Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Importance of Specific Goal Setting

Whenever we set a goal we want to make sure that it's done in a very specific manner. The brain loves detailed directions. It's just like when you ask someone for the way to the airport and imagine they tell you something like: "Oh, just go west til you hit it." How satisfying of an answer would that be to you? Would you like more to hear something like: "From here just follow the street you are on until you hit the highway, go west on the highway and after about 5 miles you will see the airport to your right, follow the signs to the terminal." Could you assume that the second description would guarantee you much greater success? I sure think so. And that's exactly how it is with the brain. By being really specific we are so much more apt to get what we really want. Imagine the person who wants to weigh 140 pounds would say: "I just want to loose a bunch of pounds", how guaranteed is it for them to actually end up at 140 pounds? By saying: "I want to weigh 140 pounds" the person has an achievable and measurable goal.

Make sure that your outcome is measurable. A goal like: "I want to make more money this year" is so vague and does not really give the brain a definite direction. By saying: "This year I am going to double my net income" or even better: "This year I am going to have $ 100.000 net income" we give the brain a clear and distinct goal to focus on.
I remember learning this lesson the hard way. I had been wanting a new car for a while and kept saying things like: "I just want a new car." My wish came true when we had to evict one of our tenants and they abandoned a beat up car (with a beehive in it) in our parking lot. Was that the car I wanted? My husband is still laughing about that and sometimes when I am being too vague with my language he teases me: "Is that the car you want?" So, you better make sure that you specify exactly what you want.

Besides your outcome being measurable also make sure it's achievable. Notice that it is the appropriate chunk size for you to deal with. "I want to be healthy" is too general and vague, it is too large of a chunk to bite off at once. Think of all the many little chunks that make up the larger one. With the example of health, some of the smaller pieces that make up general health are diet, exercise, sleeping patterns, meditation, etc. By concentrating on just one aspect at a time you give your brain a lot greater chance to integrate that one pattern before moving on to the next. That is how we create lasting change. Lets go back to our friend wanting to start their own business. That's one huge chunk they are biting off right there. What could be some smaller goals that will naturally lead to fulfilling their dream of owning a business. Do they need education, funding, or a business plan. What is the greatest priority? What makes sense to do first. For example it does make sense to have the business plan first to then be able to create the budget.

Think of your own outcome now. Is it defined enough for you to be sure of your next steps?
All right.

State your outcome in positive towards to terms, "I want to be calm when my kids whine" versus "I don't want to be aggressive anymore when my kids whine", because to the brain there is no such thing as a negation. The brain takes all concepts literally and all it hears is "I want to be aggressive when my kids whine." Again, any time when we say what we don't want we actually tell our brain that we do want it. Just like "I don't want to smoke", the brain only hears "I want to smoke". Even "I want to stop smoking" needs still a little fine tuning, because at this point the brain only knows what we want to stop doing, it does not know yet what we want to do instead. Sometimes that's a little tough to find the positive towards to language to describe what it is we want. And, it is so important that we take that step, because remember, the brain needs specific directions to take you where you want to go. When I work with people who want to change their smoking habits I encourage them to think on the lines of "I am finding many ways of expressing my freedom" or "I am easily relaxing and breathing deeply". Use creative ongoing present tense language like "I am creating, I am achieving, I am attracting ...". This puts your outcome in motion right now.

If your outcome includes other people make sure that you are in charge of your outcome. "I want my kids to behave" or "I want my boss to respect me" are statements that put our power in other people's hands. People who are stuck with such outcomes have a tougher time changing themselves because they believe it's up to the other person to make the change. Ask yourself: "What can I do to change the situation?" "How can I communicate with my kids in a way that they want to behave?" or "How can I respect myself more that it automatically reflects in my boss's behavior towards me?" By bringing the outcome back to yourself you are claiming your own power to change. And by you changing, the environment around you automatically changes too.

