Ditch New Year Resolutions! Learn Fail-Proof Goal Setting Techniques and How to Get What You Want
I know most of my clients want to change the way they eat, lose weight, and look their best. They set very specific goals and objectives. “I’ll lose X amount of weight by this date,” which is a smart thing to do, or they say, “I’ll start eating normally by this date.”
This year, I want to invite you to shift your focus to something new. I’m writing this a few days after the New Year, but this is the right time for life goal setting. You may argue that your weight is you and your eating habits are a part of yourself. I just want you to think out of the box, or hop into my box, and see what matters the most to your life now. You will get more results this way than with any of your past weight-loss New Year resolution.
Set goals that excite you
If you want to change your life, you have to find goals that excite you. They may seem impossible to achieve, but they must feel like something that could really motivate you. They have to look scary and be challenging as well—otherwise they are just not big enough.
If you have no clue about what excites you, here is how you find out:
I have some clients who are so lost to themselves that they don’t remember what they like. They’re still unconsciously trying to please their parents or gain their acceptance, dismissing what they truly want. If this is your case, it will take some time before you can find your way back to yourself.
- The first thing you can do is guess. Write down all the things you’ve enjoyed doing in your life. Make a long list. Try to see what they have in common. It may be, for example, that you like connecting with people or doing research.
- Then ask your friends what they think you’re good at. I remember a friend of mine once told me I was excellent at seeing people’s strengths and weaknesses, and that would make me great at human resources. Ask for positive feedback only. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll get.
- Then read both lists and try as many things as you can. For example, I wanted to see whether I liked screenwriting, so I met people who wanted to do web series, and I started writing for them. That led to more writing opportunities. I found out that what I liked most was telling stories—and I’m currently writing one. Ultimately, the goal that excites me the most is to share my vision of how great we are as humans and how much we underestimate ourselves. What is yours?
- Finding out the things that really motivate you will require you to have the willingness to try several things. Start with small and easy projects that don’t take too much of your time to see whether you’re enjoying yourself. For example, I’ve learned from my screenwriting experience that I prefer to write alone and that I may not be good in a team. Get a feel of whether you really like an activity and which aspects of it you like the most. Soon you’ll have a clear picture of what you’re most enthusiastic about.
Excited? It’s goal setting time.
Once you get a feel for what excites you, try to find a really big goal. It’s got to be big enough so that you doubt whether or not you can do it; it’s got to be something that you feel quite scared of doing, but at the same time you feel this incredible desire and joy at the idea of achieving it. It also must be completely uncorrelated to your past. No matter what most of us want to believe, past events cannot serve to predict the future. Your ego believes that, but I’ll show you how to change your “ego’s mind” in just a few minutes.
Pick a few goals—five is a good number. Spread them out across different aspects of your life, such as health, wealth, relationships, spirituality…
Eating normally and losing weight can be goals, but make your goal something bigger, such as having vibrant health or looking incredible. I once made changing my looks a New Year’s resolution. I bought a book about makeovers, I took makeup classes, I tried different haircuts, and I got help from a stylist. Within a year, I totally improved my looks. After three years, I’m an entirely new woman. When I think back, my real goals were to feel sexy and attractive and to increase my self-confidence through proper grooming. It has worked. Which goals make you feel vibrant and come alive?
If you attempt too many things at once, you will fail, which in turn will lower your self-esteem. Make sure to choose the goals that matter the most to you. I had to make very hard choices myself.
Once you have found your most important goals, put a number and a date on them. How will you know you have reached them? When do you want to reach them?
How to set goals for yourself? A crash course
Write your goals in one short sentence with specificity. A weight-loss goal could read like this: “I want to wear an X size, have my waistline reach this size in inches, and still feel I have enough food every day by May 20th this year.” To help you with that, ask yourself the following questions and write down your reply for each goal:
How will you know, you have achieved what you want? (For example, your waistline size…)
Under what circumstances do you want to have these results? (How it will impact other aspects of your life?)
What stops you from having your desired outcome already? (Feelings, thoughts, circumstances,…)
What resources will you need to help you create what you want? (Knowledge, money, support…)
How are you going to get there? (Steps, strategies, tactics…)
Look at your goals every day and sketch a plan for reaching them. Write them down on a piece of paper and remind yourself where you’re going and what you want every day.
How to Achieve Goals and Get What You Want in Life
1/ Find the beliefs that have created the way you are and change them
You didn’t get the life you have by accident. You made it happen this way. I know some people like to tell you that you are the way you are because your parents this or that or because of circumstances. I am assuming you’re at least in your twenties if you’re reading this—in other words, you’re an adult. As an adult, it’s become your responsibility to clean up what’s lying around unchallenged in your unconscious. I don’t understand why people don’t learn this at school, but I guess humans are not ready yet as a community to take responsibility for their beliefs.
If your beliefs remain unchallenged and are still controlling your unconscious, you will get the same results and your story will keep repeating itself, no matter how many new goals you set. In other words, you will keep ignoring what a great life you could have and munching on food instead. There’s a much better alternative. Here are the steps you must follow to get your life back and own it again.
