that whole cycle of shame, disappointment, guilt, beating ourselves up because we’ve failed… again… and it’s just not a happy, healthy place to be.
When you completely align with your goals and make them matter to you on an emotional level - that’s when the magic can happen.
That’s when it becomes EASY to stay motivated and it just becomes part of who you are rather than something you’re relentlessly forcing yourself to do!
Willpower is one big fat MYTH
Now the second thing I want to talk about, which leads in nicely from that, is willpower.
Willpower is the greatest lie that’s ever been told.
We don’t achieve our goals through willpower.
The people that you see knocking off success after success - DON’T have any more willpower than you. They aren’t superior human beings in some way.
And you don’t need superhuman willpower to succeed. We all have the same amount of willpower.
So the great news is that you can stop blaming yourself for not being strong enough, not being disciplined enough, not being motivated enough - that isn’t what’s going on here at all.
You have exactly what it takes!
You just need to make a few tweaks to the way you’re setting your goals and acting on them.
This is what's really going on when 'willpower' leaves the building...
Now, our will, our levels of motivation and our ability to override our default go-to responses are ALL affected by our underlying anxiety levels.
So that means it can be easier or harder to make good, long-term choices depending on how stressed we are, how tired we are, and how much else we’ve got on the go when we’re trying to make changes.
When our anxiety levels are up - wild horses aren’t going to be able to stop us from having an ‘off’ day, grabbing the wine or the treats we ‘shouldn’t be having and staying on track with our goals.
So the best thing we can do to help ourselves stay on track is stay happy and de-stress.
And that means sleeping well, NOT beating ourselves up when we slip off the wagon, not putting huge pressure on ourselves to be ‘good’ or ‘perfect’ - and just giving ourselves some credit for the little achievements we’re making each and every day.
Do you know what - if you have a bump in the road, call it a bump in the road and keep driving - don’t stop the car, turn around and declare yourself a failure!
Why it feels like we're fighting ourselves
Now we’re also fighting our biology when we’re making any changes - because we’re biologically programmed to seek instant gratification. We’re hard-wired to take the easy or familiar route.
So the way to really make big long-term changes is to build in little, incremental changes over time that feel easy, manageable - the sorts of things you barely notice. And to make taking the new route the easier choice - like having fresh fruit to hand rather than snacks on display!
Or like switching off your notifications on your phone so you don’t automatically get dragged in to social media scrolling every 5 minutes.
How about setting business goals?
I hear a lot of people in the entrepreneurial space say ‘I had these goals but I just didn’t have the motivation to see them through’. ‘I just didn’t have the will to make it work’. ‘I just can’t get motivated’.
If you’re failing to meet your goals it probably isn’t that you don’t have the desire to make them happen. That you aren’t motivated. Right?
Or you wouldn’t have created them in the first place.
If you’re really struggling to feel motivated then just check in with these next few points to see whether any of them might apply to you - I’d like to bet something in here will resonate.
So as we’ve said, just being generally anxious or overwhelmed can be a real killer for motivation. Check in with your sleep, your self-care, how much space you’re giving yourself to prioritise and take an overview rather than being in thinking, doing, firefighting mode all the time. Sometimes a little breathing space and reflection is all we need to really see our next steps forward.
Not being fully aligned with those goals on some level can also be a killer. Maybe something’s a bit off, deep down? When I’m working with clients, I use a unique 8 step goal setting process based on The Conscious Creation Formula®️ - my scientifically validated method for manifesting change. It involves checking in with your big dreams and your ultimate desires in ALL areas of life, not just business.
And that’s because it HAS to make sense to your overall picture. Business isn’t something that happens in isolation, YOU are the business and so your health, joy, happiness, values and deep desires affect your business and your ability to achieve your financial goals.
When clients come to me feeling demotivated or confused as to why they’re procrastinating rather than making progress,, what we usually find out is that actually the reason is just that they don’t have a clear plan for their next few steps. Or they’ve got massive, intimidating tasks on their to do list that are just like a big red flag to the subconscious mind… it’s going “this looks too hard, do something else!”.
Trying to do too much, too soon, is another classic reason things feel too hard and we give up. Break it down - you don’t have to have all the steps, but get clear on the next few baby steps.
This one’s a biggie. Belief. Not having faith in ourselves to achieve those goals. Not feeling completely confident in doing everything we need to do to achieve them. Not believing we’re the sort of person who could achieve them. Those are all things you HAVE to have in order to be able to be consistent and effective enough to achieve your plans.
Lastly, sometimes it’s fear of what might happen when we DO achieve those goals. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of how we might be perceived by other people. Is this one maybe holding you back?
SO it’s usually anything but your willpower or your motivation. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t use it as a stick to beat yourself with.
Get curious about what’s really going on!
If you need some help with setting beautifully aligned goals and you want to make sure you do so in a way that guarantees you achieve them, check out Glorious Goals.
It's a comprehensive mini e-course that walks you through the process of aligned goal setting, step by step, helps you get clear on EXACTLY what you want to create and why, fuels the fires of motivation and helps you create a concrete plan for success.
It's just £19 and will set you up for a whole year of success!
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