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Setting achievable goals is one of the first steps toward a successful career and meaningful personal development. In this business skills course for lynda.com, author Dave Crenshaw shows smart ways to create a vision, develop a quantifiable goal, turn that goal into actions, and share that commitment publicly to establish accountability.
Along the way, discover the importance of celebrating successes and reviewing your progress in order to stay motivated and establish a pattern of successful goal setting.
As you begin taking action on the smaller targets that you've set, occasionally you'll fail, but most often, you'll succeed. In those moments of success, it's critical for you to acknowledge and celebrate that success, including making a record of it. Earlier, I mentioned how the brain is likely to give you many logical, justifiable reasons why you're not going to succeed. By recording and celebrating your successes, you're reinforcing to your mind that you actually have many more reasons you will succeed than you will fail.
The process is much simpler than you may think. It starts whenever you think you might not follow through on an action for yourself. For instance, let's say that I set my alarm to wake me up at 6 o'clock to begin exercising, but when I wake up, I start to think, "Oh, I'm tired. I don't want to follow through on this." When this happens, immediately use the why-because pattern of question-and-answer. Ask yourself questions such as, "Why am I going to exercise this morning?" or "Why do I love exercising?" And then answer those with a because statement.
Because I love the feeling I get when I exercise. In his book, The Secret Code of Success, my friend Noah St. John refers to these why- because questions as afformations. These are different than affirmations, which are often hollow statements telling yourself that you're going to succeed, which your brain immediately fights. Instead, asking these why questions gives your mind an opportunity to logically create the reasons why you should succeed.
Now, when you do follow through on your goals, to any degree, make a record of it somewhere. This can be as simple as putting it into your journal, or having a chart that you check off on a daily basis. You can even send yourself an email saying "I did it today!" Then, archive the email. Make your record in a way that's convenient to you. This physical record shows your mind evidence that you are following through. This will go a long way toward combating those negative thoughts and replacing them with positive logic that shows evidence of your success.
Every time you recognize your success, you'll find it easier to follow through in the future because of the evidence you've built of past success. I also suggest that you share your success with others, especially those who you've made the public commitment to or who you've made yourself accountable to. As you share your successes, your supporters will celebrate with you and they'll be glad to see you succeed, again, reinforcing to your mind that you're going to accomplish your goals.
Finally, take a moment on a regular basis, perhaps once or twice a month, to give yourself a reward that's meaningful to you. It doesn't have to be large or expensive. Perhaps you get a new album of music that you've been wanting for a while, or you treat yourself to an evening out on the town with a loved one. Whatever is meaningful to you, give yourself credit for the success that you've had. As you do that, not only will you find it easier to progress toward your goal, but you'll also enjoy the journey that you follow in getting there.
And now we're ready to do the final step toward achieving your goals, which is reviewing your progress.
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