It pains me slightly writing this as I love goal setting! I set New Years Resolutions and often put my monthly goals out on social media, it keeps me accountable and I do it to try and motivate others into doing the hard work needed for their goals. If done well, goal setting can drive some amazing results, and I’m still a fan and not willing to fully let go of goals setting. I especially think my long term goal of a sub 20 parkrun goal (so crazy and scary a goal that I’ve even created my own hashtag - #mycrazysub20goal) keeps me moving forward (or at least stops me from going backwards!).
The downside of goals / resolutions … The process of setting goals implies that you don’t achieve anything until you hit your goal, therefore you only get to happiness when you achieve the goal. This tells the brain I don’t currently have everything I need – this way of thinking is interpreted by the brain as a threat – this is not a good place for non urgent action to be taken. Significant threats elicit as fight or flight (urgent) action, but moderate threats (e.g. I don’t have everything I need) doesn’t elicit action at all. Therefore the patient consistent action that is needed to achieve any goal is not supported! Also often hitting a goal is underwhelming and the next goal is set so fast, the focus moves on very quickly. The celebration of a goal often is non-existence.
So what to do about it?
If you set goals / resolutions and continuously fail, try this …. Instead of setting goals, set habits, embed and build on them. Setting a habit means you not only start now, you achieve straight away, you don’t have to wait to hit your goal you have created a habit and you have success. Embed and build on your habit and you will hit your goal. Examples of traditional goals turned into habits: Instead of setting the goal to lose 2 stone Example habits to set could be: Track Calories and eat on X calories. Only eating out once a fortnight Don’t eat office ‘treats’ Instead of setting the goal to start your own business Example habits to set could be: I work X hours a week on my business Can you see the difference, you achieve it straight away, embed and build the habit and you’ll get to where you want to get! What goals / resolutions do you have this year? How can your turn them into habits? What habits are you going to implement?
Want to improve your running?
Want to see the 'New PB' in the parkrun results?