Setting goals and plotting a career path to that perfect job, sales target or personal achievement is how we are told to plan ahead and realise our dreams. It’s true to say that we are what we think, but do we ever check to see if our current state of mind or physical condition is aligned to our ultimate goal?
Plotting the time frame for our goals but being realistic about where we are to begin with will give us a head start on achieving a successful outcome. Let me give an example;
My goal is to run a full marathon this time next year as part of our local charity centenary event and celebration.
I have a positive character trait, a glass half full type of guy and as defining goals go, this isn’t bad, we’ve talked on here before about aligning your targets and goals with SMART in mind, SPECIFIC, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, TIMELY. Lets break down the above to see how we do. Well, its Specific, definitely relevant as part of the centenary celebration and it’s time bound, but I’ve never run a full marathon before, so can we say this is achievable in the time frame given? I’m reasonably fit but concede that setting aside enough training time to get me in shape for this is going to be a challenge, I seriously doubt that this is achievable given my current state of mind, physical condition and other commitments in the next 12 months. We need to start from where we are.
All too often we set ourselves targets that lose their importance or give way to newer priorities in our life. As days and weeks go by we see little results for our efforts and slowly our goals no longer seem that important to us. Have we tried to cram in too much? As the example above shows. Are we regularly reviewing our progress and adjusting accordingly? Can we extend our time frame? With something like the upcoming charity event it would be difficult but other goals will have flexible completion dates and changing the time frame for a goal is not a sign of failure, more of an adjustment after review and acceptance of the busy lives we all now lead.
Seeing the positive in any situation must be tempered with a reality check while still being able to push us to the limits of our capabilities. Conversely a negative mindset or glass half empty attitude will lead us to question our abilities and ultimately think ourselves into failure.
Changing the way we approach a challenge is key to improving our goal setting conversion rate. We need to find the trigger points in our thoughts, catch ourselves saying ‘I can’t’ and replace it with ‘I can look into what it will take to get this done’. Pause before we show any outward negativity, assess where we are with this and can I allocate enough time to commit 100 per cent to a positive outcome by breaking it down into smaller achievable pieces.
If we have a glass half empty character, the more we practice changing our thought process and replacing negative reactions with positive possibilities, then gradually thinking more positively will start to become second nature. This will not be an overnight transformation, it will take time to focus how we react to challenging circumstances. In my experience there is always an opportunity after a set back. I was made redundant in 2008, but fortunately found work pretty soon afterwards in business support, an industry I was not familiar with and by 2012 had a clear vision on my future, running my own Training and Coaching company built on embedding a culture of personal development and confidence building supporting UK business start ups.
More information on the benefits of positive thinking can be found in the pages of Vera Peiffer’s work here.
Looking for the positive in any situation will improve our outlook and general well being. It can also lead to less stress, the more our anxiety levels are raised the less productive we become, and by extension the more we worry, creating that vicious circle. Look out for the trigger thoughts or moments that lead to a negative approach or response, if we can start to catch these and rethink our reactions then gradually our mindset will adjust and we will start to see the benefits of the glass half full as opposed to half empty.
Please get in touch if you have any comments.