Look at your life today. What does your apartment look like? How do your friends treat you? How much money are you making? How often do you feel happy? How do you feel when you get up in the morning? When was the last time you had a vacation? How do you react when people try to push you around?…
The main question is what do you think about your life, yourself, your worth, what you can or cannot do, what you deserve, the World, life, people and what you are!
Write down everything that comes to mind. Then monitor which situations trigger a strong emotional response, boredom, stress, fear, drowsiness, hyper vigilance, withdrawal, and, of course, compulsive eating on a daily basis. Do this for at least 30 days. Your goal here is to uncover the way of thinking that caused these emotions.
A series of frustrating events have recently made me fall back into compulsive, obsessive behaviors. But instead of giving in, I sat down and peacefully scoured my thoughts to find some clues about which beliefs had been activated. The clue here is never to take a belief personally. It’s a decision you have made about yourself at some point based on what you knew then. It’s certainly not who you are.
Once I found the beliefs that were triggering my compulsion I questioned each and every thought. The process is really too long to explain here but the idea is to keep asking questions like, “Always?” “Never?” “Is that true?” “How do I know that?” “Can I always foretell the future?” “How did I learn this?” “Could I have gotten it wrong?” “What do I want to believe about myself now?” …
Digging up unconscious beliefs is an ongoing process, but you can make a quantum leap just by looking at your life and listening to the thoughts that go through your head over the course of one day.
Once you have written down your negative beliefs, look at them, and question each one of them. These may be beliefs you picked up from your parents or from a single event that your mind generalized to make it a rule.
Here is what I absolutely want you to remember:
- The secret to a happy life is to pick the beliefs that serve your goals.
- You have the birthright to believe positive and empowering things about yourself, no matter what your circumstances.
- Making changes, such as reaching exciting new goals, can be freaking scary and disturbing—but that’s OK. It’s part of the process.
The truth is the first time you want to change something important in your life, such as the way you eat and look, you’ve first got to uncover what beliefs make you eat or look this way.
How to Meet Your Weight-Loss Goals
For example, many obese women have a history of sexual abuse. I have an obese male friend who was molested as a child because he was not like the other boys. He unconsciously believes that staying overweight will keep him safe from bullies. He’s seriously injuring his health in the process, but it makes his subconscious mind feel safe. How do you think his mind will react if he tries to go on a diet? It will fight! It will create cravings, food fantasies—anything to keep him safe from bullies. If his new goal is to feel athletic and attractive, his subconscious belief will do anything to stop him. That’s why diets fail to give long-term results most of the time.
Write down those beliefs now. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just be curious to find out which belief is keeping you away from each goal. Then question it and write down a new belief.
How Do You Achieve Your Life Goals?
To reach your goals you must be willing to create a new mindset that will support them. You do this by visualizing your goals and imprinting your new beliefs daily. New beliefs may take only 30 days to change but you have to be very consistent.
Also, expect any change to be scary and challenging. Reaching goals means shifting beliefs and changing several aspects of your life, including your relationship to yourself and others.
If you feel paralyzed with fear, start with goals that are not in strong dissonance with your current set of beliefs and build from there. However this should be a temporary step. Always reach for the exciting goals on your list.
I know I wish someone had told me it was all right to feel panicky, resistant, and doubtful when you’re trying to reach big goals. I used to reject myself and feel dumb for it. I’ve found out that actually embracing fear is much more productive.
I think the greatest achievers have learned how to handle the chaos, dismay, and fear that comes with the process of changing. If you have let fear control a good chunk of your life, it may be difficult for you to change at first. Start with the easiest steps and keep on going. Keep repeating to yourself: “It’s OK to feel lost and afraid.” And encourage yourself: “I can do this. I’m good enough. It works. With time, you will be able to work through the process of change with ease.
2/ Use Strategies, Techniques, and Plans to Get What You Want in Life
Of course, the steps above are useless if you don’t take action. When you set a new goal, the easiest way to succeed is to find a role model, a mentor, a coach, or a blueprint with strategies, techniques, and step-by-step instructions on how to achieve your goal. If you want to stop compulsive eating, overcome an addiction, build your self-confidence and lose weight, I can help you with that. For example, this article contains strategies, techniques, and steps to set and achieve goals.
Most people try different strategies and tactics but don’t define the outcome of their goals properly; they don’t remind themselves of their goals daily; or they fail to address negative beliefs. It’s useless to try anything new, if you don’t do those things first. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are usually useless; it’s why they will not help you lose weight, change your diet, stop binge eating, get in shape, feel self-confident…. They are just wishful thinking.
This leads me to one last, most important point: You cannot reach any goal without commitment. Commitment removes excuses and gives you clarity and focus. So choose and commit to achieving your goals today.
Now that you know how you can change any aspect of your life, ask yourself what would make you feel the most proud, the happiest, the most fulfilled if you accomplished it—and get started! Weight-loss doesn’t have to be on top of your list but I bet you that emotional eating will drastically diminish once you have created a bright and exciting future for yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Please share your comments below and let me know what your next goal is, when you want to achieve it, and how you will know you have reached it. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.