Have you ever asked yourself what you want….
I mean, what you really, REALLY want?
Tom’s recent blog about the “Why” – why we do what we do, what is our motivation – introduced the concept of being SMART when it comes to goal setting and fitness success; that is, laying out targets that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.
People often struggle when it comes to the specifics. Most of us will have some kind of general goal – let’s take the example of “I don’t want to be fat anymore”. Great – we have a starting point. Some of us will work out that in order to achieve this goal, we need to take action – even better. So, we go out and hire awesome guys like Tom and Gav to set us out a plan to get us lean and guarantee fitness success.
So why are clear goals so important?
Think about the last time you took a flight. The pilot knows where the plane is headed and roughly what time it’s due to arrive…but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going straight there. Nature being what it is, we may experience turbulence along the way – this may simply mean the journey is a little bumpy at times; in more extreme cases, we may have to divert temporarily off course in order to reach the end destination. Regardless, the pilot always knows where the end point is and therefore can build strategies to ensure the plane gets there despite any obstacles that may arise en route.
Without being clear on your own goals, how do you combat turbulence? If you’re not absolutely certain on where you’re heading, how do you avoid being blown off course?
Where do we start?
So, we know goals are important for success – but how do we get started in actually setting them?
Walt Disney is a great example of a man with a vision. A vision so big, most of us would struggle to get it off the starting blocks. So how did he turn his mammoth vision not only into reality but into a global success story?
Walt adopted a system by which he evaluated each of his ideas – we now refer to this as the “Disney model”.
He took an idea and considered it from 3 different positions; the Dreamer, the Critic and the Realist.
Dreamer – where he was free to think up the most imaginative ideas, taking him back to a childlike state where anything was possible.
Critic – where he would pick at every idea, finding fault anywhere he could
Realist – where he would look at every idea and whether it would actually work in the real world
Only once all positions had been considered in detail would he make a decision – and as a result, only around 1 in every 100 of his ideas progressed forward to being an action. But – and this is the crucial bit – they were the right actions, and going through this rigorous process meant his focus remained on the bits that were most congruent in reaching his mammoth goals.
Have a go yourself; take your goal and evaluate it using the Disney model, really embracing each of the positions – perhaps by moving to a different place in the room, taking up a different posture or entering into a different state of mind for each as you work through them. What do you learn about your goal as a result?
Speaking the right language
As humans, we seem to have an innate preference for being conservative – perhaps resulting from a fear of failure, falling short or discrediting ourselves. So, when faced with my opening question, we typically reply with “Well, what I don’t want…”
There’s a couple of issues with our goal above of “I don’t want to be fat anymore”. Firstly, our unconscious mind is entirely literal – it cannot process negatives. So what it actually hears, is “I want to be fat” – however much we consciously believe otherwise, we are creating a deep seated obstacle at an unconscious level to ever achieving our goal.
Let’s change it round a little – what do we actually want? “I want to be slim” –a simple switch and this now becomes quite powerful. The unconscious mind hears it and becomes congruent; moreover, and this brings me to my second point, the goal becomes positive. Much easier to keep going in the face of turbulence when we have a positive focus rather than a negative one!
Now let’s get specific – what does “slim” mean to you? It’s really important to identify this both for yourself and also when communicating with guys like Tom and Gav who are working with you to achieve your goal – that way, everyone is clear on the outcome and the effectiveness of your relationship with them steps up a gear.
So, let’s expand our example – “I currently have a 40” waist and I’d feel slim if I had a 36” waist”. Now we’re getting specific – add in a timeframe (always use a specific future date – if you say it’s 3 months from now, that date always moves…) and BOOM! We have powerful goal…
“It’s November 1st 2013 and I am wearing the 36” waist jeans that I used to wear 2 years ago. I feel slim, positive and energised!”
By being clear on the outcome, you’ll discover willpower you never knew existed. And willpower is like a muscle – it gets stronger the more you use it! You’re also geared up to deal with any turbulence that may throw you temporarily off course – as we know, sometimes muscles get fatigued 😉
Visualising the outcome
You may notice the goal above creates the image of how we look/feel once we’ve achieved the outcome; visualisation is a really powerful tool that is used a lot by professionals within the sports industry. I really encourage my clients to use the technique in a range of areas – one word of warning though; make sure you visualise from a disassociated position, ie looking at yourself through someone else’s eyes rather than through your own – otherwise you fall in to the trap of your subconscious thinking you have already achieved the goal before you’ve even started the journey!
So, in summary – remember a goal must be:
- Towards – Where do you want to be/what do you want to achieve
- Positive – This should go without saying really!
- Stated “as if now” – Using a specific future date
The area of goal setting is a huge one and one on which I often spend time with my clients, usually as the first step of a coaching programme to give them the tools to move forward and overcome both present and future challenges.
The NLP- based techniques above can be applied in all areas of life; at “Hit Your Peak” we start off with the foundation of fitness and nutrition as our body is the vehicle through which we administer every action in our lives – an asset worth protecting!
Hopefully this has given you a bit of an insight into how you can set your goals in a way to ensure success – the hard work in achieving them is still down to you though! 😉 Please get in touch if you have any comments or feedback – we’d love to hear from you!
DanHit Your Peak, a coaching and training provider specialising in NLP (Neuro Lingusitic Programming) and peak performance. They work with businesses, individuals & athletes to help them excel through their unique approach. HYP offer free initial consultations to discover your needs and can offered tailored packages depending on requirements. If you mention Ultimate City you will receive very competitive rates… They also have a competition running right now, when their facebook page www.facebook.com/hityourpeak reaches 500 likes they’ll be giving away a Usana MHP worth over £85! So get liking!