The act of goal-setting feels good. So good, in fact, that it can lead you into the belief that setting goals is enough. Sounds like an addictive cycle, right? It is.
The cycle looks like this:
- You set a goal that sounds good on paper.
- You imagine how it might feel to accomplish it.
- Your body is flooded with happy chemicals to help motivate you toward success.
- Instead of taking a step forward, you post about it on Facebook and then after a few days and the likes have died down… you set another new goal… having never actually created momentum.
There is good news, however. Psychologists have found ways to kick that habit and start creating momentum so you can feel real success in your life. Here’s Psychology Today writer Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D.:
“The thing is, extrinsic (external) motivation has more than one flavor. As described by Richard Ryan & Edward Deci in their Self-Determinination Theory, the more we internalize and identify with a goal by understanding the value behind it or even simply the importance of the task, the more likely we are to act autonomously.
So, making a task your “own” doesn’t mean that you initiate or invent each task, it just means that you identify with the task at some level. Psychologists sometimes refer to this as self-congruent or self-concordant goals.
In fact as Bettina Wiese (University of Zurich) summarized our understanding to date, “. . . empirical research has repeatedly shown that striving toward self-concordant goals strengthens the link between goal progress and well-being”.
A lot of people and teams (and corporations) get stuck in chronic goal-setting cycles because they don’t work on their internal processes first. If you keep seeing similar goals popping up every time you sit down to think through your life plan… you might be addicted to goal-setting too.
You can try to make a life plan without going deeper into your purpose (in life or in business), but the plans and goals you’ll create will probably fall flat after a few weeks.
How to Set better Goals in 2016
The best way to make sure your goals stick is to make goals that directly tie to your long-term life plan… or what I sometimes call your “To-Be List.”
Answer these questions:
What is it you would like to be or become?
Is your goal helping you toward your dream life?
Can you easily see the first step?
How good would it feel to take that first step?
Who can you call to help you take that first step?
When are you prepared to start? (Today?)
Goal-setting is fun. It’s one of the easiest and most compelling ways to feel successful. Just make sure there’s some real-world movement each January as well.
If you need help with your goals or projects, head over to NewYearsGoals.com where I’ve set up a free tool that will email you to check in on your goals throughout the year.
Also by Dale Thomas Vaughn
|How I Learned to Be Happy When I Am Alone||How Guys Go From Tough and Alone to Evolved and Accountable||10 Skills Every Man Should Learn||20 Lessons From My Men’s Group That Have Improved My Life|