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Whilst it is a psychological turbo injection of motivational inspiration to start setting goals at the beginning of each new year, most of us will start losing the impetus as the weeks roll on and revert to old habits by repeating familiar cycles of self-sabotage and eventually failing at what we set out to achieve, with waning enthusiasm for the “new me”.

Maintaining that enthusiasm and motivation until the desired goal is reached is no mean feat and few people are self-disciplined enough to do it without setting out an action plan to help them reach their targets.  We have to be absolutely specific about what we want and what it takes to get it, in as much detail as possible, and we have to be realistic and make them achievable.  They should not be about having more money, being self-employed, taking a holiday or losing weight for the summer holiday as they are not specific enough.

So, here are my recommendations:

  1. Start with the end goal – what is it you want to achieve ultimately? Make it a 10 or 15 year goal rather than limiting it to one year.  Then work backwards, to 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, then 6 months, then break it down monthly, then weekly.  What will it take to reach that ultimate goal?  What steps do you have to put in place on a weekly basis?   If you are someone that lacks self-discipline, this level of goal-setting will keep you focussed and committed to what you desire and it is our desires that keep us growing and learning to unlock more of our inner potential.


  1. Next, let’s look at why you want that goal because that is the motivating factor. How badly do you want it?  It has to be a “must have” rather than “it would be rather nice”.  There’s no energy behind the latter statement and that will result in low drive and commitment.  As an exercise, write down at least 50 to 100 reasons why you want to achieve your goal/s by a set date.  For example, “I must be making £X net by 30th June 2020 so that: [enter 50-100 reasons]”.


  1. Now write down 50 to 100 ‘negative’ reasons why you must achieve your goal by that end date. It’s a known psychological fact that people are actually motivated by pain, so the mind will do anything it can to avoid it!  For example, “I must weigh X kilos by 30th June 2020 or else: [enter 50-100 reasons]”.  It may be health concerns, lack of energy, paying for your children’s education, and so on.  The motivating factor will be personal to you.  You must value your goal for it to be achieved.


  1. Write your main goal on a credit card size of paper and keep it with you in your wallet or purse at all times. Take it out every day and read it to yourself out loud, so that you hear yourself saying it.


  1. Now write down why you are absolutely 100% certain that achieving this goal by X date and succeeding in it is the only option. Once again, list as many reasons as possible here to reinforce all those motivating factors.  You are telling the subconscious mind that this IS happening rather than the somewhat insipid tone of using the non-committal word, “try”.  Example: “I am absolutely 100% certain that I by starting this fitness program and losing 10lb by 30th June 2020 will be successful as with it I will gain confidence, be more healthy, have more energy, etc… so succeeding is the only option”, and so on.  The more you read these commitments you have prepared out aloud every day, the more you are programming the subconscious to help you create it.


  1. Once you have detailed all the above, you need to find ways to monitor, measure and adjust the goals you have set. How will you measure your particular success?  What are the milestones?  Be realistic.  For example, if you are aiming to lose 10 kilos in as quick a time as possible, you will want to do it healthily and steadily and find ways to do it joyfully to keep you on track.  If you don’t enjoy the methods you are using, you will end up resenting them and then sabotaging them so, wherever possible, find fun pathways to your chosen goals.  The goals have to be achievable and you have to enjoy the process.  Adjust them so if you don’t fulfil everything you set out to achieve in one week, you double the efforts in the second week.


  1. As some of you may remember this time last year, I also talked about the importance of engaging the subconscious mind by bringing in all of the senses to increase the likelihood of manifesting your desires and keeping you on track. For example, if you spend 1 to 3 minutes every single day just sitting and visualising what it looks/feels/tastes/sounds like when achieved and combine it with the conscious actions, as detailed above, you are sure to succeed at achieving your desired goal.


As Published in the New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times on 17th January 2020.  Copyright Caroline Cousins