You’re probably familiar with the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals – you may even have tried them and discovered that they worked well … or maybe you struggled to formulate your S.M.A.R.T. Goals properly and gave up.

A S.M.A.R.T. Goal is:

  • Specific – clearly stated in precise terms
  • Measurable – you can tell if you have achieved it or not
  • Achievable – it is possible
  • Realistic – not only is it possible, it is possible for you given your circumstances
  • Timely – there is a date attached to it

When you’re setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals you don’t want to try to set too many at a time because your unconscious mind will get confused [Unconscious Mind] – and also you will probably get lazy in your goal setting process.  It’s much better to create 2-3 well-formed goals than 8-10 sloppy ones, but sometimes we get carried away by our desire to create change in several areas of our lives all at once.

One thing that often gets people confused when they’re setting goals is that they mistake a state or value for a goal.  Happiness, for example, is not a goal – it’s a state.  It could be part of a well-formed goal if you thought about it like this:-

I want to be happy …

I would be happy if my relationship with my spouse/partner involved more conversation …

I will plan to have 2 hours together talking about important things or doing projects with the TV turned off every Tuesday and Thursday …

After 2 months we should be communicating much more deeply about things that matter.

You do have to think about the specific change that equate to realising your goal, and the steps you will take to get there.

Active Visualisation Makes S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting Truly Powerful

The thing that really makes S.M.A.R.T. Goals dynamite is actively visualising the outcome using as many senses as possible.  Feel the satisfaction, hear the roar of approval, smell that new car smell …  The more clearly you can experience the emotion that is linked to your success, the more likely you are to achieve the goal.  If it doesn’t seem real to you, the chances are you won’t achieve it.

Posting pictures of your desired outcomes in plain view will really help keep you motivated and on-target.  So find pictures of the holiday you want, your dream home, the relationships you want to enjoy, the people you want to help and put them on your walls, your computer, or in a notebook that you keep nearby and you’ll be amazed at how many wonderful things happen in your life.

Your Amazing Magical Mind

Studies in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) show that when we send very clear messages to our unconscious mind about what we want, it helps us get where we are trying to go.  Your brain is a very powerful and amazingly complex structure and it influences your behaviour at many, many levels.  Science has hardly begun to tap the power of your mind to direct your life but there is no denying its almost magical powers.  The thing we really need to do is set up the conditions and then get out of the way.

Evidence Procedure for S.M.A.R.T. Goals

So, you’ve set a goal, and thoroughly visualised your successful accomplishment by harnessing all your 5 senses.  Now you need to to set out your evidence procedure.

How will you know you’ve reached the goal? – Make this as specific and concrete as possible.  Whether it’s an action like booking your ticket for Hawaii, or boarding the plane, or information like a specific sum of money in your bank account, or even a signed contract.  Be sure you can say, “When this particular thing happens, my goal has been reached.”

Then set 3 intermediate milestones which will tell you that you are on target.  Make them just as specific as your final goal because they will be your progress markers along the way.  Use pictures for these as well.

  1. What is my goal?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  2. What is my 1st Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  3. What is my 2nd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  4. What is my 3rd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?

If you follow this process thoroughly and focus on 2-3 goals at a time, you can’t help seeing dramatic changes unfold in  your life.  Start with just a single goal – something you really, really want and see what happens.


Meta Description:  S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a great way of giving your unconscious mind directions, but making them truly visceral adds a whole new dimension to their achievability.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales

A few years ago I did some research into ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and how effective they really are.  Most statistics show that roughly 70% of people will have abandoned their ‘resolutions’ by 15th January and what I found was that most of the population think of New Year’s resolutions as something that you need to ‘try’ really hard at.

In considering my research, I realised that many struggling to make those ‘resolutions’ a reality are sabotaging themselves by doing one or more of the following…

  1. They wait til January – I believe that change and development is a process of constant evolution.  Waiting until December or January to decide that we will become better versions of ourselves seems like a waste of the rest of the year!  Please don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a big picture plan to know where you’re going, and the milestones, month to month, week to week tracking/review is what really allows you to see your progress.
  2. Their definition is flawed – “Resolution” loosely defined is to find an answer to something. That doesn’t mean that we have taken action on it.  For example: You know that the answer to having more energy is to shed a few kilos BUT that doesn’t mean that you have committed to eat well, exercise consistently and actually take action on the solution, right?  A big part of achieving change is your commitment to take action on a decision/answer.  People who succeed in their goals make a plan and then take action!
  3. Their Frame of Mind is not supporting their outcome – Most resolutions start off on the wrong foot with negative language or lack of something.  For example: “I’m going to give up…” “I will quit….”  “I want to lose…”  This mentality focuses on the thing that you don’t want (Remember: your unconscious mind cannot process negatives so it just draws more attention to the thing you want to have and that you’re denying yourself).  This lack mentality, creates negative emotions of ‘fear/anxiety’ that you won’t succeed or guilt when you don’t stick to your plan.
  4. They’re not clear on what it is they actually want:  “I want to be happy this year”, “I want to have more money this year” – these sound great but what do they really mean? Happiness could be a moment with your kids/partner – that would be achieved then wouldn’t it? You could bank an extra $1 than you did last year – that would be achieved wouldn’t it? NO?! That’s right, because you meant something different.  How would you know if you got it, specifically?

