How To Set A Goal And Make It Stick

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When I speak, I often engage the audience, working interactively. Why? Because I know that the more we engage all our senses (not just our ears) when we hear new material, the more it helps us to anchor that new material within us. I also know that anchored information will more likely be used when we return to our offices. Instructional designers call this "transfer of training." Proving that what we teach is actually taken and used in someone's work is the holy grail of professional training.

When you decide to set a new goal for yourself, how do you do it? Do you sit down and make a list? Do you write out an affirmation? Do you simply think to yourself one day while you're in the car "I need to do thus-and-such" and set out to do it? Whatever your method, you can have a higher degree of sticking to your new goal if you include as many of your senses as you can to help you along.

There are several ways of doing this, and most of the methods I know work pretty well. One that is popular right now is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is often used to change our emotional reaction to a certain situation. For instance, if you get nervous speaking in front of people, you can learn to use EFT to say affirmations and tap yourself on specific points of the body. EFT is nicknamed "tapping" because you actually do tap yourself repeatedly at specific spots as you are saying the sentences you construct about your goal — the change you desire. I've used EFT more than once and if it is used consistently, it has worked for me. To learn more about EFT, you can contact my friend Annie Wills, at Full Circle Coaching.

I'm going to give you another way to involve your senses and make your new goal stick, though. It is often called VAK, which stands for Visual/Auditory/ Kinesthetic. I like VAK because it is another way to become an embodied entrepreneur. Simply put, that means that you are engaged in your work with your heart, soul, mind AND body - and you are sure to be quite successful if you can achieve that!

So, to set a goal and put the power of VAK behind it, here's what you do:

1. Write your goal down.

2. Close your eyes, and ask yourself "what will you see that will let you know you've attained your goal?" Even better, you can give this question and the following ones to a friend and ask them to walk you through this and answer to her, out loud. Take a breath or two, and see what pictures you get, what you'll see when your goal is met. You will probably get more than one vision. Open your eyes, and write each of them down.

3. Again, close your eyes and ask yourself "what will people say to you once you've reached the goal?" After you've recorded your answer (or had your friend record it for you), try asking yourself "what will people say about you once you've reached your goal?" And finally, ask what you would say to yourself when your goal is reached. Record your answers, or have your friend do it for you.

4. (This is my favorite part!) Now, close your eyes again. Ask yourself how you will feel when you've reached this new goal. Really take some time to let this sink in, and see what feelings arise in you. Once you have a good strong feeling going, ask yourself about the color, shape, texture, and even the temperature of that feeling. Finally, ask yourself where the feeling is located in your body. Record all your answers. Don't rush yourself, give yourself time to really get into the feeling of reaching this goal.

5. Finally, ask yourself what belief you could state about yourself that will help you get this goal. For instance, if you want to lose weight but always snack at night, could you create a belief about yourself that you are able to easily turn your attention from eating after 8:00 PM? Work on this replacing your current belief that it is "impossible not to eat" or "I must eat because I get too fatigued, too bored, or too scared not to eat at night." In other words, replace your negative self-talk with a positive belief in yourself as someone who is capable of doing what you want to do.

6. Be sure to ask yourself if you foresee any reason NOT to reach this goal. If you secretly think that being thinner will be bad in some way you will not reach your goal until you have put that belief to bed. We almost always have a secret reason that we don't want to do what we say we want to do. I say I want to improve my auditory Spanish skills, but secretly I don't want to put in the extra half hour a day to do that. So, of course, I don't! Bring your secret reasons up into your consciousness, and you'll go a long way to helping yourself get that goal.

The point here is to create a framework around you that helps support you in all your senses. If you have a goal to grow a rose garden, you can close your eyes and envision the layout, the sunshine, the colors, and the smells for sure. The more you can embody your goals, the more you'll be able to make it stick. Let me know how it works for you.

About the Author:

Sue Painter is a marketing therapist whose expertise is finding the dark and murky under-places that keep your business from succeeding. She can develop business plans that work, along with strategic marketing plans that are cost effective and take dead aim at your target market. You can subscribe to her Marketing Tips e-zine at http://www.confidentmarketer.com .

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