If you are anything like most of us, you probably set goals with lots of good intentions, but often struggle to reach them. The hardest goals to reach are usually personal change goals – I will stop spending so much time on emails, I will make time for my team, I will think before I criticise people, I will be more self aware.
So how do people who successfully make change do it?
Here are 6 key strategies you can use to help make it easier to achieve your goals.
1 – When you are trying to change your behaviour, it helps to re-frame it positively. For example, rather than “I will stop being so critical when people come to me with ideas” you re-frame that as, “when people come to me for ideas, I will look for positives”. Trying not to do something actually reinforces the neural pathways in the brain associated with that behaviour and makes it harder to stop. It increases the behaviour rather that decreases it. For a simple example, try this: for the next 2 minutes, try not to think about chocolate. Were you able to do it? Trying NOT to think about chocolate makes you absolutely think about it. Mmmm, chocolate. I might just raid the fridge…
Trying not to do something actually reinforces the neural pathways in the brain associated with that behaviour and makes it harder to stop. It increases the behaviour rather that decreases it
2 – Prepare yourself and script up for situations. If you are trying to be more positive with your team, prepare for your next meeting with them. Think about what you might say, how you are going to stay positive. Develop techniques for managing your thinking when you start to feel critical. If you are trying to spend less time on email, don’t open your email program when you turn on the computer. Plan for when you are vulnerable to avoid falling into your habitual patterns. The more mindful you are and the less you run on autopilot, the easier it is to achieve your goals.
3 – Articulate your vision for your new self. Write it down, vision board it, mind map it – whatever suits you – but get it clear. Unless you have a clear picture of your goal, it’s hard to get there. Look at it often to stay motivated.
4 – Get a coach or a mentor who can help you stay on track. Coaching is one of the best investments you will make in yourself. Ever wondered why elite athletes have a team of coaches? A coach keeps you accountable, helps you develop good strategies for making change and provides a valuable sounding board to help you unpack what is working for you and what is not.
5 – Find other people who are working on the same or similar goals. A bit like coaching, you bounce ideas off each other and help support each other. Exercise buddies are a great example of this – you are far more likely to get out of bed in the early hours for a run if you are meeting a friend at the park.
6 – Observe someone who does it well. The best way to learn is by watching others. If you know someone who is great at motivating their team, watch their interactions with people. What do they say? How do they say it? What is their body language like? Eye contact? Watch and learn!
So, there are some key ways you can get well on the way to achieving your goals. What strategies do you use?
Rosalind is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, an Australian consultancy, specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations.
Ros works with leaders and managers who are experiencing challenges truly leveraging the talents and skills of their people. She is a solutions and results oriented facilitator and coach, with a career in the Human Resources and Organisational Development field spanning more than 20 years. Ros brings an energetic and proactive approach combined with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Her expertise spans leadership development, organisational culture, team building, change and transition management, organisational behaviour, employee engagement and motivation, strategic direction and management.
She is a talented executive and leadership coach, with current coaching clients at Executive and Senior levels in Government agencies, private enterprise and the community sectors. She is a sought after guest speaker and subject matter expert at events and conferences.