(My column as it appeared in Upmarket Magazine week of Jan 29th)
Setting and reaching a goal you’ve set is a wonderful experience. Regardless of the size, just setting it and actually reaching it deserves applause. But this is where the applause now stops. From here on in, it’s an inside game. It is here so many either get frustrated or get what I like to call “Goal Fatigue” because they will now continually seek or wait for some external force to validate their new goal or progress.
After you’ve reached your first goal the rules for setting your next goal in the chain change. If I’m wrong then why do so many people make the same New Year’s resolutions over and over again? Many start the gym membership but quit within weeks. Some start the diet but never stay on it. And others sign up for the school but never get the degree. I could go on but you get my point. And that brings us to, Ok…Now What?
More than likely you set your goal then gave yourself a reward for finishing which is as it should be — that’s step one. Step two is the exact opposite. You are going to get the reward first. Yes I said that, first! The second part of goal setting is an inside game, it’s between your own two ears, any kind of validation from the outside world is extra. This is a point the so-called “Gurus” and others get absolutely wrong. Let’s use quitting smoking as an example. You did step No. 1, which you should be praised and commended for. But now you have to continue. Step No. 2 is not to repeat step No. 1 over, and over, and over again. You won’t do it, so step No. 2 should look something like this: I spent on average of $ _____ a day. That totals $______ per week, or $_______ per year. As a reward, and reminder why I am doing this, I am using the money I would have spent smoking and purchasing _________ today!
If you notice I said today, not tomorrow, not next week, not I’m saving up, but today! You need to remind yourself why, not remind others, but you. Others may also benefit but from here on out it’s all up to you. No cheering crowd a month or one year from now is going to help in keeping you in pursuit of your goal as the tickets for a vacation, jewelry, watch, or other item you have in your hands now will do. If you wait you won’t do it, and the same will happen to the goal. It too will go unfulfilled. The excuse that I don’t have the money right now doesn’t fly either. You would have found the money somewhere somehow to smoke right? Then get a jar and put the actual money in it daily. See how this is getting to sound serious? That’s because it is, and the reason why so many stop after step one.
You can do this with anything you want, just fill in the blank. Diets? Sure… start with step No. 1, at step NO. 2 go into your closet and weed out every article of clothing that is one size too big. Regardless if new! On your way home from Goodwill® stop at the mall and buy one article one size smaller than you are now. You can repeat step No. 2 as long as you like. See the difference?
You can apply this goal-setting method to anything you want in life from habits, to jobs, or anything else. It’s once you truly understand that the applause you’re working for is to come from you and not anyone else, goals become fun, entertaining, and a lifetime of fulfillment.
Now go set a goal, and have fun!
© 2012 Mark St.Cyr