Making a life change doesn't have to seem overwhelming. It simply takes a subtle shift in mindset and a few keys to successful goal-setting.
Set goals from a Life Paragraph
Years ago friends gave us a plant for a hospitality gift. Determined to let this one live, I watered it diligently for two weeks until one day I looked at the plant closely and realized something: it was a fake plant. Oh, yeah. Resolutions are like watering a fake plant—they aren’t real. Successful goals come from connection—choosing the ideal outcome you want first, then using goals as vehicles to get there. Try creating a Life Paragraph. It’s so easy but powerful. Life coaching guru Brian Tracy has said, “The establishment of a clear, central purpose or goal in life is the starting point of all success.” Once you have a clear paragraph of what you want from life, goals are so much easier to choose and achieve.
To create a Life Paragraph, brainstorm buzz words to describe your ideal life in three categories: Self, Relationships, and Life Skills. For example, in Self you might have, “positive, spiritually centered, emotionally healthy, fit,” etc. After brainstorming all three areas, combine and edit them to create one juicy paragraph about six to eight sentences long to describe your ideal life. Have fun with this! Tweak and change until you feel it’s just what you want to describe what you’ll be working towards.
Real goals for real people
Successful goals are not I shoulds or I have tos. They’re chosen from your fabulous life paragraph and make you feel excited to begin. Good goals are specific and make you stretch without making you feel overwhelmed or like downing a cheesecake. I’ve coached women for ten years, and my secret to their success is one goal a week. That’s it. Choose wisely and then go to it. And remember Hyrum Smith wisely says to include the following in writing your goal: make it realistic, timely, specific, measurable, and action-oriented. Translation: “I will do a FUN workout three times this week for 20 minutes, varying cardio and weights.” Voila.
The possibilities are endless when you combine your Life Paragraph with a well-chosen goal—just one—each week. I’ve been able to write and publish books, be a public speaker, have a small business, be a stellar mother to six children (that’s up for debate), teach my children life skills, and run our home generally fabulously (except weeks before, during, or after holidays). And enjoy it all (most of the time). I’m not special or tremendously talented. It’s by small and simple things that great things come to pass, like keeping the kitchen counter clear. So give this a try. If you need a little boost, or group help, consider my “Take the 8-week Challenge!” You can enter at 8basics.com—it’s free and has helpful blogs, tips, and podcasts to help you stay focused on your changes. And remember, as you set goals, life happens. If you’re nose diving by day two of a goal, adjust! Change it, tweak it, make it work for you. There are no Goal Police, so switch it up to make it more real and keep progressing.
Reward yourself and keep going.
After setting a goal, choose a reward and use it! And don’t wait until you’ve completely finished the goal. One woman paid herself five dollars every time she worked out, then put that money toward a new outfit. Go girl! Rewards help change your neuroassociation to goal-setting—a fancy word for salivating Pavlovian style to set and achieve a goal, all because of the promise of an hour-long nap. That’s my kind of reward. And whatever you do, keep going with your chosen goal by continually envisioning the outcome. Anthony Robbins says that, sadly, most people give up five feet from achieving their goals.
Not you. Create that Life Paragraph, choose a connected goal that makes you excited to start, and reward your efforts along the way. This is your year to create fabulous change, so go get it!
Connie Sokol is a mother of six—expecting her seventh—and a presenter, former TV and radio host, and author of several books, including Faithful, Fit & Fabulous. For tips, columns, and books, visit www.8basics.com.