There is so much to say about setting goals that to write this article I went into overwhelm by the topic.
Why is it that some people set goals and succeed, and others do not? What is the magic formula to achieving what you want in the time frame you want it?
What do I mean by this? Well, in my experience (throughout my career as a financial adviser and a money coach) I have seen many people want to change their situation and try and set goals to make the change possible. Some win, some lose. Those that lose often are buying into other people values thinking this is their own – this is what is important to them.
An example of this is when I get a client who wants to buy an investment property, but they are having trouble saving for the deposit. After setting them up with a savings plan and a budget, the money is still not being saved. Money is being spent on things that are more important to them – for example trips away and experiences. Working with that client, digging a little deeper, it becomes apparent that the goal of buying the investment property is from other people who are influencing them – mum and dad or friends who seek that type of financial investment. When really, this client is all about experiencing life and creating a lifestyle for themselves…now that is where the magic happens……. A simple shift adjusting the goal in line with values and desires will ensure the goal setting process will work.
In this case I now create a savings plan which offers short term achievements and a long-term plan to ensure the client can invest to create an income stream to fund this desired lifestyle, while enjoying life along the way. The goal now does not feel like a sacrifice, it becomes fun and achievable.
For years I have been fascinated by what triggers people’s decision making. I have read countless books, sat in webinars, completed courses on the topic of behavioural economics, neuroscience, cognitive behaviour and even the art of manifesting. So, when it comes to goal setting on key part of succeeding is getting your mindset right. This is scientifically proven to one major factor to why one will achieve a goal.
Let us consider an Olympic athlete, have you ever watched an athlete before a race or event… they are poised, quiet and ‘in the zone’, visualising their perfect performance, visualising themselves already on the podium.
But of course, there is the final key to being successful when it comes to goal setting… Getting the work done.
We cannot just wish our way to millions of dollars or to fit back into our skinny jeans. We also need to be committed to making the changes and creating new habits… Yes Habits… that is where more magic happens, when you change your behaviour and create a new habit, this way you create longevity to see the goal complete and then to take things to the next level.
There are many strategies to set goals, a popular one is the SMART goal:
So here are my tips to achieving goals and creating new habits:
- Ensure your goal is aligned with your values… If you are not sure about this, consider why you want to achieve this goal, what does it mean to you? What would change and what would it take for your to achieve? When it comes to money, I find your values show up on what you spend it on… the numbers never lie, they reveal your patterns, behaviours, habits and even addictions (yes that is something to consider).
- Be clear about the outcome you desire. Meditate on it – or at least focus on it. Imagine you already there, in the space where the goal has been achieved already. How do you feel? What has changed? What does it look like to you? Getting your mind in check is incredibly powerful and should be practiced regularly when you are setting your goals, but also during the process.
- Set small steps to change. Slow and steady wins the race (as they say). Don’t expect things to happen straight away. Create a strategy where you make small, measurable, and regular changes.
- Track your progress and celebrate your wins.
- Be accountable. I always find an accountability buddy (if I am not working with a coach). Knowing you are going to need to check in at some point will help you stay on track and keep in check.
- And finally, enjoy the journey. Depending on what your goals is, you will have ups and downs. You will want to revert to your old ways or give up… We are all creatures of habit. Don’t beat yourself up. Go back to your Why? The desire to achieve the goal. Go back to that place where you have already achieved your goal. In your mind’s eye, remind yourself of how you feel, the sense of achievement, then go for it.
What ever you want to achieve, you can. It just takes some planning, the right mindset, and aligning your values to the dream…. You got this.
Here is a list of books I have read and recommend, if this interests you, which delves deeper into neuroscience, behaviours, and methods we can make changes in our lives with the use of our minds.
Breaking the habit of being yourself – Dr Joe Dispenza
Atomic Habits – James Clear
Nudge – Richard H Thaler and Professor Cass R Sinstein