The Happiness Connection  

Be SMART with your goals

It’s almost impossible to go into a new year without making some sort of pledge or resolution.

This isn’t the only time you can examine your life and decide to make changes, but it is the traditional one.

If you are among the millions of people who set goals for 2019, have you created a plan to achieve them?

Will power is not an infinite resource. If your goal is small, it might get you to the end, but if you are aiming for something big, it is likely to let you down at some point.

To help you with the task of motivating yourself, let me introduce you to Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory.

You can delve into the details if you want but let me condense the theory into a simple equation.

Motivation = Goal value + Belief in yourself

Both elements are at their peak when you selected your target. Failure comes when one or both elements disappear or lessen.

Let’s take a weight loss resolution for an example.

You know how great it will feel to get into a smaller size. Your level of belief is riding high because you are full of clean slate hope for a different outcome than every other year you resolved to do this.

When a month passes, and you’ve only lost one pound, your belief in your ability to shed the weight wavers. You begin to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter how much you weigh and that you are just wasting your time on a pipe dream.

Goal value and belief in yourself have evaporated, and so has your resolution.

If you want to reach your goals, it is important to take conscious steps to keep the value of the target and your belief that you can achieve it, alive as time passes.

Maintaining Goal Value

Set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timed.) If your target is big, break it down into a series of smaller SMART goals.

  • Specific: Don’t just lose weight, decide how much weight.
  • Measurable: Make sure you have a way to measure your goal, so you know you are making progress.
  • Attainable: I may want to win a million dollars, but the chance of that happening is completely out of my control. Choose something you have power over.
  • Relevant: Have a reason for wanting to be lighter, like improving your health. Sometimes it takes a health scare for people to see the relevance of their desire to be thinner.
  • Timed: Create a timeline for your goal. When will you have finished saving the money for a new car? Know where the finish line is.

Visualize what it will be like when you achieve your goal.

I talked last week about the difficulty humans have with long-term goals. By visualizing what you and your life will look like when you achieve your target, you can combat your brain’s tendency to discount things that aren’t going to happen soon.

Visualize how your goal will benefit you. Keep your imagined experiences positive, exciting, vivid, and realistic.

Maintaining Belief

Track your progress: Give yourself regular evidence that you are making progress. Keep a spreadsheet of your savings, weigh yourself and take your measurements weekly, or save positive comments from your clients that show you are making a difference in the world.

When your belief begins to wane, show yourself some evidence that you are making progress.

Buffer yourself from failure.

You are bound to have set-backs on your journey. This is not evidence that you aren’t capable of succeeding. Don’t let negative emotions overpower you. Sit with them briefly and then let them go.

Successful people learn to master their feelings rather than letting their emotions run the show. Learn to be motivated by stumbles not derailed by them.

Continually look for ways to tweak your goals so you can maintain a strong connection with them and belief in yourself.

By following the advice presented in Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, you can set yourself up for success.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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