Be careful what you wish for. To make sure your goals don’t bring unwanted consequences with them, think through what effect they will have on other areas of your life. Do you really want a Ferrari if you would be constantly stressing out about jealous people keying it? Make sure your goals also leave room for the other important things in your life.
Most of the time we are pretty much on autopilot. To get round this, arrange things so it’s easier to do the right thing even when you’re not thinking about it. If you want to get into going for a run every morning, keep your running gear by the bed so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up.
To feel more motivated, focus on the end result rather than the slog of getting there. That way you won’t put yourself off. The more vivid and compelling you make the image of your goal, the more motivating it will be. Ask yourself: what will I see when I achieve my goal? What will I hear? And how will it feel?
You’ll feel more alive if you spend your money on experiences rather than stuff. Psychologist Ryan Howells at San Francisco State University has found that ‘experiential purchases’ like holidays or meals out give you longer-lasting happiness than spending on material possessions. “We don’t tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.” says Howell.
Work out what’s important to you to keep your life on track. For each major area of your life (e.g. Work/career, Relationship, Finances, Health and Fitness), ask yourself “What’s important about this area?” and keep going until you have a checklist of what motivates you. Use it to evaluate new opportunities – do you want that job? Is this the right relationship long-term?
Beware of too much positive thinking. Focusing on what you want is great, but ignoring potential downsides will lead to trouble eventually. Most people didn’t see the credit crunch coming – certainly not the banks or the government. So every so often, do a ‘minesweep’ of your plans. Ask yourself “What could go wrong? How can I minimise that risk?”
Do you deserve to take a couple of days just for yourself to clarify what’s important to you and learn the secrets of effective goal-setting? Book your place on the acclaimed Create The Life You Want workshop in Manchester or Leeds.