“I’m going to save for the down payment of a house.”
“I’m going to build a six-month emergency fund.”
“I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”
And so goes the goals we set for ourselves…
If I asked you to look at these goals with a critical eye, could you see the self- sabotaging nature of these goals?
In theory they look just fine, but what most people don’t realize is that there is a science to goal setting and these lofty aims—causing us to run headfirst into our own failure—just ain’t it!
Goals should be clear, concise, measureable and most of all OBTAINABLE! How much are you saving for that down payment? In how much time? What are the concrete action steps that will enable this? And what time, social and financial resources do you have to make this a reality?
In addition to these answering these questions—each worthy of a post of their own—I’ll share a little with you of what the greats know as it pertains to goal setting.
1. Goals should be as small as possible. Dr. Robert Maurer, in his book, “One Small Step Can Change your Life: The Kaizen Way,” educates us on the way the brain works. Change is scary. When we tell our brains that we are going to do something new such as, “start exercising,” our brain perceives such stark change as a threat to our current state of balance. As such, our, “fight or flight,” response kicks in. So, sometimes, one’s response may be to put off exercising for days, weeks—even years. One might even provide a million legitimate excuses for why they can’t exercise. “I don’t have the time. I can’t afford a gym. And for crying out loud, “Who’s gonna watch the kids?!”
Dr. Maurer advises that we make goals as small as possible. As opposed to saying, “I’m going to run 3 miles a day,”—which is still more concrete and measurable than, “I’m going to start exercising,”—say, “I’m going to walk in place 1 minute a day.” In so doing we override our natural tendency for the, “fight or flight,” response. Walking in place a minute a day is not threatening. As such, we’re more likely to do it. In so doing the probability is that you’ll surpass that minute and walk five, ten—and in time—even thirty minutes a day.
2. Visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. Once you have “micro’ed” your goals, you’re ready for the following step. Visualize yourself accomplishing these goals. See yourself doing each of these steps with ease. Experience every aspect of it. What does it look like? Feel like? Or smell like? Live its’ reality mentally.
Law of Attraction proponents are familiar with this, but science has also come to agree. Cognitive Psychologist, Dr. Colleen Seifert, calls this phenomenon, “predictive encoding.”
When you practice visualizing a thing, your brain does not distinguish reality from fanciful imaginings—neural pathways are created nonetheless. As such, your brain will act as though it has happened and is a habit, not only overriding one’s, “fight or flight,” response but also augmenting one’s ability to notice when they are provided with opportunities to act on their “habits”.
If you don’t believe it, try it!
You’ve been reading these wonderful Fabulous and Frugal posts and have been counseled on getting out of debt and other such goals. Use these additional goal- setting tools to make your dreams a reality, but before you do that, share with this community some of your goals!
[info_box type=”alert_box”]Caring for yourself including takes care of your finances. I encourage all ladies who are serious about self-care to go on The Happy Finances Challenge. In 42 days you can learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness. [/info_box]