Business

Secrets to Successful Goal Setting

It’s so frustrating when we make promises to ourselves only to break them.  You know the ones I’m talking about…I’m going to cut back on my drinking…I’m going to get in better shape…I’m going to get out of debt…I’m going to network more..I’m going to study more…I’m going to spend more time with my kids…I’m not going to fight with my spouse…I’m going to save up for that beach house…

The list is endless and 9 out of 10 times – the results are the same.  What if there was a way to get there?  A key to successful goal setting?  A process for setting goals that incorporates scientific research to exponentially increase the odds for the next promise you make to yourself?

There is…

BE INTENTIONAL: SET MEANINGFUL GOALS
In order to drive change, you need to dive deeper into the goals you want to accomplish.  Try taking the time to further explore and understand the WHY in your goal.

A few questions you may want to ask yourself are:

“Why do I want to accomplish this?”
“What will it mean for me if I accomplish this?”
“How will it make me feel if I accomplish this?

For example, if your goal is to lose weight then you should understand why you want to lose the weight, what effect will losing the weight have on your day-to-day life, and what long-term effects will losing weight have on your life. Really take the time to understand why you want to lose the weight and draw motivation from it.

Allow yourself time to explore the goals before throwing them out there.  It’s crucial to understand your goals, why you want to achieve them and what achievement of these goals will look like for you.

EASY DOES IT
It’s scientifically proven that our brains are wired for rewards.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a key role in reward, motivation, memory, decision-making, and even some body functions.  When dopamine is released it gives us the feeling of pleasure as part of our neural reward system.  This motivates you to repeat a specific behavior.

It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them.  This is because each time you succeed, the longer your brain stores the information that allowed you to do so well in the first place. Why? Because with EACH success, your brain is releasing dopamine!  Hence success breeds more success.

SO…

What’s the best way to eat an elephant?  ONE BITE AT A TIME

We’ve heard it a thousand times.  It makes sense, right? If we try to get it down all at once, we are going to have some major indigestion and it’s just not possible.

The same concept applies to our goals.  Don’t think you have to fix everything all at once. Small changes pave the way for bigger changes. Ask yourself, “What can I do today that will help me accomplish my goal.”  Use this as a way to stay focused each day while rewarding yourself with bursts of dopamine along the way!

KEEP IT POSITIVE

When setting goals, be sure to frame them in a positive way.  Focus on what you want to accomplish instead of what you don’t want to accomplish.  This will increase the likelihood that you will actually pursue it and increase your success rate.  There are hundreds of studies and theories around the idea that positive thinking promotes positive outcomes.  Most recently I read the “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and prior to that I’ve been a long time fan of “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale.  If you want to get rudimentary, take a trip down memory lane and recall the childhood story of The Little Engine that told himself over and over again, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

Across all lines of success, there is one thing that each of them have in common. Positive thinking contributes to positive outcomes.

If you want to get into brain chemistry for substantial evidence, consider this.  Any type of avoidance will trigger inhibition systems in your brain, where positive goals will trigger approach and rewards motivation. (Hello dopamine).  Intellectually this makes perfect sense, so give yourself time to frame your goals in this way.

VISUALIZE
Once you’ve identified, framed and established a few long-term goals with short-term goals, it’s time to kick-off.

Vision creates a picture for the subconscious mind.

The subconscious is not only responsible for 90 percent of the decisions we make in day-to-day life, but is also the part of the brain that is largely in charge when we are performing creative tasks or charting through unknown territory. The very act of giving your emotional brain a detailed portrait of your end goal also ensures that you will take the steps needed to steer yourself toward it.  Articulate your vision with words and a pictures; the more detailed the better.  Post this somewhere as a daily reminder and focal point of goals you have set for yourself.

 

Business

Time To Level Up

“WHAT VALUE WILL YOU BRING TO THIS ORGANIZATION?”

This question comes up early in most interviews and is something you’ve already demonstrated in order to secure the position that you’re in today.  As a contributor to an organization it’s important that you continue to bring value to progress your career.  On a regular basis people ask me how they can translate what they do into more meaningful and valuable contributions for their organization.  While there are many great ways to add value to your current role, there a a few simple, yet effective steps that I’ve outlined below for tangible results.

KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

If you’re not sure what your strengths are, NOW is the time to ask.  Ask your boss, your peers, and your trusted circle of friends to better understand what your good at.  If you don’t already know this, then please, please, please make sure you take the time to figure it out!  A good leader will generally start off a review by providing at least three areas that they feel your work is stellar before they move into areas of improvement.  If yours doesn’t, then don’t be afraid to ask.  I might suggest something along these lines when soliciting positive feedback during a review if it’s not initially provided.

“I appreciate your feedback and I will most definitely work on these things.  Additionally, I’d like your insight into what I’m doing really well and what you find to be my strengths.” 

“This has been extremely insightful and I’m confident I can improve in X, Y areas.  Additionally, I like to continue developing my natural talents and was hoping you could provide me some areas that you find my work to be valuable.”

