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Goal Architecture Made Simple

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.

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Successful Goal Setting

Episode 6: Successful Goal Setting. Using Goal Setting To Achieve Your Most Audacious Dreams

Hey Fabulous Positive Change Guru Friends! It’s great to see you again. This week we’re asking…..

Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do? Something that you dream of achieving? A goal that is still on your list or a change that you want to make but don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place!

Goal setting is your road map to success without it your dream is, well, just a twinkle in your minds eye. Join us for this goal setting episode where we walk you step by step through goal setting to make your most audacious goals reality. We’ll take you through;

  • Why most people fail to achieve the goals they set
  • The GROW Model
  • Ideas for getting clear about what you want to achieve
  • How to generate ideas to achieve your goal
  • Creating a road map to guide you towards your goal
  • The importance of reviewing your progress
  • How to manage priorities and ensure that your goal stays on track

Goal Setting For Success

Psychologist, Viktor Frankl, observed that,

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”

When you are committed to making a change in life, strategic goal setting is crucial to success. Time spent on goal setting will, as Frankl described, help pull you towards your goal. Once you appreciate how crucial effective goal setting is for success you will want to utilise the power of goal setting every time you decide to make a change.

A popular model used by coaches to support goal setting is the GROW model. This model talks you through each step of the goal setting process. The GROW model also invites you to anticipate possible obstacles and prepare solutions to overcome them. If you are new to goal setting then the GROW model is a great place to start.

So what exactly is the GROW Model?

Successful Goal setting requires a goal

G = this is where you describe your goal. Successful goal setting means putting pen to paper. Why write your goal down? Mark McCormack, in his book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, describes a 1979 study done with Harvard MBA students. Students from the class of ’79 were asked,

“Have you set clear, written goals for the future and made plans to accomplish them?”

Only 3% of students had written goals, 13% had goals but had not written them down and an incredible 84% had no goals at all.

Fast forward ten years and the class was interviewed again. The 13% of the class who had used goal setting but hadn’t written goals were earning twice as much as the 84% with no goals. What of the 3% of the class who had written goals? On average, the written goal setting 3% group were earning ten times more than the other 97% combined.

What a great reason to write down your goal! Measurable goal setting is essential because you will need to be able to measure progress and success along the way. Also consider the timeframe you will allow yourself to reach your goal. Incorporate the timescale into your goal.

Successful Goal setting needs to be realistic

R = Is your goal Realistic? At this stage of the goal setting process you will be examining what steps need to be taken to help you achieve your goal. You may find that your main goal actually involves lots of smaller steps or sub-goals. Consider what you have tried before and how effective past methods have been. How is your timescale shaping up when you consider these sub-goals? If necessary, revise the timescale for achieving your goal.

When considering how realistic your goal is, it’s essential to ask yourself, “how motivated am I to succeed?” Strong motivation will keep you focused when the going gets tough. If your motivation is low, question whether the goal you have chosen is right for you. Examining your motivation, consider how well your goal fits in with other goals. Is this goal a good fit with other goals or is there conflict? If conflict exists, decide what is most important to you. What lifestyle are you working towards? What will help you achieve your dreams? What leaves you feeling demotivated and despondent? Which goals energise you? Adjust the conflicting goals accordingly.

Successful Goal setting considers options and obstacles

O = What are the available options to support you to achieve your goal? At this stage of the goal setting process try to consider as many options as possible. Weigh the options. Choose the option that is the best fit for you and which will successfully propel you towards your goal.

The O in this goal setting model also allows you to consider any obstacles you may encounter. What are the potential difficulties? Thinking about obstacles now can prevent events, people or circumstances from derailing your efforts in the future. What can you put in place now to ensure success when obstacles arise?

Successful Goal setting points the way forwards

W = This is what you will do or the way forwards. Pull together the what, when, why, how and whom of your goal setting process. At this stage you are action planning.

Throughout the rest of the GROW model you have thought about your motivation, how realistic your goal is, any possible obstacles and how these will be overcome. The final stage of the goal setting process enables you to incorporate all of this into your action plan. Consider periodically setting time aside to review your progress. Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way and take time to savour your success when your goal is achieved.

Feeling all fired up? We’ve got your back! Take a look at our blog Goal Architecture Made Simple for even more tips on making your goal reality and don;t forget that you can access a huge range of free resources to help you on your way to success on the rest of our website www.positivechangeguru.com We’ll see you there! 

