Fatima Doman, Executive coach and founder of Thrive through Coaching, says we are more likely to achieve goals that make us happy.
1. Goals Rarely Succeed Unless They Make Us “Happy” so Focus on What You Want Not What You Don’t Want
Millions set new year resolutions each year, yet experts tell us people typically don’t stick to their goals – 80 percent give up within six months, many within three months, and others last only one week. Ever notice how crowded the gym is the first three weeks of January? By the end of the month many people have given up on their resolution to lose weight. That is, unless the goal makes them happy. Most goals fail because they don’t make us happy while trying to achieve them. (ie. losing weight, working harder). We are much more likely to accomplish goals if they make us happy — not the kind of happiness that comes from fleeting pleasures like accumulating things, but the kind that comes from achieving something that positively impacts others as well as yourself. Research shows true happiness is rooted in a life of meaning and purpose and the good feeling we get energizes us. When we focus on what we want, instead of what we don’t want, we are working “toward” something, and what we focus on grows.
2. Be a “Contribution” To Others Many goals fail because they are focused only on “self” which zaps them of long term motivation. We are social creatures–we thrive when those around us thrive. Being a “contribution”:
1. Taps into the Power of Something Bigger than Self
2. Fills our lives with meaning and purpose
3. Creates happiness for others as well as for ourselves
If your goal is to lose weight to look better in a new outfit, that is not nearly as compelling as wanting to become healthy so that you can enjoy your children and grandchildren. If you see yourself as a contribution to your family, you will be deeply motivated to stick with your goal.
When we desire to bless the lives of others, obstacles seem to vanish and even stressful tasks can become pleasant. We focus only on what we want to give, and that releases us from the ego’s pressure to perform. When I’m immersed in coaching someone, I get the deep satisfaction that comes from contributing to their quality of life and it fills me with energy.
3. Base Goals Firmly In Your Values and Seek Balance: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional: Link goals to your values. For example, if lifelong learning is a strong value of yours, then at least one goal should further it. Set complimentary goals that involve all 4 realms of your life to maintain life balance–goals that involve your body, mind, relationships and spirituality. You are less likely to experience warring priorities. I suggest that my clients set only 1-3 goals at a time, so they can laser focus on those goals.
4. Believe You Can Accomplish the Goal, Refute Negative Thinking & Begin! On a daily basis, we engage in lots of self-talk. Our commentary is both positive and negative. Positive thoughts support the accomplishment of our goals. Negative thoughts and comments undermine our self-esteem and self-confidence, negatively impacting our ability to accomplish our goals. Get out of your way and BEGIN working on your goal.
5. Be Clear About Your Goal—Write It and Share It with People Who Are Important to You Writing out your goal clearly is your commitment to achieving the goal and a powerful way to crystalize it in your mind. It is a conscious promise to yourself to pay attention to the goal. Share the goal with others who will support you.
6. Evaluate Progress, Eliminate Obstacles and Celebrate the Small Achievements Along the Way: Daily review is a powerful tool, but simply tracking your goal daily is not enough. If you’re unhappy with your progress, assess what is keeping you from accomplishing the goal. Ask yourself, “What obstacles are interfering with my ability to accomplish the goal?” “Is this goal really important?” Celebrate the small achievements along the way. I encourage my clients to take on one small, realistic task at a time. It’s motivating to build progressive quick wins toward achieving your goal.
Fatima Doman is an Executive Coach and founder of Thrive through Coaching.