It’s fair to say that like 2020, 2021 wasn’t the year we expected, and a lot of our plans and goals continued to be derailed by outside forces.
It’s human nature to make excuses, so firstly, be compassionate with yourself, but also recognise that there’s a terrifying statistic that when we put off change and tackling goals, it sets us up for almost certain failure.
In fact some research puts the chances of failure as high as 93% when we consistently delay going for what we want.
If you’re serious about making change in any area of your life, it’s never about tomorrow. It’s about the choices you make now and day to day that really count.
We’re conditioned to believe that we should be taking huge leaps forward, that overnight success could be just around the corner. That is so rarely the case. Real success in anything comes from taking consistent steps taken every day. Persistence and consistence wins the day.
When we expect big results in super fast time from anything, we’re priming ourselves for disappointment, which in turn makes us less likely to be bold in the future.
Success comes from responsibility for our decisions, our actions, our thoughts and our beliefs. Once we can accept that, we can change them to allow ourselves to move forward.
We need to remind ourselves that we have the power to CHOOSE how we think about and react to everything. There is so much out of our control and our job is how to choose we react to external factors, and focus on the things we can change.
When we focus on what’s within our control, it’s amazing how empowered we become, regardless of what else is going on in the world.
So, have a think about the last year. . .
Did I achieve my goals? What worked well? What didn’t work for me? What do I want to accomplish this year? Often in life we’ll overestimate the cost of failure, underestimate the value of success and completely disregard the opportunity cost of staying stuck where we are.
Imagine your life 6 months or a year from now. What if nothing changes? Your body, your health, your work, relationships, how you spend your time, your finances. .. How would that make you feel?
Now, the reason we want to bring emotion into it is so we really connect with our goals, and ourselves and our inner motivation.
What if you could not only sustain your progress towards your 2022 goal, but also more achieving it incrementally easier?
To do this we need to think about our goal in terms of behaviour change, rather than just in terms of what external actions we need to perform to get there. You see, we cannot out-perform our self-identity. Whatever beliefs we hold about our ability to achieve (or not achieve) our goal will massively impact our ability to succeed.
Once we create a new self-identity that’s aligned with who we want to be (our goal) and start behaving in accordance with it, then we start moving from forced conscious action towards making unconscious lifestyle choices.
Here’a an example, many people go on fad diets to lose weight, and although they’re successful in the very short term, they end up putting on more weight down the line. There are physiological reasons for this, but in psychological terms, it’s because their beliefs about their own ability to maintain the weight loss pull them back.
In psychology we have a concept called congruence theory that states our behaviours and beliefs must be aligned.
When they are not we fall into a state of cognitive dissonance and either our behaviour or belief must change so they become realigned.
The problem is our beliefs are much more powerful than our behaviours, so unless we work on those, we’ll fall back to old ways. Sitting on the couch seems a better option than going for a run, so our behaviour falls back in line with our old self-image. . .
Well, the good news is that there are ways to change this, and faster than you’d think.
We can leverage congruence theory to help us move towards our goal but ensuring we work on our beliefs as well as our behaviours.
One way of doing this is to make a list of current limiting beliefs you have that are going to hinder you getting to your goal, create a corresponding list of empowering beliefs, then work on changing the most impactful one
To change your belief, affirm the new belief as often as you can, and model your behaviours around the belief. For example, if you want to bring more abundance into your life, switch your thoughts when you see something you would like from, “I could never afford that,” to “how can I afford that?”
Literally step into your new self-identity and start behaving in a way that is aligned with it. Aflirm morning and night, and also affirm when you’re performing your new behaviours, things like telling yourself how much you enjoy feeling fit and healthy and making great food choices as you pick a healthy meal option over cake.
This stuff is not easy, but over time you build new neural pathways for your new beliefs, your behaviours become more and more automatic, and you’re goal becomes simply your lifestyle and achieving it becomes easier.
So, this new year set a goal you have an emotional connection to. Spend time exploring why you want that goal. The emotion of achieving it is what will motivate you when you’re flagging.
Spend time breaking your goal down into an specific, achievable, realistic and time bound action plan, and celebrate your small milestone wins.
Figure out what the future you who has already achieved your goal is like. What is their self-identity? What are their beliefs? What are their behaviours? Then start living aligned with these.
Work on the mindset part with your affirmations and belief change as hard (if not harder) than the physical actions.
Practice future rehearsal – picture yourself having achieved your goal. Allow yourself to experience the emotions, sights, sounds, smells of the future you. Doing this primes your sub-conscious for future success.
Start enjoying life aligned with the new you and make this the year you smash your goals.