4 Tips for New Year resolution success

4 Tips to Kick Start your New Year’s Resolutions (and give you the crucial 1 in 8 chance of maintaining them)

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Another New Year, another set of resolutions. Good intentions abound but somehow, when January comes around, it all just seems harder than it sounded. Hands up if you’ve ever resolved to ;

  • lose weight
  • exercise more
  • find a work-life balance
  • meditate
  • stop smoking
  • eat healthily
  • spend more time with family
  • manage your time more effectively
  • just be nicer to be around

It comes as no surprise then, to learn that research from the university of Scranton suggests a measely 8% of us keep our New Year’s resolutions. After the first week of January a whopping quarter of us will have already ditched the goals we committed to at the beginning of January. [Read more…]

Modelling Wellbeing

Sometimes making changes can seem overwhelming, wondering where to start can be a major sticking point. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. PERMA Model to the rescue.

The PERMA model sets out 5 core components necessary for wellbeing and happiness. Seligmann offers the model as a way to obtain fulfilment, meaning and happiness throughout every sphere of life from the personal to the workplace. Whether you are planning a major lifestyle overhaul or you want to tweak things to find greater balance in your life, this model is a great place to start from. Let’s take a look at the five elements of PERMA.

P = Positive Emotion
Positive emotions go way beyond feeling happy. They include love, gratitude, compassion, contentment, zest, joy, hope and amusement. Perhaps you read that list and told yourself that these emotions are dependent upon personal circumstances? That emotions are a wild untameable beast that you can’t control at will? Rest easy we’re not going to send you off on mission impossible. Research from one of the world’s leading experts in positive emotions, Professor Barbara Fredrickson suggests that they can be built. Her theory, known as ‘Broaden and Build’ demonstrates how positive emotions can help us flourish in personal relationships, in the workplace as leaders or employees and even impact positively upon our longevity. Convinced? Good. Here are some practices that will help you build those life enhancing emotions.

Building Positive Emotions:

  • Random acts of kindness: sending a thank you card, picking up litter, buying the person behind you in the queue a coffee, you get the idea.
  • Keep a gratitude journal: write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for
  • Make sure you carve out time for people who are important to you
  • Build a resilience circle, friends who energise and renew you when you are with them. Leave the emotional vampires at home for this one.

E = Engagement

Seligmann describes engagement as “being one with the music, time stopping, and the loss of self- consciousness during an absorbing activity”. You might know this state as ‘Flow’ that state of consciousness where you are completely in the moment, absorbed and truly focused upon the task at hand. It’s the elusive ‘zone’. Time passes imperceptibly leaving hours feeling like minutes. When you are in flow you are also experiencing a stretch in your skills, focusing on something that provides you with a challenge. Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of ‘Flow’ is the leading authority on this topic. He describes how the intense concentration of flow is energising, satisfying and contributes to overall wellbeing. Csikszentmihalyi proposes that it is possible to increase our level of happiness by introducing more flow. But how?

Developing Engagement

  • Practice mindfulness techniques to limit distractions and increase your focus on the present moment (one of the conditions necessary for flow)
  • Savour being in the moment, noticing how you are feeling, what you are thinking along with any associated bodily sensations
  • Identify your strengths. Seligmann and Peterson’s VIA Character Strengths Assessment (go to www.authentic-happiness.com to access the questionnaire) is a great, free way to identify your strengths. Seligmann and Csikszentmihalyi agree that using your strengths will increase your happiness, facilitate flow and increase your positive emotions to boot (and who doesn’t love two for the price of one?).

R = Relationships

The third element is relationships. “We are inherently social creatures and positive relationships have a significant impact on our wellbeing.” (Seligman, 2012). This applies to all of your relationships; friends, loved ones, family, colleagues, partner and everyone else who you might come into contact with either in your community or professional networks. Relationships expert, Shelly Gable, describes how sharing positive news with others enhances our relationships. Gable also studied couples and found those who communicated and responded enthusiastically to each other (active-constructive responding as Gable termed it) experienced greater wellbeing. Building and maintaining your social network may also protect you against cognitive decline.

How can you build your social network?

  • Go places and do new activities
  • Take an interest in people
  • Develop your listening skills
  • Join a class or take up a hobby
  • Re-establish relationships with people that you have lost touch with
  • Create time to see friends and maintain your current relationships. Manage your energy levels (and your diary) to make this happen.
  • Be positive, people enjoy being around others who energise them
  • Develop your emotional intelligence

M = Meaning

Seligmann describes meaning as something greater than ourselves. Meaning has many guises, it’s your purpose for being on the planet. Perhaps it’s a cause you feel strongly about, it could be your work or pursuing an activity that you feel you were placed upon the earth to do. Finding meaning is often linked to values that you hold dear, something important to you. Research in this area indicates that people with a purpose live longer, are more likely to experience personal growth after trauma and enjoy increased wellbeing. Purpose isn’t filling that black hole with things or constant busy-ness, it’s rooted in a much deeper level. Here’s how to take your first steps in the quest for meaning.

