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How To Convert Good Intentions Into Goals That Stick

Written by: Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Have you ever had the best of intentions to start a project, learn a skill, or form a healthy habit? You were excited, optimistic, and had such promise. You started out strong but life got in the way. Other responsibilities and distractions took priority. You lost focus and eventually gave up, feeling defeated. “I’ll never lose weight or be successful in my career.” Sound familiar?

Here’s the thing, did you ever identify what success looks like? How will it look and feel when you complete that project? What will you be able to do when you learn that skill? How will forming that healthy habit change your life?


When we take the time to visualize what success looks like, our intention becomes possible. When we apply action, we begin to turn our intention into reality.


The first step in visualization is releasing limiting beliefs that you’re not good enough or deserving enough to have what you desire. Often, these beliefs are formed early in life from our experiences and relationships. What we learned from our parents, teachers, and other role models, creates our belief system. These thoughts can become locked in our subconscious, making them unrecognizable. Eventually, they bubble up and impact our behavior.


Changing your mindset is where a coach can be particularly helpful. A coach will recognize the belief system driving the behavior and create a safe space for reflection. Purposeful reflection can be the most difficult part of the journey, as it may bring up painful feelings. However, it is also the most liberating. Once you become aware of negative thought patterns you can focus on shifting your mindset.


There are many techniques that can be used to shift focus from a negative to a positive mindset, some of which include, meditation, NLP exercises, and affirmations. My personal favorite is developing mental fitness. Mental fitness involves quieting the left, analytical side of the brain, where all negative emotions reside, such as fear, anxiety, and stress, and shifting the focus to the right brain, where happiness and peacefulness reside. This technique is particularly affective for managing negative thought patterns in the moment.


Once the belief is there, it's time to create the vision. Be as specific as possible. If your goal is to lose weight, how will you look and feel at your goal weight? Will there be things that you can physically do that you can’t do now? Imagine how others will react to you. Notice your level of confidence. Emotions bring your vision to life. If your goal is to be successful in your career, what does that look like? Is it getting that promotion or reaching a certain income level? Envision how you’ll feel in that position. Are you calm and confident or excited or energized?


When you have created a strong vision, you have a crystal-clear picture of the future you desire. You may not know how you'll get there, but you believe that your future is possible. For a vision to come to fruition, you must have specific goals that drive your actions.

Good intentions alone will not produce results; a sound plan and specific action must follow intention. A great place to start is using the SMART Goal method.


SMART Goals

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time-Bound


SPECIFIC

For actions to be specific, they must include the following:

  • What you are going to do.

  • When you are going to do it.

  • How often you will do it.

  • Who will you do it with?

For example, stating that you'll lose weight by eating healthy and going to the gym, sets the intention, but does not provide a roadmap to get there.


An example of specific goals would be: I will incorporate 1-2 servings of fruits and vegetables with every meal and snack. I will measure my food before I eat it, to ensure I am eating the correct portion size.

MEASURABLE

Measurable goals include specifics such as day, time, how much, and for how long.

I will work out at the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I will work out first thing in the morning for 45 minutes.


ACHIEVABLE

Achievable goals are truly doable. They involve some effort, but it's highly probable they'll be achieved. Realistic goals build momentum. As humans, we want instant gratification. Feeling successful gives us gratification. When goals are unrealistic it's easy to lose motivation and give up.


For example, expecting to lose 20 pounds in one month is not realistic. That's an average of 5 pounds per week. A healthy, realistic weight loss goal is to lose an average of 1-2 pounds per week. Some weeks it may be less. Some weeks it may be more. This is an average over a 4-week period. Expecting to lose 4-5 pounds in one month is achievable.


I will lose at least 4 pounds each month. I will drink a glass of water as soon as I wake up.


RELEVANT

Relevant goals are crucial for sustainability. A relevant goal is something you want to do versus something you feel you should do. For example, have you ever had a gym membership but didn't go to the gym consistently or at all?


You may come up with a million reasons why you don't go to the gym. If you wanted to go to the gym, you would make a point of going. Feeling that you should do something is not motivating.


It's similar to your mother telling you to eat your vegetables or clean your room when you were a child. Neither was motivating. If your mother offered that you could have dessert if you finished your vegetables, which might have been a motivator. The bottom line, no one enjoys being told what to do. Feeling that you should do something is your mind's way of telling you what to do. You will be more successful if you choose what you want to do.


I will walk with a friend each Saturday morning.

I will take a 5-minute meditation break after lunch.


TIME-BOUND

Setting a time limit to complete your goal creates accountability. Just saying you'll start walking this week provides no accountability or sense of urgency. Before you know it, the week has gone by and you haven't walked at all. Instead set a clear expectation:


I'll walk for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday morning, before work.


Spending time reflecting on positive change and those things you've accomplished is a powerful exercise for building confidence and staying focused to achieve your goals. It's not about bragging and comparing yourself to others. It's about acknowledging your own successes and channeling that understanding into creating a better version of yourself. You'll be surprised at the impact counting your wins has on your mood and motivation.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Hammett is a leader in health and wellness, stress management, and goal setting. After a 26-year career in the corporate retailing world, which left her stressed, burned out, and at her heaviest weight, she left the industry for a successful 16-year career in direct selling. During this time she developed her love of coaching. She also started her health and wellness journey, losing 65 pounds, and has kept it off for 11 years. After losing the weight, she became a health coach, for a global wellness company, and has been coaching members for the past 10 years, to achieve their weight loss goals. In May of 2020, she launched her Success Coaching practice, to help individuals who were struggling with anxiety, depression, and weight gain due to the pandemic. Her business has since expanded to life coaching. Client success stories include weight loss, improved health, stress reduction, creating a balanced life, development of sustainable healthy habits (mind and body), development of a laser-focused Vision for goal achievement, building strong confidence, improved relationships, and business success. Lisa is currently writing her first book, “From Burnout to Best Life.” which will be published later this year.

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