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What is the first thing you think of when you hear the term “goal setting?”  For many, the first word that pops in their head is POINTLESS.

When it comes to achieving New Year’s resolutions, the statistics are pretty dismal.  Recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year resolutions.  A similar study by Psychology professor Richard Wiseman found that only 12% achieved their New Year goals.  Given such low levels of success, you might be tempted to conclude that goal setting doesn’t work!

goal setting, leadership development, leadership styles, leadership skills, renew your mind

We all intuitively know (and research has proven) that goal setting is a powerful means for achieving success.  So what is going wrong with our New Year’s resolutions?

The Fundamentals of Goal Setting

There is a “science” to setting effective goals.  Goal setting is just like any other skill and so it takes practice to become good at setting and achieving goals.  Here are some research-based principles that considerably increase your odds of achieving your goals:

  1. Set goals that are clear, specific, and measurable.  Establish exactly what you want to accomplish by when.
  2. Write your goals down and share them with someone that can keep you accountable.
  3. Aim high and set goals that challenge you.
  4. Concentrate on only a few goals at a time – no more than 3 in a 90-day period.
  5. Make sure that you are cognitively committed to achieving your goals (more on this below!).
  6. Consider all 5 levels of focus (life, year, week, day, and present moment) when setting your goals.
  7. Chunk larger goals into smaller tasks and targets.
  8. Monitor your progress by developing a weekly and quarterly review process to help you stay on track.

Cognitive Commitment is Critical for Success

Surprisingly, one of the biggest obstacles that people face when setting goals is a lack of cognitive and emotional commitment to their own goals.

When you set those goals, you thought you meant it.  So what’s been hindering your success?

Your mind may actually have a different agenda of its own.  It often rejects anything that it perceives as new, unsettling, or potentially dangerous. This built-in resistance protects you from any negative disruption that change can bring. Unfortunately, these subconscious defense mechanisms can sabotage positive change in your life as well.

Most people don’t realize the importance of their thought life and the impact it has on their body and emotions.  Your body does what your mind tells it to do.  Your mind controls your actions.  So you can’t change your behavior without changing your mind.   If you want to successfully change your behavior, one of the best things you can do is to monitor your thought life and adjust your thinking first.  This process is often referred to as renewing your mind.

Renewing your mind is the process of changing the way your mind operates.  I provide a FREE Renew Your Mind guide that can help you uncover what has been holding you back.  In this workbook, I show you how to break through cognitive barriers and provide the secret to making changes that stick.

You need to start monitoring your thoughts and uncover the hidden assumptions you have been making.  But most people don’t know where to start.  The FREE Renew Your Mind workbook is designed to help you create positive and sustainable change in your life by addressing any subconscious obstacles.   The simple 5-step program promises to transform you from the inside out.

Dr. Stefani Yorges

I am a psychologist and professional leadership coach. I partner with people who want to rise to their full potential so they can have an increasingly greater impact on others.

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