I once worked with a man, lets call him John, who could not stand his in laws because of their frequent visits to his and his wife's home. He desperately wanted them to change and he could not see his own part in the story. Once we started thinking about what goal John could set for himself in regards to this situation, he decided to be very warm and welcoming to his in laws and still maintain appropriate boundaries. It's needless to say that the parental visits became less frequent. A huge insight helped John to make peace with his in laws and it came when we were exploring the in laws positive intent for their behavior. John started to understand that their frequent visits were a sign of their love and support for their daughter and her husband. I remember John's smile when the realization hit him and a wave of love for his in laws came over him.

All right now, we already took some great steps in the direction of the fulfillment of your outcome. So, in summary:

Notice where you are at, what situation you want to change.
What is your positive intent for what you currently have.
What do you want instead.
Make sure your outcome is measurable and achievable, that it's the appropriate chunk size.
Use positive, towards to language when stating your outcome.
Make sure the outcome is something you can do, even if it includes other people.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Manifest your Dreams through effective Goal setting

For over thirty years Neuro Linguistic Programming, also called NLP, has developed many processes and techniques to help people achieve excellence. All of our patterns and habits are anchored in our neurology and our language patterns reflect what is going on in our brain. For example a person who says: “I am trying to loose weight." is actually setting themselves up for failure by HOW they are talking about their outcome. A much more positive and useful way of expressing that outcome might be something like: "I am currently achieving my perfect weight." These little differences in how we express ourselves have huge effects when it comes to the reality we are creating.
Quantum Physics shows us clearly that we are creating our own reality. And Quantum NLP suggests that this happens through the use of our thoughts. You can also say that we become what we think. Now, the interesting fact is that a lot of people believe that they are stuck with their habits, their patterns, their limiting beliefs and whatever else they carry around with them. Quantum NLP has taught me that we can change our thought patterns, which will automatically lead to different behaviors, better habits and more empowering beliefs. I have observed it over and over again with myself, my family, my friends, my clients and students and my audiences: That we can absolutely change an aspect of our life in a meaningful manner to a new way that is holistic and lasting.
Quantum NLP is based on a very simple and at the same time profound idea. "We are all responsible for creating our own reality." And this happens through the use of our thoughts.
My intent is to help you identify your thought patterns that create incongruence in your life. When we are not congruent and aligned, things show up, that we don't really want, like relationships that don't work, money issues, having an accident or getting sick.
All of these issues and problems are the direct result of people's internal thought patterns. When I work with my clients I help them to identify their thought patterns and then we can figure out ways to replace those with more useful ones. And the beautiful thing is, it is already all available in their neurology. I love the idea that we already have all the resources and answers we need within us. It is just a matter of practicing the muscle. Just like when someone starts going to the gym, the exercises that seem so hard in the beginning are becoming easy so quickly because the muscle gets used to the workout. It is exactly the same with the neurology in your brain.
There is a famous quote that change is the only consistent in life. It is a natural part of life. Just think for a moment about the many changes you already have been through in your own life. Moving to a new house or city, visiting different schools during your education, getting in and out of relationships, marrying, having children, and much, much more. Just alone in your career path I can imagine how many changes you have had. Life is full of changes and you have gone through changes many times successfully.
Essentially, change is quite easy. It just depends on three factors:
First of all: That you really want the change.
Second: That you give yourself a chance to change.
And last: That you know how to change.
By you picking up this book I already know: first of all, that you are willing to change and secondly, that you are giving yourself a chance to change. The information I am sharing with you about the structure of change and the process I will lead you through are giving you the "Know How", also known as the "strategy" to change.
It definitely helps to know your starting point and what it is you really want. Just like a car that is traveling from point A to point B, you need to have your point A and point B in place in order to plan a path to get to your goal.
Now it is almost time for you to fully experience in your own neurology the actual transformation of a dream into an achievable goal. We will do this by integrating the structure of effective goal setting into your neurology. Your brain always makes the best choice possible with the options and resources it has available. So when an innovative and different possibility is being offered, the brain loves the opportunity to explore new neuro pathways and with practice these pathways will become long term neuro connections. Having this new network in your brain naturally leads to integrating more empowering beliefs, behaviors and patterns.

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