Wondering how to build meaning into your life?

  • Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ as a good place to start. Viktor Frankls work on meaning was used in logotherapy and has even been applied to workplace settings.
  • Consider supporting an organisation that you care about
  • Spend time reflecting upon your values. Can you identify a top 10? Your values will act as your GPS when it comes to life, purpose and goal setting so it’s worth setting aside some detective time and a quiet space to consider this
  • Develop your authenticity. Feel the fear of rejection and be yourself. There’s only one you so you can be the best version of yourself.
  • Do something for someone else on a regular basis. We know that meaning is a lifelong pursuit so devote time to it, the evidence suggests every now and again is of little benefit. Be consistent.

A = Accomplishment

The final element is accomplishment or ‘I did it, and I did it well’ as Seligman puts it. Accomplishment requires goals setting, competency and mastery of those goals. Angela Duckworth defines the ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’ as ‘Grit’. Grit is the ability to continue when achieving your goals feels like an uphill struggle. It is perseverance combined with the commitment to overcome adversity. Think of it as failing your way to success and you’re there with the concept of grit. So why are goals important?

We know that achieving goals, especially those linked to your values increases wellbeing over a period of time. Goals motivate us and help us to develop a growth mindset, a belief that we can try new things and succeed (even if it takes a while).

Developing Accomplishment

  • The obvious starting point is setting goals. You’re more likely to achieve them if they’re SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound)
  • Set yourself small goals to begin wth and build up to larger goals. Think of them as goal reps just like you would with weights at the gym. Start small and work up to the chunky, audacious goals. You’re building your accomplishment muscle!
  • Celebrate and savour your achievements
  • Remember the power of ‘not yet’. If you don’t succeed, learn from it, you’re just not there ‘yet’.
  • If goals really aren’t your thing, consider making changes to your current habits, small incremental steps will pay dividends. For example, if you want to increase your physical fitness and catch the bus to work everyday, consider getting off a stop early to increase your steps. Tiny tweaks will make a big difference and you’ll still be building accomplishment at the same time
  • If or when things get a little tricky with your goals and you’re feeling like it’s all a bit of an uphill struggle, visit our piece on ‘Grit’ for some great tips here  http://positivechangeguru.com/embracing-diffild-resilience/

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Can’t Say No? What You Should Know About Beliefs


Self Beliefs 

Years ago I worked with a man who would regularly berate his car when it refused to start. The car, an ageing, rusty land rover, would frequently be on the receiving end of physical blows and shouts of admonishment rained down upon it by my colleague in the belief that the car would somehow be shown the error of it’s ways. The ritual would last for five to ten minutes until the perpetrator stood back, kicked off his steel toe capped Wellington boots (I kid you not), placed his hands on his hips and stated “That told it”. Now that’s belief. As we say up north, “There’s nowt so queer as folk”. He truly believed that this strange and irrational behaviour impacted upon the car’s performance.

Laugh as you may at this story, sometimes we can all be guilty of harbouring weird and wonderful beliefs about the world we inhabit. Ok, so I’m not suggesting that you are someone who kicks and shouts at their car believing that you’re persuading it to perform like a Ferrari, but there may be an equally erroneous belief about yourself that you’re holding on to. Perhaps you think it’s ok for everyone else to be assertive, but not for you? Maybe you think it’s wrong to say no to requests from co-workers? friends? family? Like it or not, what you believe about yourself determines how you perform, what you think you’re capable of and ultimately what you get out of life whether it’s the career, relationship, income or lifestyle .


Years of research into human behaviour tells us that we all have blind spots or ‘schotomas’ things we can’t see or keep missing no matter how hard we look at ourselves. Perhaps you were told something about yourself as a child, by parents, teachers or some other authority figure. Were you told that you were clumsy? Not ‘academic’? That you were ‘plain’ or lacked talent in something you loved? My experience of working with hundreds of people (yes, even clever people like you) tells me that not only is this list endless, it also bears no relation to reality. These words or labels, often carelessly uttered, with little or no thought, can lead to years of inaccurate self assessment, ultimately leading to a belief that one single opinion from long ago is actually the ‘truth’ about who you are and what you’re capable of. We (along with the latest research in psychology and neuroscience) say a very big ‘Pah.’ to that.

