Goal Setting – Science behind your goals and tips on how to achieve them!

GOAL SETTING

 

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As the World Cup is coming up soon, with England’s hopes on the line and with a tough group ahead facing Italy in our first match. I thought it would be important to discuss goal setting. Like most footballers their goal is to win, to improve their performance and ultimately win the whole tournament. Like anything, goal setting starts at home with you and your motivation.

For most of us we are surrounded by goals, may it be goals at work that you need to achieve. Personal goals of losing weight, actually going to the gym that you pay for, sorting out the garden. Whatever it may be goals and you are connected. So I have a few tips on how to structure yourself, in order to achieve your goals and get you closer to your dream.

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 1. Set Goals that Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals. The key is to set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life.

To make sure your goals motivate you, write down why it’s valuable and important to you. Ask yourself, “If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?” .You can use this motivating value statement, to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.

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2. Attitude 

Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude. When you don’t have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality.

This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive “I can’t do anything or be successful at anything” frame of mind. Having the right attitude will go along way in achieving success.

 

3. Set SMART Goals

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Set Specific Goals

Your goals must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. Without a way to measure your success, you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

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4.Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” For example, “I will reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year,” not “I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year.” The first goal statement has power and you can “see” yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked. Even a to do list helps structure your mind/motivation.

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5. Make an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal.

 

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6. STICK WITH IT! 

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly.

 

Science Behind Goal Setting

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Lots of studies have been done by scientist and neurologists as how the brain reacts to goal setting and how failure to achieve goals effects the brain.

According to Princeton University researchers (2012), setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we had already accomplished it. So therefore by setting something as a goal, be it little or large, be it near or far , our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are, setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfil the brain’s self- image.

Apparently the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment of the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Princeton Neuroscience Institute, found that updating goals takes place in the prefrontal cortex, and appears to involve signals associated with the brain chemical dopamine. Leaving a positive and accomplished feeling once the goal was accomplished.

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Using these tips above and understanding of how goal setting effects the brain. I hope it helps you focus on your goals and achievements.

 

Kind regards

Abigail Pike

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References
http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/12/20/how-the-brain-plugs-new-information-into-goal-setting/49368.html
http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=124
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

 

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