How many times have you set goals only to give up on them? You set out with a pocket full of good intentions to lose weight, get fitter, earn a million bucks, quit smoking, or whatever and you really mean to go for it but by week two or three the goal is beginning to slip only to be abandoned for a later day (if ever).
So you’ve set yourself the goal of losing weight.
Because you are super intelligent (we would say that, wouldn’t we), you’ve read our last post ‘Why set goals for yourself?‘, what are its qualities and why goal-setting is important’
You know that goals should be:
But it’s also week two of this new diet routine and the novelty is beginning to wear off, the TV tonight looks good, you’re knackered after a hard day’s work and let’s face it, it would be much easier to pick up a take-away than laboriously prepare all those flipping fresh ingredients you bought when dieting seemed like the perfect idea!
So what’s gone wrong? What’s missing?
It turns out that the missing ingredient is within ourselves – our motivations, values and beliefs!
Is this getting deep or what? Stick with it.
What’s your motivation, darling!
Just as an actor looks for the motivation behind their character’s words to provide a clue as to how to say and act them, we need to look at the motivation behind the goals we set.
In considering the motivation for your goals it helps to think about their meaning and importance for you as an individual.
Sometimes the difficulty here is that you think you want something but the truth is you are doing it for someone else, a significant other, such as a parent or loved one (‘Well, you could do with losing a bit of weight, dear!’ – ‘Yeah, thanks Mum’).
Are your goals for yourselves or for others; however well meaning those others might be? It’s important to own your goals.
Another aspect of what will motivate you to achieve your goal is to think of the purpose behind your goals, because this will help sustain you through the process. Take what you want to achieve and examine why (the purpose).
What does this mean?
Let’s take an example. You have a goal of getting a bigger house (the what) but why do you want a bigger house? You want a bigger house because you would dearly like to expand your family.
Understanding and focusing on the purpose (the why) of the goal is more motivating in the longer term.
Having ensured that the goal is your own and identified the purpose behind it, there is another consideration that will further increase your motivation to achieve it. That is to ensure that your goal is well integrated into the self-concept of who you are as a person. These are called self-concordant goals.
Self-concordant goals are in line with your beliefs and values and are therefore more aligned to who you are as a person, your true self.
In the case of our example, this would mean looking beneath the goal and purpose (to buy the bigger house to accommodate a growing family) to the values and beliefs you hold about families e.g. what is a good size for a family, the effects of being an only child, the role of a parent, what a happy family looks like, etc. It is like giving yourself an explanation of your purpose.
Because these goals have personal meaning to you as an individual and reflect your beliefs and values, you are more likely to succeed as you are more willing to put in self-sustaining effort over time to achieve them.
If you find that your goals are in line with your values and beliefs then all well and good, but what happens if they’re not?
Goals that do not reflect your own beliefs and values are in conflict with your sense of who you are and are therefore more likely to be abandoned.
When this happens (which is probably more than we ever recognize) there are two options:
But that’s a whole new subject for another day.
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