Erroneous Beliefs

The strange thing is, once that we’ve been told something about ourselves (especially as children) we’re prone to hold on to it. We become selective perceivers, looking for evidence to prove that we’re right to believe the inaccurate things we do. Psychologist Carl Festinger calls this the cognitive dissonance principle. Our subconscious is unable to hold two opposing beliefs at the same time so any evidence that suggests we might be wrong to cling onto these inaccurate labels is conveniently pushed to one side. We literally become blind to it. If I tell you that you are ‘Clever’ when somewhere down the line it was implied you were ‘the average one’ and somewhat lacking in the cerebral department who do you think you’ll be more likely to believe? You’ll find a reason to discount my comment, just as you’ve been doing for years when anyone tells you the same thing, so that you can continue to believe you’re not. That’s selective perception. Once you get something into your head, it stays there and when you’re sifting through all of the stuff that the world presents you with, you’ll only pay attention to the information that proves you’re right, however misleading it might be.

Something to think about;

So my question for you is where are your blind spots? What talents, skills, abilities or characteristics might you have overlooked? Take some time to really think about this one and examine some of the beliefs that you have about who you are and what you’re capable of. Where do they really come from?. Are they serving you or holding you back? To move forwards and create the changes you want in life you’ll need to reexamine them and decide whether they’re a true reflection of who you are now or just someone else’s outdated, dusty opinion.

Where’s the Evidence?

If your beliefs are getting in the way of the kind of life you want, the next step is to ask yourself, ‘is that REALLY true?’. Look for evidence that proves the old belief is wrong or outdated. Remember you’ve been ignoring this kind of evidence for years so it might take a while to spot it at first. Be sure that you are being 100% honest with yourself when it comes to any evidence you might be overlooking. Letting go of these beliefs and leaving your usual way of thinking might feel uncomfortable at first but ultimately, it’s liberating.The next time you catch yourself reaffirming those tired old scripts about who you are and what you’re capable of, stop and ask yourself “Are you absolutely sure that’s true?”. Start to create a new bank of evidence, from events and situations that prove the opposite of the old belief, painting a brand new you picture of yourself, a canvas that truly reflects exactly who you are now as well as where you’re headed in the future. And there next time you think about saying ‘Yes’ to others and ‘No’ to yourself? Give yourself permission to do what you really want to.

And on that note I’ll leave you with the following thought from Patanjali (c. 2nd century) India.

‘If you desire a glorious future, transform the present’

Living your values is essential to success


“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

Values give us meaning

At the start of the year many of us appraise our professional and personal lives and spend  time thinking about what we’d like to achieve for the year ahead. Maybe you’ve resolved to carve out more time in your hectic schedule to spend with family and friends? Perhaps you’ve committed to find a new job or decided to live a more minimalist lifestyle? All of these decisions involve values.

Defining Values

Values are principles, they’re comprised of that which we hold to be important in life. Maybe you’ve never  sat down to ask yourself which values you hold most dear but when someone challenges or offends an important value, you’re sure to respond, on an almost instinctive level.

Living your values

When we commit to change, how do we know that our decision is soundly based and likely to motivate us to success? One effective way of checking that your goals are a good fit is to ask yourself, ‘Does this goal align with my values?’ If you’ve never actively considered what your values are, why not spend some time considering the following questions:

  1. What causes and issues do I feel most strongly about?
  2. What do these causes and issues have in common? Maybe they all relate to fairness or justice? Perhaps each issue displays your strong love of education, creativity, perseverance or connecting with others?
  3. Who do you most admire and why? Do you see a pattern in what you admire about others that relates to your core values?

Values and motivation

Check your goals against your values, do they sit well together or is conflict evident between them. Your motivation to stick with a goal is hugely influenced by how aligned your goal is with your core values. Maybe you’re goal is to go all out for a promotion at work but your values are more aligned with having less materially but being able to spend more time on creative pursuits? If your job isn’t tapping into your creative side then this could be a tough goal to follow. You may have a long list of rational reasons to pursue a goal but if there is no emotional, passionate connection with your values embedded in your goal, then when the going gets tough your goal could suffer.

3 reasons to live your values

  1. We tend to be happier when our goals match our values. When you’re faced with a tough task, knowing that completing it reflects your core values can be the push you need to get you through. Your achievement is all the more satisfying, knowing that it reflects what is truly important to you.
  2. If we’re happier when we live our values it stands to reason that many decisions will be easier as well easier to live with if your actions reflect your values.
  3. When you live your values you are the master of your own destiny. Thinking about your core values and intentionally living by them can open up new possibilities and experiences.