So here’s a few things to do to make 2016 the year that you get stuff done, a year that you can look back and say “I achieved…”

  1. Set Commitments – Rather than resolutions, set yourself up with some commitments.  This carries more weight and becomes a promise.  Make a plan, take action on your commitment and make it consistent.
  2. Know what you want and move toward it – The S.M.A.R.T. Principles are great for get Specific on what you want and if your ‘itty bitty s%^&y committee’ is sitting on your shoulder saying you can’t have it, then you will most like lose motivation.
    Use this FREE tool to Boost Your Confidence it’s our gift to you.

  3. Set Milestones and rewards – Most people make the goal so BIG that they overwhelm themselves before the start.  Set an end goal, then work backwards to create milestones that you can check in on to make sure you’re on track.
  4. Make it physical/action/outcome – I see many people focus on a goal that is not measurable, they know that they want it but there’s no action to support the attainment.  STOP, DO, and you will have.  Take action!  Whether it’s picking up the phone to connect with someone, getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier for a walk or simply blocking out some time in your diary to do some meditation… the key here is to DO not think about Doing.
  5. Change your language – The relationship you have with yourself is an important one. Instead of using language like: “I’m giving up…” see how you feel about: “I’m choosing to be/do/have…” It’s much more empowering as it communicates the goal in a better way to your unconscious mind.

In 10 years of coaching at Life Puzzle I have seen many people spend a lot of time dreaming about how the year will be different and yet they are still ‘trying’ to achieve the same outcomes when you talk to them again at the next turn of the calendar year.  So please, Instead of ‘trying’ just start ‘doing’ and if you need a little help you may wish to join us at Quest 4 Your Best.

Make those Commitments your Reality and until next time,

Be well and Be Empowered!

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales

I talk to a lot people who have been setting goals for years, and who think it’s a nice exercise, but not really important.  That’s because their goals never really affect their lives.  They’re either so mundane that it doesn’t take any effort to reach them, so abstract that you’d never know whether you had reached them or not, or so impossible that you can’t possibly reach them anyway.

You can read about the techniques of S.M.A.R.T. Goal-setting here, but this post is about using your unconscious mind to keep you on track.

One of the things that often stops people from reaching their goals is the amount of deliberate effort it takes to stay focused.  If you harness your unconscious mind and give it clear instructions about what you are trying to achieve then you relieve your conscious mind of that task.  This gives you more energy to apply to actually working towards the goal, so it’s a really powerful tool.

I’m really passionate about the power of goal-setting, but I think it comes with a caution.  If you really can’t visualise your goal, you probably should ask some questions about whether you can get yourself there.  On the other hand, once you have a clear picture of your goal, you can give your unconscious mind all the help it needs to carry you forward until you achieve them.

What Kind of Goals Do You Have?

People are different.  They are genuinely motivated by different things.  For some people it’s the car they drive, or the house they live in, or the clothes/jewellery they wear.  For others it’s about charitable causes or relationships.  

I don’t know what you really want, but if you can figure that out and write down your goals to incorporate sensory information – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory, gustatory and emotional information they will intensify your image of the goal, and send a clear picture to your unconscious mind.  

So, now you’ve given your unconscious mind a vivid picture of where you want to be, you work through the milestones you need to achieve them and send that to your unconscious mind as well.

Say you’re publishing a book (something I’ve recently been working on).  My final goal, was to hold that book in my hand and be able to say, “I’ve done it!”  Early in the process I created a mock-up of the cover so that I could focus my unconscious mind on what the finished product would look like (in the end I even changed the title and cover, but all the way through I had a picture in my mind of me holding the book).

Along the way there were many things I had to do:- writing the book, getting it edited, working with my graphic designer and printer etc.  At every stage, I had a clear picture in my mind, and I could feed that to my unconscious mind so that I stayed focused and kept moving forward.  I still had to make decisions, and put in the effort, but my unconscious mind kept prodding me into action.

Using Physical Prompts to Help Out

Your unconscious mind is very busy moving you forward, whether you’re aware of it or not.  How much more effective it is to use your unconscious mind to take you where you want to go, rather than simply letting it keep you up at night – but you need to give it some help.

This is where physical prompts like lists, posters and white boards come in.  My computer desktop usually contains visual prompts to keep my primary goals top of mind.  That way, every time I open my computer I am reminding myself both consciously and unconsciously about the goals I’m working towards.

I also have a vision board on my bedroom wall just to keep me focused.  Many days I don’t consciously notice it, but it’s always there as an unconscious prompt.

Try it for yourself – you’ll be surprised how far it takes you.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


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