Design Your Outcomes

Think back to the last time personal goals were top of mind.  Remember how quickly those goals became irrelevant once life’s commitments distracted us?  Thinking about future accomplishments may be easy.  However, once we set our goals, following through can be the most challenging task.


Research demonstrates that despite desires to change, we maintain current habits out of comfort of our routine. The human brain is wired to favor routine over novelty, even if that routine is unhealthy.

But what if we could train our brain to break our habit of routine?  Goal setting for change allows us to take control and lead our lives in our desired direction. The process of goal setting provides the opportunity to assess our focus and evaluate whether the direction we are heading in and the steps we take will actually create the life we seek.   Without goals, we can wander through life aimlessly, lacking focus and a sense of direction.
When broken down simply, there are two steps to achieving your goals: setting the goal and then following through with it. According to MindToolsthere are six golden rules to consider when setting goals:

1.       Set Goals that are Motivating: Set goals that have value. Focus on what you want to achieve in life. When we set goals that have meaning to us, we have more of a tendency to pursue them.  Motivation is key to achieving goals.

2.       Set SMART Goals:  For goals to be powerful, they should be SMART.

Time Bound

3.       Write down Goals:  Recording the goal makes it real and more likely attainable. When goals are recorded, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” Using strong, positive words keeps motivation strong and can improve retention. Writing has been proven to help store and internalize ideas for longer periods of time, thus helping you stay focused and on track.


4.       Make an Action PlanThis step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. Write down individual steps and cross each one off as you accomplish it.


5.       Stick with it!  This is the hardest step. Don’t give up. Life is certain to throw obstacles in the path. It is how we handle those obstacles that control our success.  Goal setting is an ongoing activity. In goal setting, set reminders to stay on track and schedule time to review goals.  This keeps goals current and relevant to aspirations. Ralph Ryback, author of The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals, explains the best way for the brain to form a habit is to stay consistent.  When goals we desire become habit, as creatures of habit, they are more easily attainable.


6.       Use Dopamine to your Advantage: When we desire something our brain releases dopamine.  It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them. Every time we achieve these smaller goals, our brains receive a rewarding transmitter. The more often we give our brain this rewarding feeling, the more often our brains will want us to repeat the associated behavior.

Goal setting can help us accomplish what we actually desire.  With focus and commitment, anything we set our minds to can become a reality.

 “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration – the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

– Stephen King
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at 2:25 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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