You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (Zig Ziglar)
Goal-setting is where to start.
Whether you’re trying to lose 10 pounds or just stop reaching for that bag of chips – we’re here to help you set and ACHIEVE your goals!
There are decades of impressive science behind the theory of goal setting. It’s not just cheerleading fluff – in fact, it’s been proven to increase achievement by a whopping 42%!
Scientists, psychologists, and other researchers have spent decades undisputedly proving that goal setting actually changes your brain in ways that help you achieve a happier, healthier life.
Wait a minute… did we just say that it changes your brain?
Yes! It does! Here’s how.
1. The endowment effect
Did you know that the brain has a really tough time distinguishing between what we want, and what we already have?
Okay. I know that sounds a little out there. Let me give you an example –
- Cornell University researchers illustrated this with a clever experiment.
- First, they gave participants coffee mugs and offered to trade them chocolate for their mugs. Almost none of the participants wanted to trade.
- Then, they reversed the trial.
- They gave the students chocolate and asked if they’d like to trade for the coffee mugs. Still no go.
This is The Endowment Effect in action. It’s more about what we already have, than the actual objects.
When we take ownership of something, we work to keep it.
Whether it’s writing down your goals, reciting affirmations, or identifying obstacles and action plans, you take ownership once you articulate your goal. It becomes a part of your identity, and we’ll do whatever it takes to achieve or hold on to it.
The human experience was designed to be a beautiful one. All of us seek pleasure and avoid pain!
Here’s why – when we perceive that something good is happening, dopamine is released in the brain. It makes us feel good!
It really is that simple.
With goal setting strategies, your brain will start to recognize the actions that contribute to achievement… and that action itself can then become the trigger for dopamine release!
Here’s how it works –
- Let’s say that losing the spare tire around your middle & rocking your favourite skinny jeans (again) is your goal.
- You’ve sat down and figured out that eating three or more servings of veggies every day will help you achieve that goal. So, you take action.
- Now, you start to feel super good every time you down those veggies – even though last week, it was a struggle.
This is dopamine! And you’re going to get another massive hit once you achieve your goal. Super cool, right?!
So if you think about it, you’ll come to the same conclusion as we did (along with thousands of researchers) – dopamine is crucial when it comes to keeping us focused & motivated to achieve our goals.
Here’s the best news – it’s super easy to tap into this power T-O-D-A-Y and every day. Goal setting doesn’t cost a thing, and you can do it in less time than it takes your morning coffee to percolate.
Okay, now that we’ve got the science out of the way… let’s get down to the FUN part!
Goal setting is so powerful because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to take to live our best life.
What are your dreams and goals? Think about what really excites you. Then, prioritize your goals. Which ones are the most important? Which ones are most feasible? Which ones will make the biggest difference in your life? Jot them down!
Now, we’re going to make them happen. Here’s how.
1. Be specific and measurable in your goals.
If you haven’t heard of SMART goal methodology, google it! (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Sensitive goals are the ones that you’ll be able to check off your list at the end of the month or year.)
A lot of people stop right there, but let’s dig a little deeper.
2. Identify your obstacles
Just like you prep your meals for the week to improve the likelihood of sticking to your diet, prepping for roadblocks that stand in the way of your goals is crucial. Identify what the obstacles are, and formulate a game plan for how you’ll kick it in the you-know-what. (That way, you’ll be ready – it won’t catch you off guard.)
3. Know your “why’s”
This one is tough, but well worth the extra time. Get to the root of what’s really important to you. It might not be about the skinny jeans at all! It might be about wanting to be a model of health, joy, and confidence for your kiddos, so they can grow up to be their happiest selves.
Getting a handle on the “why” is what’s going to get you through on the low-motivation days… which happen to all of us!
You might find our Script/Affirmations exercise helpful in thinking about your whys.
4. Get accountability!
Having an accountability partner is a total game changer when it comes to achieving your goals.
If you don’t have someone specific you can wrangle into this, we have a couple of great ideas.
- If social media is your jam, it’s a great place to start! Sharing your goals as you work on them is so satisfying. You’ll have personal cheerleading squad as you progress. (And who doesn’t love a good before & after?!)
- Not your thing? Totally okay! Sign up for our membership – it’s built-in accountability and it is WONDERFUL!
- 1:1 support sessions will put you and me side by side, and I’ll be your biggest cheerleader!
5. Train your brain
Habits – both good and bad – determine what we do each day and therefore, how we live our lives. In fact, most of the decisions we make throughout the day aren’t actually decisions at all – they’re habits.
One study showed that people who were given either stale or fresh popcorn at the theatre ate the same amount regardless. Even though they said the popcorn wasn’t that good, they still ate the same amount! (Ahem. Guilty as charged.)
If you do ONE THING after reading this post, think about your habits and try to swap out one bad one for a good one.
Commit to yourself. If exercise every day after work is like pulling teeth – suck it up & do it anyway! But maybe instead of doing a full hour, just commit to 15 minutes. You’ll get a very lightweight workout, but the act of getting there consistently will soon become a habit and feel like a mouthful of sparkly whites after a cleaning.
Change your environment. A long time ago, on the first vacation I took with my now-husband, I quit smoking. (Yup, I was a smoker – pack a day girl.) I’d tried quitting many times prior to this and failed. But when I got out of my typical routine, it was finally possible. It’s been 27 years and I haven’t had a drag since!
Use dopamine to your advantage. Set some goals, achieve them, and enjoy the dopamine that makes us feel so dang good. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every time the brain gets a whiff of dopamine, it’ll want you to do it again. (And again.)
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