It’s now a week into the new year and this is when we usually start to see the first chinks in the armor of our new resolutions–those promises to ourselves to make a positive change in our life– start to show up. And all I can say so far is, this year not so much, so Wow! I am absolutely delighted that so many people are following the tips I’ve posted and are making the commitment to try my system and make 2013 the year of success. And…
I’ve received a lot of great comments–please keep them coming– and a lot of excellent questions, particularly around the concept of process and choosing goals that are realistic and doable rather than too big and overwhelming. So this edition is dedicated to helping you with that part of it all. In short, what you need to do is set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. , a tried and true acronym from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), with some additional and exclusive Dr. John extras. It’s simple and very powerful.
SETTING S.M.A.R.T. GOALS
S– Specific & Simple
Simple– It’s as simple as that. Set goals that are specific and simple. Let’s take weight loss, by far the number one resolution and usually the one with an equally high high failure rate. Many people simply say, “I’m going to lose weight this year.” That’s great, but what does it mean? Remember that most of our behaviors are governed by the subconscious mind; and the subconscious mind does not work with generalities, nor does it understand past or future tense; it only knows now. And it’s only about 3 years old so anything too complex gets lost in the translation. In other words, “I’m going to lose weight this year” means very little to your subconscious mind.
Specific– A better way to express this would be, “I am losing 21 pounds this year,” or, perhaps, “I’m releasing enough weight so that when I stand on the scale I see _ _ _ and that feels wonderful.” Notice that both these goals are stated specifically and also in the present tense. Now you’re giving your subconscious computer something to work with! And an extra hint– if you are losing weight, and you have a specific number in mind, choose the next higher or lower odd number e.g., say you want to get down to 150#. Use 151 or 149 when you state it, think about it and visualize it. The subconscious likes to work with odd numbers–I don’t know why, but it does.
Notice too, that these very simply stated goals are very easy to visualize. You can easily “see” yourself looking down at the scale and seeing that number. Simplicity is also important because when you are doing your daily exercises (I presented them last time) to first create the image and then imagine and “feel” yourself already there, the more simple and compelling the image, the more powerfully it “speaks” to the subconscious, a definite requirement in engaging the mind/body energy dynamic. This is a subject that is a key part of the Synthesis process and outlined in much more detail in The Synthesis Effect. http:thesynthesiseffect.com
M– Measurable & Meaningful (to you)
Measurable– your goal must be something you can measure. Again, using the weight loss example; “I am going to lose the weight I need and want to lose.” is too vague. The more specific and measurable you can make it, the better. And to reiterate a point I’ve made before, it must be meaningful to you. If you’re making a decision to change your life for the sake of someone else, or because someone thinks you will be the better for it, and not for yourself because you want it for YOU, then success isn’t very likely. For those of you familiar with The Synthesis Effect, I’ll remind you of the story of my client Tim, the law student who came to see for help passing the Bar Exam, but who really wanted to be a chef. I cannot think of a better example than that to illustrate this point.
A– Achievable, All Areas of Your Life, Act as if…
Achievable– Simply stated, your goals must be achievable; if you are setting out to accomplish something that you do not have the capacity or aptitude for, or you want something that requires training or education or experience you don’t currently have, I guarantee that you will not suddenly be tapped on the head with a magic wand and poof, you have arrived. It won’t happen. This may seem like common sense, and it is, but you’d be amazed at how many people try to come in to see me in the clinic with goals that, given their current situation, are simply not achievable. If that is the case, a better starting point or resolution would probably be to start working on getting whatever it is you need, e.g., more training or experience, in order to then make the larger goal actually achievable.
All areas– Think about how achieving your goal will affect your life in all areas. Using our weight loss example: I am losing those 19 pounds I need to take off. As a result of that I look better, I feel better and have more physical energy, I get to buy those new clothes I want– how fun, I am healthier and in better physical, emotional and spiritual balance, I am more attractive to my partner or potential partners, sexier, etc, etc…
Acting as if– Is a hugely powerful tool in helping the subconscious create your new reality from your image. It adds physical and emotional energy to your desire and vision and reinforces the choices you need to make on a daily basis in order to work the process that you are embracing as you travel toward your new you. So, act as if you are already there as much and as often as possible. It will become more and more natural, fun, comfortable and automatic, and soon– you will be there!
R– Realistic & Responsible (Ecological)
Realistic– Another way to describe achievable, but it also adds another dimension. Let’s say you want to lose 40 pounds, oops, I mean 39 pounds. It isn’t going to happen in 2 months, at least not in a healthy sustainable way. I recently worked with a client who lost 120 pounds after only 3 sessions. What that means is that it took him three sessions to create the mind-set to get him on the path toward losing the weight, but it took him 8 months to actually lose it. So during our work together we set realistic goals to get him there– eat healthy, exercise 5-6 days a week, focus on losing about 7-9 pounds a month and be very kind to yourself, etc. In reality he beat that number, but it was never about hitting the number; what really helped him and hundreds of folks I’ve helped accomplish successful and sustained weight loss was establishing the mindset for making kind choices for the body and the psyche that are very realistic. Both my clinical program and the download version, Winning the Weighting Game, https://drjohnmcgrail.com/shop/weight-control are based upon creating this dynamic, because in short it works! So, be realistic and very kind to yourself.
Responsible– Is simple. Your goal should not only benefit you, but in some way also allow your success to serve the greater good of all. Not to beat a dead horse here, but using weight loss yet again, when you shed that 29 pounds, you obviously serve your own benefit, but you also serve the greater good. With your new increased energy and self esteem, you become a better worker, mate, parent, friend, and will by example you become a powerful role model for others, so everyone benefits from your success. That’s ecological– a very cool feeling!
T– Timed & Toward what you want
Timing– Is everything in life, and, of course, timing is hugely important in making changes in your life. It’s important to set (realistic) time frames for realizing your goals– “I am releasing that 17 pounds I need and want to lose; I am starting NOW (present time) and I am finished by June 15th. (Notice that while this is a specific time frame, it’s also very realistic. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is considered a healthy and sustainable rate. If I start on January 1, then June 15th (odd number, :)) ) gives me about 20 weeks, so I’ve built in some nice wiggle room to be human– and not some hyper-metabolic, calorie-burning machine– and a very realistic and achievable time frame.
Toward what you want– Simply means that your success rate will increase dramatically when you begin to focus on where you are heading rather than where you are leaving. Another way to say this is not to focus on getting away from the “painful” e.g. overweight condition you want to get out of, but rather the new, sleeker, more energized, more successful, happier you that you are heading toward. This is another reason I strongly recommend visualizing your final result everyday; it helps you in moving toward your goal rather than away from your pain, and this creates a much much more powerful energy, all the while, of course, keeping your mind focused on the process. Remember, it’s always, always a process, so let that be your goal– having an eye on the final, delicious prize while embracing the process of moving toward that prize. It’s an unbeatable dynamic!
Now You’re Acting S.M.A.R.T.
So there you have it; a little more depth into how to make your goals both S.M.A.R.T. and your reality! And they are not so much New Years resolutions as they are New You resolutions.
Until next time, please keep it up, and please keep your comments and questions coming. If there is an area around self improvement and self empowerment you’d like to ask about or read about, let me know. I am happy to provide as much information as I can to help you make your life the joyful, abundant process you want and deserve it to be; achieving The Synthesis Effect, and that’s what it’s all about.