If you’ve read many of my blog posts then you’ll know that I truly believe that if you really put your mind to it, or really want something badly enough, then you can do anything that you want to in life – the solution lies within you.
Do you remember my New Year’s Resolutions post from last year? ‘New Year’s Resolutions that Stick’, where I talked about making SMART (Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; Timely) goals? Be honest, how did you do? On the stroke of midnight did you really become a better person, over come your bad habits, or become more health conscience? Did you manage to accomplish any of your goals?
I’m a goal-orientated kind of person myself and actually find that making SMART goals does work really well for me; they have certainly helped me to achieve a lot in my life. However, there’s always one or two New Year’s resolutions that seem to be on my list year after year; for some reason I never seem to manage to stick to them no matter what I try. One pesky New Year’s resolution that I never seem to realise is that of taking regular exercise. My excuses – ‘well, life gets in the way and I forget to exercise’, or ‘I don’t have the time to exercise’.
As I get older, more and more, I see the importance of regular exercise to keep me fit, healthy, supple and I suppose ‘young’ so it is something that I really want. I also believe that I have the willpower and the self-discipline needed, so what’s going on here? Is it really that hard to fight against ingrained habits and existing routines? I really wanted to get to the root of the problem.
Fortunately, I was talking this over with a group of my colleagues a couple of weeks or so ago and one of them told me that they had overheard someone raving about a certain book called Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (by Heidi Grant Halvorson), and how reading it had helped them to overcome the hurdles in life that had up until that point defeated them. So, of course I immediately went out and bought it.
I’ve almost finished reading it, but was so excited by it’s contents that I just had to share them with you today so that you can read the book over the holidays and in time for making your New Year’s resolutions. It is the one book that just might help you (and me) to finally learn how to reach our goals by overcoming the many hurdles that have defeated us in the past.
‘we need to set the right kind of goal depending upon the situation’
Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson is a social psychologist and her research based study offers a fascinating insight into motivation and goal attainment, and specifically why people set the goals they do and why they do, or don’t reach them. She explains that there are different kinds of goals, and that we need to set the right kind of goal depending upon the situation; in other words, that we have to approach each goal in the right kind of way for it to be successful. For example, sometimes it’s good to think about the big picture, while at other times it’s better to concentrate on the details (What do I need to do next?).
‘actionable steps help you to accomplish your goals’
The book is well structured, easy to read, and the author’s conversational tone builds a personal rapport which is very inviting. From the mass of empirical data collected from her research she teases out many concrete, actionable steps that any one can take in order to accomplish their goals. I particularly loved the ‘What You Can Do’ section at the conclusion of the chapters – they get you working on your goals straight away.
‘your willpower can be strengthened like a muscle’
She also introduces several illuminating concepts, including promotion and prevention-focused goals, ‘being good’ and ‘getting better’, Thinking ‘Why’ or thinking ‘what’ and ‘if-then planning’. For example, she provides simple strategies to tackle goals when you need to get something done yesterday, when you have a particularly challenging goal to accomplish, or when you just need (as she puts it) a ‘kick in the pants’.
I also like the way she likens building willpower to strengthening a muscle, and as a person who regularly use visualisation techniques she instead tells us: ‘Don’t visualise success. Instead visualise the steps you will take in order to succeed’.
The strategies outlined in this book will not only help you to reach your goals but will also show you how you can help others to reach their goals too. Therefore, this book is invaluable to parents, teachers, coaches, and employers or anyone who would like to help others to reach their goals.
We are often told that if we write down the goals that we want to achieve then they will happen (this is what we do when we write our New Year’s resolutions), however, Dr. Grant Halvorson shows us that there’s a lot more to it than that – that’s why most people do not achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Even after writing SMART goals we may find ourselves at the end of the year having accomplished very little and wondering what the heck went wrong.
So, if you are like me and are wondering why you can’t stick to your New Year’s resolutions, or want to understand the best way to make sure that you get started on the report that’s due, or perhaps want to know how you can help others to achieve their goals, then I highly recommend that you read this book.
Who knows, this new approach to motivation and goal attainment might change the way you approach your entire life and be just what you need to SUCCEED.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Have you put any of the ideas into practice yet?
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