24 Feb The power of personal goal setting versus procrastination
How much time do we spend thinking about what we need to do? I spend a whole lot of time thinking about moping my kitchen floor or wading through endless amounts of ironing and rarely ever get around to doing either of them. I have probably racked up more thinking time than the actual time it would take to do the task itself.
And thoughts like that keep coming into my mind, going around and around along with another seven million. My thoughts vary from fixing a light, writing a blog, calling a friend, changing my bed, organising my son’s birthday party and getting new curtains for my living room. The list is pretty endless. And believe it or not, this is normal. Constant thoughts and chatter are very normal. We have to understand how to manage them.
Unfortunately, your thoughts can be more than just about your task list. They can wander into thoughts about your confidence and feelings about other people in your life, belief in yourself and the things you feel you are lacking. Your thoughts are non-stop.
And before you know it, your thoughts can become a real hindrance. You find yourself thinking so much that you are doing what is known as procrastinating.
Procrastination is the thief of time. It tends to be related to the fear of trying something and failing. The thought of failing being too great that we don’t do what we have been thinking about.
It might not be failing at something major, just something that makes you feel uncomfortable. So instead, you spend time thinking about whether penguins have knees or the number of likes your last Facebook post received! It is far more appealing than writing a letter to the tax office, contacting a supplier regarding an overcharge, updating your website or following up on a business lead.
Some people are fantastic at considering what needs doing. They make a list and get on with achieving everything on it. These people can also be the ones that are distracting themselves by carrying out their to-do list to stop themselves from listening to all the other thoughts whizzing around in their head. They are doing the day-to-day but perhaps not listening to the more significant thoughts that could see them achieve great goals.
For those who overthink and don’t make a list, we spend a lot more time thinking than actually achieving things and especially achieving our goals.
Goals are simply thoughts with actions attached to them to bring them to reality.
Everyone has goals every day. Getting up before seven, eating a healthy breakfast, making time for our children or calling a friend. For many people, they do the essentials, ignore their goals, start scrolling on their phone, and waste the day.
So how do we overcome this way of thinking and procrastinating? How do we take our thoughts and turn them into action? How do we continue to be proactive and create habits that see us achieve our goals regularly within a set time scale and go on to create bigger, more exciting goals?
There isn’t some cryptic way of unlocking a particular hormone in our body to make us want to achieve our goals.
It is simple. So simple that it is hard to believe. There is a bit of preparation beforehand that you have to practice, but once you are aware, then it is really easy.
Our brain is super intelligent, yet it doesn’t know the difference between ‘do want’ and ‘don’t want’. It only recognises the ‘want’ element of a thought.
When we attach our focus to what we ‘do want’, we are beginning to make a visual image of that desire, creating a goal.
Unfortunately, when we attach our focus to what we ‘don’t want’, we also create a visual image of something we don’t desire.
Therefore we have to be careful when considering our goals to only think about what we ‘do want’ to achieve.
The more we consider it, the more our awareness heightens. When this begins to happen, the part of our brain that creates desire is working harder, and we begin to move much closer to the goal and achieving the end outcome.
And a lot of this can be subconscious once we have defined the focus. We will have moments of coincidence and fate because things are crossing our path or are in the right place at the right time, and we can’t quite understand why.
This is your awareness. Those occurrences could have happened anyway, but they wouldn’t have been relevant, as you weren’t considering them as part of a goal, so you wouldn’t have noticed them. Think about a red car; what do you then see over and over again – a red car.
So being clear about a goal is essential. Being sure of what you ‘do want’ to achieve.
The next part to achieving your goal is simply writing it down.
Write the goal down in a place you will see it regularly. Then make a list of actions below that goal that you need to do to achieve it.
Add a date of when you need to complete the actions to achieve the goal. Place those dates in your calendar.
Make sure you have everything to ensure the actions can be completed and the goal can be achieved.
Then tell someone. Take note of how that feels when you share your goal with someone.
Tell lots of people. Ask yourself how it feels now that lots of people know.
Keep talking about your goal. Are you starting to notice how the goal now feels quite normal and part of your everyday life?
Tell people how you are progressing, and if you need support, add it to your action list and find the people that can help you.
Keep the goal clear and active.
Keep writing it down again and again and again. It might begin to change as you start to succeed. It might become a bigger goal than you had initially planned.
By defining the goal, writing it down, creating actions to achieve it and telling people about it, you start to achieve it.
The essential part of achieving any goal is activity. Activity creates outcomes. If someone asks how you are progressing, do you want to explain why it hasn’t been achieved, or do you want to tell them about your progress?
How does it feel to give an excuse over telling them about progress? And don’t mistake an excuse with a setback. Setbacks are all part of the process. As long as that goal is still motivating you and working on it, you are succeeding.
When you are progressing, the feeling of success is a huge motivator and one that you can harness to help you continue to achieve your goals.
There is nothing more powerful than achieving a goal, setting a bigger one or beginning to add more to your list.
To summarise, achieving your goals is all about visualising what the success looks like, making a plan and getting going. The goal should excite you, it might even scare you too, but overcoming what makes you scared and turning that feeling in to success is one of the best feelings in the world.