Reflection before Goal Setting | 017

Reflection, as a process, is a powerful way to make sense of our experiences, to integrate our brain. That is why journaling is shown time and again helps process tough experiences and Susan David’s, author of Emotional Agility shares numerous research studies that show people who journal fair better in hard times (retrenchment as an example) than people who don’t.

7 Questions to use to reflect on 2017

  1. What am I grateful for?
  2. What worked or worked really well this year?
  3. What am I proud of?
  4. What victories are worth celebrating from this year?
  5. What are key lesson’s I can take away from this year?
  6. What or where I would have liked to done better?
  7. What regrets do I have?

You can do the questions for your whole life or break it into different areas in your life:

  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Career or Business
  • Health or Wellness, Fitness
  • Finance
  • Spiritual Life
  • Mental Health

3 Tips for Goal-Setting after reflecting

1. Are you too optimistic in your goal setting?

Identify what you desire to achieve or learn to do. Is it that you want to travel more, change careers, get fit, spend more time with your family, learn to paint?

What is the smallest change you can make that would begin to move you in that direction. The trim-tab is a tiny piece at the end of a rudder on a ship and when it is moved, it begins the change that turns the whole ship around. Many times, in goal-setting, we try to move the whole ship at once without recognising that we need to begin with the tiny shift of the trim-tab first.

Tiny goals make it easier to follow through leading to a sense of achievement – the smaller the better. A sense of victory builds motivation and so the momentum builds to take on more. Tiny changes are the building blocks of real and lasting change. If you want to understand this concept more read Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code.

2a. Do your goals lack clarity?

Begin small but make sure you have clear action steps. Decide on how much time you going to spend on this goal? How regularly you will spend time? Know where in your diary you will fit this into your diary? Then sign-up for the class or put it in your diary. It may even be worth your while to decide what priorities (if any) can take precedence over this time or not.

If you say you’re going to write you a lot less likely to follow through then you are if you say “I am going to write daily for 10 minutes and I am going to do it at 5.30 am or I am going to do it during my lunch hour” and then put it in your diary. Clarity and commitment up front makes it much easier and likely you will actually follow through.

2b. How can you hold yourself accountable?

It can be incredibly powerful to find an accountability partner to check-in how you are going at following through on your goal/s for the year. You can also give yourself small goal incentives: a massage, 2 hours of delicious reading time, a phone call to a good friend when you reach certain targets. Small victories on route help keep most human’s committed.

I love what Donna Ford shared that we should approach learning new habits like brushing our teeth, if you forget to brush your teeth last night you’d never give up. You’d just wake up this morning and brush them and move on. If you are serious about cultivating a new habit and check in with yourself if you are.   Then instead of giving up when you skip a day or fall down for a week or two then just notice become aware perhaps reflect what caused the slip and begin again.

3. What emotional state would you like to experience more this year?

Often goal setting is actually about wanting to achieve a certain emotional state. It can be incredibly powerful to recognize 1 – 3 emotions you’d like to see more of in your life. As an example mine might be peace, presence, trust. By setting an intention around an emotional state we can move toward it irrespective of goals or circumstances. Try this emotional intentions I have found very effective. If you’d like to explore this idea more take a look at Danielle La Porte’s book The Desire Map which is all about using emotional intentions as goals.

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