As we start a new year everyone encourages us to be goal setting. Creating targets for how we would like things to be in our businesses or careers, and that is a good thing. But that is only the first step in the process. Sadly, having set our sights on what would make us happy, we often then trip ourselves up with our own thoughts and actions, fears and beliefs. So here’s why goal setting often fails.
Goal setting is great but let’s dig into what often gets in the way of achieving those goals, including the importance of language and how that can help or hinder us in attaining what we truly desire.
Communications can either empower us or trip us up.
Language is important. Think about how we communicate with customers, clients and our own team, but also how we communicate with ourselves.
You can tell a story that lifts someone up and makes them feel great and feel empowered. Equally, what you say can make someone feel miserable and unwanted.
Tony Robbins once said that there are two ways to have the tallest building in the world; one is to build the tallest building in the world and the other is to tear everyone else’s down.
What you say to someone can (inadvertently) have a massive impact on how they feel and how they respond. So it’s incumbent upon us to think about how we frame what we say.
For example, you might mean to say to someone “what is troubling you?” and what came out was “what is wrong with you?”. Different message isn’t it. You had better be prepared for a different response, perhaps defensive or maybe angry (anger is generally defensive).
The person you have most conversations with during the day is yourself, right? I know it’s not just me that talks to myself in my head, is it? We all do that. Some of us have even started doing it out loud. That’s okay in the privacy of your own home, but a little embarrassing whilst waiting in the checkout line at Tesco’s.
Social scientists tell us, quite rightly, that language is only part of the communication. But boy can it be powerful. (Body language and the tonality is a bigger part of the communication and we may revisit that in a later blog, but right now let us focus on the words that we use.)
When we start to speak the person listening will start to create pictures in their head.
When you speak to yourself, what pictures are you creating? Are you selling yourself on how you are going to attain the perfect day, the perfect month, the perfect life? Or do you tend to doubt yourself, question the decisions and make yourself feel bad, put yourself down and even tell yourself that you don’t deserve it?
You may have heard the story of Roger Bannister – the first person to break the 4 minute mile. That 4 minute ‘barrier’ had been pursued for near 70 years. Before Bannister broke the barrier it was considered that no human could do a sub-4 minute mile. Yet just 46 days after – it was broken again. This time by John Landy and then within twelve months 3 other runners broke the 4 minute mile. Now we have high school kids breaking that barrier on a regular basis.
Our beliefs and habits are formed by our consistent thoughts. Our thoughts are made up of the words we say to ourselves and the pictures we create.
Who is running your head?
What we consistently tell ourselves forms our habits and beliefs. One annual exercise of goal setting is not going to overpower your consistent internal dialogue.
When you have these discussions with yourself, it is equivalent to self-hypnosis. It goes on all day every day and is often below the conscious radar. We are giving little attention to the dialogue we use with ourselves and the messages we are conveying.
Many people say things to themselves that they wouldn’t dare say out loud to someone else for fear of being slapped! But that internal dialogue is literally programming our neurology….for success or otherwise.
So our language is important. It has almost magical powers to influence, maybe that’s why they call it spelling. We are literally casting spells, often times on ourself.
Who (not what) is holding you back from your goals?
We often blame exterior things for holding us back from achieving our desires. It was the economy, it was the taxes, it was the regulations, it was the bank, I’m too tall, I’m too short, I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time, I never had the same opportunities, it is easier for others, I’m simply not wired the right way.
It is interesting how much time and effort we are prepared to invest in telling ourselves what is not possible. Telling ourselves why something can’t be done. Focusing our energies on all the things that could go wrong. It is all very well to create a back-up plan in case of eventualities, but you don’t have to get that disaster plan out every day and stare at it all day long.
When you focus your energies positively, your self-dialogue improves, your self-image and your beliefs improve. When your self-image,beliefs about yourself and what is possible improve, then your results will follow.
Make 2022 your best year ever.
I wish you every success for 2022.
Yes you do need to be goal setting, so well done for doing that. Remember to encourage yourself and celebrate your successes. Learning to be kind to ourselves in the way we talk to yourself internally will increase the chances of achieving those goals more regularly.
If you would like to discover more ways to make 2022 your best year ever then you may wish to have a look at the Armadillo Academy training programme.