Keep in mind that you don’t have to solicit feedback from superiors alone.  You should absolutely reach out to peers,  mentors and friends when trying to discover your strengths and better understand the things areas that you excel in.  Sometimes you’ll be surprised at what they say (I know I have been).  Remember, if three or more people provide similar strengths, I would say it’s something your exceptional at!

EXPLOIT YOUR STRENGTHS

Once you’ve identified your strengths, it’s time to EXPLOIT them!  The proper definition of exploit is make full use of and derive benefit from.

Each of us possess a unique set of strengths that come naturally to us.  It’s these special talents that set us apart from our peers and should be further honed and crafted.  Instead of spending all of your time, energy and focus on improving your weaknesses, I encourage you make full use of and derive benefit from your God given talents.

As people, we tend to glaze over positive feedback we receive and go straight to the recommended areas of improvement.   In doing this, we lose sight of our positive gifts and instead live in a constant battle against imperfection.  A large area of focus and energy  becomes on us trying to  improve where we, or others, feel we are falling short.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m all about making improvements and I encourage self reflection and evaluation as well as feedback from others on how to improve.  What I am saying here is this…SPEND MORE TIME DEVELOPING YOUR STRENGTHS and spend less time trying to improve areas that you may never be EXCEPTIONAL at.

REPLICATE 

Replication is the last key to providing value and it’s probably the most challenging.  While I can continue to learn and improve, I can only get so far on my own.  Sharing my tips, tricks and secrets to success are a proven way to replicate my value exponentially.  If I can translate and teach others how to be successful, then we all succeed and that’s gold.  That’s where the true success comes.  Replicating value and success is a challenge and one that we’ll dive more into in future posts.  Until then, I’ll give you just a couple of ideas on how you can replicate success.

First,  identify a project when you were able to meet or exceed the goal that you had set out to reach.  Next, break it down and identify the key pieces that made it successful.  Once you have done this, write it out.  It’s a proven fact that the only way to obtain and replicate knowledge is by transferring thoughts from your brain to your hand through written word. Once you’ve done this, you can duplicate this process for future projects and more importantly SHARE with others.  By sharing your success stories and how you achieved them with others, you are providing a value to your organization that exceeds expectations and grows not only yourself but others and this is the TRUE way to make yourself indispensable.

 

 

Books

The Myth of the Nice Girl

I have downloaded the audible version, the Kindle version, and today I ordered a hard copy.

So many great topics ranging from effective communication and leadership skills, to negotiation tactics, to networking strategies.  I really like the fact that Fran provides effective examples to apply these skills immediately. This is what has led to me purchasing the hard copy so that I can highlight and bookmark some of my favorites and start sharing them.  I think these skills can be applied to both women and men alike and I encourage anyone to take a read (or listen)!

Business

Vision Boards – Turning Visions Into Reality

Let me preface this by saying that I have a VERY short attention span.  In fact, my attention span is SO short that on a DAILY basis I find myself walking into the pantry and standing there for a few seconds trying to figure out why I’m there before realizing with great embarrassment for myself that where I actually wanted to be was the PANTRY to grab cereal for the kid’s breakfast! Oh, COME ON!

Why am I sharing this with you?

I’m sharing this with you because in today’s day and age, it’s easy to get distracted.  There are so many things to be reaching for and thinking about at any given moment.  From what books to read for leisure, what book to read for career growth, what new show to watch, what school to send the kids to, what types of foods I should be eating and feeding my children, what I want my house to look like, where to invest my money, what’s going to make my skin smooth, what’s the best workout for me to stay fit, to….AHHHHH….

You get the picture.

So many choices.  So many options.  The sky’s the limit!  Yet, how do we narrow things down?  How do we stay focused?

Focus is something I struggle with.  Daily and sometimes hourly I lose my train of thought and find myself completely distracted with noise coming in from both the outside world as well as my own limitless ideas of what I should be doing.  So, how do I combat the constant distractions that rip through my thoughts on a regular basis?

Aside from making lists and outlining my goals, I stay on track with a Vision Board.  A vision board, or “focus board” is the spot that I display visual representations and reminders of what I am trying to achieve.

Depending on what is going on in a given year, I try to have 1 very long term dream or goal, 1 semi- achievable goal that can be accomplished within a year, and then some fitness, health and/or spiritual goals. For me these are visual reminders of who I want to be, who I want to become and most of all inspiration.  Now, keep in mind, what inspires me may not inspire you.  What motivates me may not motivate you.  I’ve seen all types of vision boards from all kinds of people. To get you started, here are some ideas:

  • Inspirational quotes or affirmations – print them, cut them, write them, paint them and post them on your vision board.
  • Vacation homes or travel destination pictures
  • Magazine articles, clippings, pictures – things that you pull inspiration from
  • Pictures of role models or people you may aspire to be
  • A home or business you may be saving to buy
  • An award you are working to achieve

If you want to increase your success rate, consider throwing a vision board party with some friends.  Get together one evening or afternoon.  Share your goals and spend the time getting your vision boards up and running for the first time.

Check out our recent podcast to hear more about our vision boards and why we like them so much!