help with goal setting

Top 5 motivational "tricks" to help you achieve your goals

Whether you'd like to get fit, make more money, lose weight, become better organized, spend more time with the family or stop smoking (all of which are the most popular New Year's resolutions, year after year) -- accomplishing anything requires the motivation to make a commitment, get started, and stick with it.

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Unfortunately, in the case of New Year's resolutions a 30% of us will throw in the towel within the first 30 days and another 50% will drop off throughout the year. Fortunately, however 20% of the folks who set New Year's resolutions say that they successfully complete their goal(s).

What is it that makes some people more successful than others at reaching a desired outcome? Are there tools that all of us can apply to boost our chance of success?

Our "5 T's of Motivation" for goal setting success:

1) Tape
Clearly define your goal in detail and TAPE it to your mirror, computer monitor and anywhere that you'll see it repeatedly and strategically (such as on the refrigerator if you are hoping to lose weight or on the TV set if you are hoping to make more money)

2) Timeline
Rather than saying to yourself, "within the next year, I want to lose 50 pounds," set a TIMELINE of steps along the way. For example, "One month from now, I plan to have lost 3lbs. The next month, I will drop 5 lbs., etc." You may want to start with small steps in the beginning so that you are more likely to achieve them. After that, it is easier to keep building on your successes.

3) Treat
As you reach each milestone along the way, TREAT yourself as a celebration. Do not, however, treat yourself in a way that sets you back. For instance, don't allow yourself a big piece of pie and ice cream if your goal is to lose weight. Instead, treat yourself to a movie, a small shopping splurge, etc.

4) Track your progress
Few things are more motivating than seeing, on paper, how far you've come and how far you still have to go. If your goal is to pay off a debt, chart out your starting and ending points on the left and each month (or other timeline step) along the bottom. Perhaps, just seeing the progress on your TRACKING chart is enough of a TREAT in itself.

5) Talk
Tell your friends and family what you hope to accomplish so that they can cheer you on. TALKING about your goals to those around you also makes it less likely that they will unwittingly undermine or sabotage you (such as pressuring you to go out frequently after work if your goal is to spend more time with your family). Also, read articles and books by people who have already achieved what it is you have set out to accomplish for yourself.

6) Bonus Tip
Though we couldn't come up with a way to tie it to our mnemonic "5 T's," something that many people find helpful is VISUALIZING success throughout the journey of achieving your goal. By clearly "seeing" yourself succeeding and "feeling" how happy you will be once you've successfully reached your goal, you may find the motivation to stay the course, even in the midst of setbacks and difficult times.

For more tips on setting and successfully achieving goals, visit:
http://www.commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/Top5WeightLossMotivationTips.pdf
http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS132935+18-Dec-2007+BW20071218

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