We love to talk about all things change management related at Positive Change Guru. Check out our forthcoming events or get in touch to find out more about our suite of courses and discuss bespoke change management training for your organisation.

3 tips to boost willpower and achieve your goals

When we set ourselves goals, we know that willpower is going to come into play at some stage of the process. Enthusiasm can fire us into action initially but when the going gets tough willpower may be the make or break of achieving a dream or goal. So is willpower something that we are born with or can it be developed to help us work towards positive change?

Marshmallows reveal a lot about willpower

Psychologist, Walter Meschel, carried out a longitudinal study focusing on cognitive control (or willpower) with 1,037 children born in one year of the 1970s. The research took place in the beautiful city of Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island. Each child was given a variety of tests to complete, the most famous of which was the legendary marshmallow test.

In the marshmallow test the children were instructed that they could have a marshmallow straight away or they could wait a mere fifteen minutes and be rewarded with two marshmallows. Meschel found the results of the test divided the children into three groups. The first group was comprised of children who ate the marshmallow on the spot. The second group of children waited a while longer but couldn’t resist temptation for the full fifteen minutes and the third group waited the full quarter of an hour before receiving their two marshmallows.

The effects of willpower thirty years on

What makes Meschel’s research even more interesting is that he was able to re-visit the children from the study almost three decades later. Now in their thirties, Meschel discovered something fascinating about the children. The group who waited the full fifteen minutes were significantly healthier, more successful and more law abiding than the group of children who ate the marshmallow straight away. Meschel and his team took these results and factored for social class and IQ. They found that the level of willpower the children had at an early age was a greater predictor of financial success than either IQ or social class.

It’s clear from this study that our level of cognitive control or willpower is a big factor in our ability to achieve our dreams and goals. Even though Meschel’s test involved the small task of waiting fifteen minutes to gain an extra marshmallow, it demonstrates that the everyday decisions we make to resist temptation can build or deplete our capacity to manage challenge or temptation when bigger decisions present themselves over a longer period.

3 tips to develop willpower

The good news is that we are all able to develop our level of willpower. Meschel describes three sub-types of cognitive control that are required to successfully use willpower and overcome instant gratification:

1. Voluntarily remove your focus from the object of desire.

The fact that you are choosing to remove your focus away from temptation is important here. Think about your motivation for resisting and make sure that it’s powerful enough to fire your determination. Write down your main motivations and keep them close to hand so you can remind yourself of the important reasons you have chosen to make this change.

2. Prevent distraction and avoid being drawn back towards temptation.

Draw up a list of activities that you know will be effective in helping you to avoid distraction. The list should contain activities you enjoy, some may have been successful strategies in the past for avoiding temptation. Examples could be meeting with friends, engaging in a favourite exercise, listening to music, playing with a pet, focusing on a hobby. The list should contain plenty of activities that you find fun or challenging in some way.

3. Focus on the future goal and imagine how good it will feel when the goal is achieved.

This future focus is essential to ensure willpower remains strong. Visualise every aspect of achieving your goal, how it will look and feel and the benefits for you and those around you.

Small steps can make a big difference

Research from neuroscientists, including that of Richard J. Davidson, has demonstrated that we are able to develop our level of cognitive control through any activity that prompts us to stop and focus before resisting temptation and concentrating our focus elsewhere. Just making the decision to resist instant gratification and waiting moves our brain processes into the pre-frontal cortex, activating the brain centres required for cognitive control. This means that even the smallest of steps to exercise willpower will have a big impact in the long term by developing the brain circuitry responsible for cognitive control.

So the next time you are presented with a small decision that provides the option to exercise your cognitive control, seize the moment and regard it as an opportunity to strengthen your willpower.

Change Your Life in 90 days

In this post you’ll learn how to change your life for the better in 90 days. We’ll show you how to use an effective 3 stage change technique, you’ll get to watch Tom Mendoza’s video all about positively changing your life and we’ll leave you with some fab inspirational quotes about making change to leave you warm, fuzzy and ready for action. Join us to learn all about how to change your life completely.

[Read more…]

Setting Goals in 4 Simple Steps

Setting Goals Template in 4 Steps

Psychologist, Viktor Frankl, observed that,

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”

When you are committed to making a change in life, strategic goal setting is crucial to success. Setting goals in life is always the first step to serious change. Time spent on goal setting will, as Frankl described, help pull you towards your goal. Once you appreciate how crucial effective goal setting is for success you will want to utilise the power of goal setting every time you decide to make a change. So if you’re setting goals at work or setting goals for 2018 full stop, we’ve got the perfect goal setting template for you.

[Read more…]

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