Change your habits, change your life we’ve all heard it before, but if it was that easy we’d all be living a life we love. So how do you make those changes reality? Setting powerful goals is the starting point. Goals are a road map, a guide, your blueprint to achieve even the most audacious goals that you can envisage. Got a goal in mind? Here’s our step by step guide to making sure you set a goal that really makes a difference with goal architecture made simple.
Goal Architecture Strategy
Whether your goal is personal or professional you need a strategy to make it happen and to make it reality. A goal without strategy is, frankly, just something else on your wish list that you’ll get around to ‘someday’ or not at all and we’ve all been there. A goal setting strategy will give you the tools that you need to make it real. We give you the smarts to make that happen in 4 simple stages.
1. Goal Competition
If you have a long list of goals that have never seen the light of day or just never seem to go anywhere – kudos for writing them down (we salute you!) but you may be the victim of what is known as ‘goal competition.’ This is the phenomenon where you have so many goals it becomes impossible to do any of them justice. Writing goals down is the easy part, it’s putting in the work and getting them done that’s a tad trickier. The solution? Prioritise your goals and select one to work on. That’s right, just one. No matter how enthusiastic you are about your goals, give yourself the best chance possible by selecting one and excluding the rest – for now. Focus your time and energy on one goal at a time and watch your productivity sky rocket.
2. Check Your Choice Architecture
Choice architecture refers to the environment around you and whether it supports or gets in the way of your goal. Effectively, you’re now an architect, the architect of your goal and of your environment. So let’s get designing!
Choice architecture will help you to stay on track with your goal. It’s used across the board in a multitude of situations that demand choice, but especially in marketing. Richard Thaler outlines the concept of choice architecture in ‘Nudge’ http://nudges.org/tag/richard-thaler/ describing how supermarkets use eye level shelves to push products and sell more whereas lower level shelves sell less (yes, there’s a scientific reason you’re always drawn to that huge bar of chocolate in front of you thats’s offer). We can use the same principle with goal setting. Think about how you can design your own environment to support the changes that your goal demands. Consider for example, if more exercise is your goal, taking your trainers to work with you so that you can head out for a lunchtime run or walk. Even better if you can find a buddy to run/walk with. Want to lose weight? Use choice architecture to have healthy foods where you can see them, at eye level or at the front of the fridge, keeping them easily accessible. Stash the less healthy choices away from view, in harder to access places or consider not buying them at all by avoiding that eye level shelf! When you make small, incremental changes to your environment in order to support your goals you’re creating a space that motivates and encourages you making goal success even easier – now you’re designing and we like the cut of your gib!
3. Review Your Goals
Ah it sounds so obvious but you’d be surprised how many times this crucial step gets forgotten. Whether you review weekly, fortnightly or monthly it’s important to check in on your goals and see if you are still on track. This step is also about accountability. You wouldn’t buy a plant and forget to water it, your goals are no different, they need watering too! If you’re on schedule, great, give yourself a pat on the back (along with one from us) and ask yourself;
- What am I doing that’s working?
- What is supporting me?
- What do I need to continue doing?
- How can I keep this goal on track?
If your goals aren’t where you need them to be, ask yourself;
- What do I need to do more of?
- What do I need to do to move this goal forward?
- What do I need to stop doing?
- Do I need to check my choice architecture?
- Is there anyone who can help me?
Goal setting (and achieving) is a constant process. Make a date with yourself to check in and see how you’re doing to keep yourself on schedule.
4. Share Your Goals If You Must
We say this with a caveat. Share them with people who you trust and who will support you. These people will become your cheerleaders and motivate you when your willpower is flagging. Don’t share them with naysayers, mood hoovers, pessimists or emotional vampires – and that’s an order! Derek Silver in his TED Talk ‘Don’t Share Your Goals’ https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself describes how the social reality (the feel good emotions that come from sharing your goals) can actually prevent you from achieving them. When you tell others “I’m going to learn to sing.” or “I’m going to travel the world….write a book….lose weight…learn to foxtrot” the positive response that you receive from them can effectively stop your goal dead in its tracks. This turns conventional goal sharing wisdom on it’s head. So only share your goal if it’s a must for you and the person that you’re telling needs to know. That’s right, they must have special clearance or it’s need to know basis only. Your goal is hot stuff and we need to protect it.
Want to know more about goal setting? Check out our fab Goal Setting For Success Podcast http://positivechangeguru.com/successful-goal-setting/ or visit the huge range of absolutely free resources on our site just for you. If you feel that you’d like some extra support with your goal check out our coaching sessions http://positivechangeguru.com/product/coaching-sessions/ we’d love to hear from you!