Stop Setting Goals

Stop Setting Goals

At the beginning of the year, it’s inevitable that we start thinking about our goals for the year ahead. Why? Because nobody will stop talking about it!

So how has that been working for you in the past? Are you the type of person that sets goals and then makes them happen, no matter what? A lot of people (and by ‘a lot of people’, I mean ‘me’) have a hard time with that. Goals have become a target we set up that we want to hit, we try to hit, but we often don’t hit. Goals have become dreams.

Dreams are great. But when it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, reality can tend to lock us down and immobilize even the best intentions.

So what are we to do? It’s time to stop making goals and start making commitments. Is it your goal to pick up your kids after school? Or is it your commitment? Is it your goal to brush your teeth before you go to bed? Or is it your commitment? See where I’m going with this?

Look at the goals you made (or are tempted to make) How can you turn them into commitments instead? And since that is often too much, how about starting with just one commitment that you can actually follow through with? Success is about taking small steps, one after the other.

Change is challenging so stop expecting that your goal setting is going to help you make big sweeping changes. It’s a journey and like any journey has some steps forward, some back, some round about, some direct. Make a commitment to a smaller step that will naturally lead you to the change you desire.

Small incremental steps will get you where you want to go. That’s how you become a black belt too. You don’t jump from white belt to black belt! You start as a white belt, and then you get your next belt, and your next belt and the next belt… You take small steps to get where you want to go.

So make a commitment to where you want to go, and then make a commitment to that first small step to get there .That’s how it works. 

Setting big lofty goals is easy. Following through with them is hard. Stop making it so hard for yourself. Start taking the small successful steps that will get you to where you want to go. 

Happy New Year!

Stop Setting Goals



If you’re making resolutions for 2016, there’s something you need to know:  We are all naturally resistant to change. However, if we work with that fact, instead of against it, we have a chance to really make it happen.

Why are we so resistant to change? It’s what keeps everything in balance.  It’s called equilibrium or homeostasis.

There is a sweet spot where things naturally hover.  For instance, your body temperature has a homeostasis – it stays within certain degrees. Not too hot, not too cold.  Our hormones have a natural balance, as does our blood sugar and our weight. Our bodies have a set point and like to stay within a couple of pounds here or there.

Resistance to change is also evident in our businesses, in our families, and even our cultures. We become accustomed to what’s “normal”, and we typically resist everything else. So whenever we set a resolution, like many of us do at the beginning of the year, it is no wonder we backslide. We can’t always follow through with those resolutions, because we naturally slip back to where we were comfortable before. That’s just how it is. 

Whatever it is you’re resolving to do this next year, I’m sure it has heart and meaning for you, so what can you do to make sure that they become a reality? Here are 4 steps on how you can use your resolutions to really progress and have more success in 2016. 

1.    Plan for failure.

Once you understand the science behind homeostasis, then you can use it to your advantage, rather than resist it. Realize that it is part of the cycle of change: 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Then you can actually make peace with that, and plan on what you’re going to do when things get tough.

You can expect resistance from yourself, and you can expect some resistance from others as you start to change.

Be on the lookout for all the ways that resistance shows up. Sometimes it’s a pain or a sickness. Lookout for self-sabotage, disharmony with the people around you and any kind of drama. These are indicators that you are on the right track – you won’t be surprised by it.  You’ll simply deal and move through it.

2.    Create support for your success.

So just as you’re going to plan for failure you’re also going to create support for success. One way to do this is to tell other people about your resolution. That will keep you accountable and help build your cheerleading team.  Next, find out what tools you might need to fulfill your resolution, and make that happen. Simply create support around you that will help build you up, and help you through those rough times that are sure to come. 

3.    Create rituals.

You need to create rituals around whatever it is that you’re resolving to do. 

What are rituals? Rituals are conscious habits.  You simply have awareness around what it is that you’re doing, step by step – and you turn it into a ritual.

As an example, before you go to bed, you brush your teeth, right? Nobody’s telling you to brush your teeth. You haven’t had to read self-help books around brushing your teeth. You’ve just made it a habit, because you know it’s something that you need to do. Well that’s what we have to create around our resolutions. We have to create habits, so that they just become part of who we are.

4.    Develop a learning mindset.

In martial arts, we call it the white belt mind. If you already know everything, then you’re not going to actually learn something new. It’s that learner’s mindset that will help you keep that resolution.  

In fact, why don’t you dedicate yourself to life long learning? To learn is to change. And that’s what resolutions are all about – you want to make a change. Only learners can really change, not people who know everything already. If you ever hear yourself saying, “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,” then you know you do not have a white belt mind.  The learner says, “Oh really, oh good, tell me more, tell me more.” 

So I hope you have a wonderful year ahead and you’ll take a few minutes today to reflect on everything that you’re grateful for. Set resolutions if you must, but remember, be intentional and take action on your dreams.  You deserve it.

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