Armijo: Stop setting ‘goals’
As we arrive in the new year, many of us have been trained to set goals which we want to accomplish over the coming year. Goal setting is intertwined with our New Year’s resolutions. Each year people tell me how much weight they would like to lose, what kind of relationship they plan to get into, or how much more money they want to see in their bank account. And, each year I see the same thing happen to nearly all of them.
People set their goals with the best of intentions and typically set them at the beginning of the year because that’s what society dictates as the best time to do so and it allows them to accurately measure their progress when setting it at the beginning of the year. Although these goals are set with the best intentions in mind, most who set them will fail. They often fail before February is even over (if you don’t believe me just frequent your local fitness center from the beginning of January and see all of the new faces, then notice how the crowds thin come mid-February).
It is not entirely the person’s fault for not accomplishing their goals. It usually has to do with a variety of factors — one of these factors has to do with the word “goal.” In the book, “Psycho-Cybernetics,” author Maxwell Maltz discusses how people already have a negative connotation with the word “goal.” Some of these people may carry that negative connotation with the word “goal” due to a series of past failures when trying to reach their goals, or due to a mindset about their own confidence in obtaining these goals.
One way to help a person become successful in reaching their goals is to stop using the word “goal” altogether. Maltz suggests replacing the word goal with words that may have a more positive meaning in their life such as happiness, success, fulfillment, or importance. An example of this would be to set an idea of being fulfilled when you earn an extra $5,000 per month or when you arrive and stay at your desired weight.
It is a simple trick, but one that has had great success for those who find a negative connotation to the word “goal.” Once you find a word to competently replace “goal” you can begin to create your path to happiness, fulfillment, or success.
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Our desired results, or goals, are usually set with a timeframe in mind such as I will earn $10,000 per month within the next three months. Unless you are a professional athlete, research suggests the timeframe for your accomplishment should not be rigid, or to remove a timeframe altogether.
The reasoning behind this is if we have a concrete timeframe in place to earn a certain amount of money, lose a certain amount of weight, or achieve our desired relationship, and we miss that set date, we feel a sense of failure. Each of us reacts differently to failing and there are people who will just stop trying if they feel as though they have failed in achieving what they want. So, if we keep our timeframe malleable and miss our deadline, we can set a new deadline and work from there without feelings of failure.
There are old schools of thought which will say this is an incorrect approach to goal setting, but as we learn more about the human psyche, we understand that each person thinks and reacts differently to an external stimulus. One person may miss a deadline and react with feelings of unworthiness and failure whereas another person may miss a deadline and see it as an opportunity to correct something that may have not worked as they hoped. The latter approach has been shown to be the best approach.
Humans are not perfect creatures. However, there are many people who still see perfection as the ultimate pedestal for themselves and are, typically, very disappointed when they cannot reach it. Be compassionate to yourself and allow yourself leeway when you are trying to reach a new level in your career, fitness, finances. Remove the word “goal” from your vocabulary, if it bothers you, and replace it with a word that you view as motivating. Also, do not set hard deadlines for yourself and if you miss your deadline, correct what did not work, extend your deadline, and keep moving forward. As long as you do not quit, you will succeed.
Chad Armijo lives in Edwards and is the founder of www.chadarmijocoaching.com and creator of the Mind Muscle Mastery program. He holds two masters degrees from Colorado State University in Business Management and Adult Teaching. In addition, he is a Master Certified NLP Life/Business Success Coach and Certified Ericksonian Hypnotherapist as well as a Pilates instructor. Find him on Facebook (@lifecoachingvail) or Instagram (@carmijo12).