How often do you hear people talking about how they’d like to be more confident or wishing they felt more motivated? Probably more often than not, if research on workplace motivation in Australia is anything to go by. However, did you know that a simple thing like setting goals can help raise self-confidence and increase motivation?
Here’s why it works:
Setting goals helps raise self-confidence because once you start tracking goals, you start to recognise your ability to achieve them. And in achieving them, you recognise all the competencies you have used to do so.
This awareness builds your confidence and feeds your ability to set even more challenging and difficult goals. This gives you a greater sense of self-agency – an awareness of your ability to affect positive change in the world. The more you feel that, the more motivated you are about life in general.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Decide what
Firstly, decide what you want to do in each area of your life and what large-scale goals you want to achieve. They don’t all have to be work related, as achieving goals in your personal life also has a flow-on effect in terms of confidence and enhanced workplace ability. You might like to consider goals in some of these areas: artistic, attitude, career, education, family, physical health, pleasure.
2. Write it down
Did you know that people who write down their goals, as opposed to just having them in their head, increase their chances of achieving those goals by 80%? And it’s not just keyboard action required here – studies show that the act of your hand moving pen or pencil across paper establishes a more direct communication channel with your subconscious mind and establishes new neural pathways needed to create habitual action associated with achievement of goals. So ‘old school’ it up a bit and get out that pencil and paper!
3. Get SMART
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. SMART stands for:
Specific – What exactly do you want? Consider the ‘what, where, when, where, how, and with whom’ aspects.
Measurable – What will show you that this goal has been achieved? What measures will you put in place to ensure it really has been achieved to the extent that you want?
Achievable – Is this achievable? What actions have others taken who have achieved a similar thing? What actions are within your power to take in order to achieve this outcome?
Realistic – Is this something within your scope of skills, circumstance and imagination that could be achieved? This part of setting SMART goals setting is sometimes tricky to qualify, because we can’t know what is possible until we try, and often the best goals are the biggest and scariest that seem unrealistic to others and ourselves – before we’ve achieved them. Lean into any fear and discomfort and see just how far out of your comfort zone you can take yourself in setting your goals.
Time Bound – When exactly do you want to achieve this outcome? By or before what date?
4. Write ‘as if’
SMART goals need to be written as if you already have achieved them.
For example: By or before 22nd November 2017 I will have completed a Cert IV in Office Administration.
It’s June 2018 and I have successfully completed my fist half marathon in Melbourne with three friends and have raised over $6,000 for Multiple Sclerosis research.
5. Eyeball it.
Neuro-associative research shows that documenting your goals in a diagram helps embed them in your unconscious mind, which is where most action originates. Placing this diagram somewhere you can see it on a daily basis that is about a hands-breadth above your left eye line will help you embed your goals even more quickly and achieve them more easily.
So the take home message is: use pencil and paper to write down SMART goals as if they have already happened, make them into a drawing, put that above the top left corner of your door so you see it each day, then go out into the world to make it happen!