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Goal Setting

Positive power language to help you achieve your goals

It’s that time of the year again, that time when we decided to change things, to set ourselves goals, New Year’s resolutions… but how many of them have already fallen by the wayside or been broken?

How much is our language partly to blame for this? By now, you probably all realise just how passionate I am about the language we use and how it can help or hinder us achieving things. I am passionate. Very!

Over the last few days I’ve had conversations with many of my friends about how they are going to do things differently in the new year. Each of them used the word…try. I’m going to try and lose weight, try to not spend as much, try to spend more time with family and friends, try to exercise more etc. Using the word try means they will never succeed. Harsh as it may sound but try implies failure and a lack of intent and commitment. Think about it for a minute. Go and try and clean your teeth. It’s impossible! You either clean them or you don’t. You may not clean them very well, but you still clean them. Think about how many times you bump into someone you haven’t seen for ages. Let’s try and meet up soon, you say. Chances are it will never happen. You do kind of want to but if you really meant it, you would get diaries out there and then and set a date. We all do it from time to time but our minds recognise that we’re not really that committed to what we say we want and don’t help us out at all in meeting our goals. So change your language. Start committing: I’m going to exercise more, I’m going to save more, I’m going to eat more healthily …and notice the difference it makes. Your mind will already be searching for ways it can help you meet your goals

Another word on my use sparingly list, is don’t. A close friend commented last week, ‘I don’t want to feel stressed this year’. Those of you who have read previous posts will remember that our minds cannot process the word don’t so deletes it. Then that sentence reads, ‘I want to feel stressed this year’ giving my friend exactly the opposite of what he wants. Again, to give you an example of this, say to yourself, ‘I don’t want to think about an elephant’. What image do you have in your mind right now? That’s right, an elephant! So focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t. This is so important when making changes in our lives. Put the focus on what we want and where we do want to be rather than what we don’t want and where we don’t want to be.

Often after all the excess of rich Christmas food, New Year is the time we decide to lose those few pounds we may have put on. Again, we often set ourselves up to fail by the way we speak to ourselves. ‘I don’t want to eat chocolate biscuits in January’ and suddenly our minds are bombarded by images of chocolate biscuits, even to where they are in the cupboard or on the supermarket shelves. By changing it to something we do want to eat, the more specific the better, but even a phrase such as healthy, nutritious food is a step along the way of getting us towards where we want to be. If the thought of actively wanting something seems too out of reach, use the phrase, I’m choosing to …because… Many clients I’ve worked with tell me that moving from I don’t want to I want can seem too much of a stretch and too out of reach. By using I’m choosing to exercise more, eat more healthily, stop smoking, spend more time doing things I enjoy and adding a reason why, because it will make me feel better, our minds are more likely to help us out and it feels more pleasurable. If we can choose to do something, we can choose not to do something. We aren’t being ‘made’ to do something. This gives us more choices and options and more freedom and helps us feel better about the changes we want to make.

Lastly, any changes we do want to make or any actions we decide to take, ask yourself the questions, ‘how will taking this action help me achieve my goal?’ and ‘will taking this step/action move me towards my goal or further away from it?’ If you can’t answer with a categorical, this will help me achieve my goals, then it’s not the action for you at this point in time.

Happy New Year. May it be healthy and happy for you all. Be well.


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