When you are looking to set your very first life goals and start to do some research, chances are, you’ll discover a method called the “SMART” goal setting strategy very early on. Sure, this is a great method that you can use in order to ensure each of the goals that you set can be achieved, but the SMART method can also be a little complicated for those who are not used to the entire process.
Furthermore, a lot of people are just looking for a way they can set up a few goals in the simplest way possible and then strive toward reaching them. The good news is that there is more than just one way to go about setting goals.
While the SMART method is certainly one of the more popular options that you can opt for, you can also go with any of the other options that people have developed and still be able to reach the goals you wish to achieve in life effectively.
Plus, if you’re used to the SMART method, introducing a few alternative methods often stimulates different thinking patterns, which in turn may expand your thinking or scope of goals!
Here are 2 Alternative Goal-Setting Strategies To the SMART Method:
1. Simple Goal Setting Strategy
First up is the easiest option that you can opt for if you wish to set goals without having to go through a time-consuming process – a simple goal setting strategy. This primarily involves setting your goal in a specific timeframe, and then determining what needs to be done for you to be able to achieve that particular goal.
With a simple goal setting strategy, you start by defining the goal you want to achieve as specifically as possible. Try to avoid goals that are too vague like “I want to save some money.” Be specific, like “I want to save $5000 for a new car” or “I want to save $2000 to install new kitchen cupboards.” When you are specific, you know exactly what you are striving towards. This also makes it easier to know exactly what needs to be done and keeps you focused.
Afterwards, you need to determine an appropriate time frame. Specify when you are going to start implementing actions to help you reach the goal and also when you wish to achieve the goal.
Be realistic when it comes to setting a timeframe – if you need to save up $2000, but you can only spare $200 per month, don’t expect your goal to be reached within just a three-month period, for example. Unless you’re going to drastically change habits or start a side hustle for extra income.
Finally, determine what you need to do, what actions you need to take, and what should happen between the start and finish date of your goal. Action planning is often overlooked when setting goals, however it is proven to be one of the most valuable behaviors that contribute towards success in meeting goals.
Write down every step of the process in order to make things as simple as possible for yourself. This way, you’ll be able to check back on the list at any time in order to see what you currently need to do, and what actions to do next if you wish to achieve the goal you have set.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
2. CLEAR Goal Setting Strategy
The CLEAR Goal Setting Strategy is similar to the SMART one. It has also been growing in popularity with many people moving toward this method. There are various reasons for this, but the flexibility offered by the CLEAR method is one of the main reasons people are starting to convert their SMART goal worksheet into a CLEAR goal worksheet.
CLEAR stands for:
- Collaborative – Who else do I need involved? Who is my core team? Who am I serving? Why do these connections matter?
- Limited – What is the scope? How can I keep focused? When do I start? And when do I need results by?
- Emotional – Does it serve my larger purpose? Does it meet my needs? Does it stimulate me?
- Appreciable – What are the small actions? How to make this more actionable? What are my stepping stones?
- Refinable – What do I see changing? What paths or options do I have, and when? Can the goals change as I change, or my circumstances change?
It’s important to note at this point that the CLEAR strategy was mainly invented to assist businesses where teams need to work together to achieve a specific goal. This, however, does not mean that the CLEAR method cannot be used in your own life to set personal goals for yourself.
When you set a goal with this method in mind, the ultimate goal or the big picture that you are aiming for should have a few qualities:
- Both duration and scope of the goal should be limited – in other words, you should be able to limit the amount of time it would take you to reach the goal, and the goal should be specific enough for you to understand what you are aiming for truly.
- The goal should have an emotional connection for you. Something that has meaning for you as a person. If your goal is to lose weight, then the emotional connection will likely be related to your own health, how you feel about yourself, and how other people view you.
- The goal should be specific, but, at the same time, be flexible. Life is unpredictable – so if anything changes in the period of time that you are striving to achieve a specific goal, then the goal you have set should be adjustable. You need to be able to make modifications to the goal in order to accommodate the specific changes that have occurred in your life.
“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” – Brian Tracy
Even though the SMART goal setting method is very popular, it’s not the only option out there for people who are looking to set their first life goals. If you are not too keen on the SMART method, then look at the alternatives listed. They are all very powerful and will be just as effective in helping you achieve the goals.
How do you go about setting your goals? Share your processes with us below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work
How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.
You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.
Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?
The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:
- I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
- I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
- I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal.
It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.
Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.
Can you train or recharge your willpower?
A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.
The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.
Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:
1. Focused breathing
Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.
You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.
2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal
According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.
You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.
Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.
High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.
3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction
You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)
But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet!
Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?
Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:
1. You Have To Take Action
“You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.
Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!
This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.
2. Double Down On What You Love
“My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.
Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?
3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
“As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.
If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time.
An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!
Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!
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