Posts tagged ‘emotions’

March 4, 2012

Setting Personal Goals

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Setting personal goals is a great accomplishment. There are many studies that demonstrated that when people take the time to write down their goals, these goals have a greater chance of being achieved.

One goal format that gets a lot of attention is the “S.M.A.R.T. Goal” format. This format is commonly used in business and is one way that employees evaluate their own work performance.  The characteristics of S.M.A.R.T. Goals are S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R=Realistic and T=Timely/Tangible.

Specific: When a goal is written with specific terminology, it has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a goal with ambiguous phrasing. When you are developing your goal, do you best to answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why for each goal.

Using our previous example of quitting smoking, answers to these specifics could be

Who = me

When = By July 4, 2012

Where = in my hometown

What=I will only breath healthy air into my lungs

Why=To decrease chances of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Measurable – Establish concrete, observable measurement criteria for your goal.  It is best to write you goal so an observer could measure your progress towards the goal.  To be measurable, you need to be able to measure when it has been accomplished. You need to be able to describe how it would look if your goal has been completed.  The benefit of measurable goals is that you will be able to chart your progress towards goal completion.

Our example goal of smoking cessation is easy to measure since the goal is to avoid inhaling smoke.

Attainable –When identifying goal areas, it is critical that you believe that you can attain the goal. If you feel like the goal may be a stretch for you, you may need to do some work on your core believes, thoughts and feelings about you proposed goal. It would also be helpful to set up your goal so you can reach it or at least attain some success along the way. If you have a huge life ambition, it may be helpful to set a smaller attainable goal on the path towards the grander goal so you can experience progress and keep momentum moving forward.

Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent something that you are willing and able to achieve.

Timely – All goals need a time frame for completion. Most of us are motivated by a deadline. Without a timeframe, it is easy to procrastinate.

Tangible – A goal will most likely be tangible if you answered all of the specific questions of who, what, when and why. A goal is more motivating when you can imagine experiencing it with one or all of your senses.

We can “Supercharge” our S.M.A.R.T. goals a couple of ways. The first way is to add emotion into our written goal. You can see this in the example goal written above. The goal should answer the question, how do I imagine myself feeling once my goal has been completed. When you add emotionality, you engage your limbic system, which is vitally important in our decision making process as well as influencing what we remember and what we choose to pay attention to. A great book on the role of our emotional system and the decision making process is “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehar. Another important component of the emotional portion of the goal is writing it in the present tense (by a certain date, I AM feeling….). Every time you read your goal, you will more likely experience your target emotion every time you read the “I am feeling” statement.

The next thing that you can do to “Supercharge” your goals is to review them every day. There are many ways of setting up your goals so you can review them daily. You can created a PowerPoint with all of your goals, you can write each goal on index cards, you could record each goal to an audio file on a voice recorder or smart phone or you can write each goal in a notebook. To help create a mental picture of your goal, it would be valuable to paste a picture next to your goal. For example, if you have a weight loss goal, it would be helpful to have a picture of the body type that you wish to create.

Have fun creating supercharged systematic, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, tangible and emotionally charged goals to help develop your roadmap of personal development.

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February 27, 2012

Forgiveness, it is within our Control

Many people view forgiveness as something that is important for another person to do for us. Many times we may hear ourselves and others request, “please forgive me” or state, “I can’t believe she will not forgive me”. The forgiveness of others is definitely not something that we can control. Although the forgiveness of others can help heal an aspect of a relationship, we can only control our own ability to forgive.

Forgiveness is an important habit /attribute for our own sense of wellbeing. Forgiveness allows us to “clear the slate” and let go of resentment and frustration. Forgiveness allows us to stop “holing on” to a perceived insult or injury.  Some people I know have stated that they are resistant to forgiving someone since they feel the act of forgiveness will encourage the other to continue engaging in wrongdoing. But forgiveness is for our own selves. It allows us to move on from a challenging situation. It allows us to dump the negative data set that we have been collecting and to change our emotional filter of continuing to gather data to reinforce our feelings of anger, resentment and contempt. Forgiveness is not forgetfulness. If someone has harmed us repeatedly in the past, we can forgive that person and let go of our emotional baggage while making the conscious decision of not letting that person hurt us again in the same way.

For example, there is one person that has been a part of my social circle for a long time. Many years ago, that person repeatedly spread gossip and rumors about me. Then, that person started rumors about other people that were close to me. Needless to say, this situation caused me a lot of anger, frustration and resentment. When I finally decided to forgive this person, my life got better. Now, when I run into this person, I no longer have a visceral emotional response. I am able to be cordial and no one in the room feels any tension. I do not actively seek out that person for validation or socialization nor have I forgotten this person’s tendency to spread rumors. What is important is that I have healed and I have moved on.

Resentment is a feeling that can cripple a relationship. Once we have started to resent someone, we typically hold onto the justification for that resentment. Forgiveness is the panacea for moving past our past resentments. Once we have forgiven that person, we can relive ourselves from the emotional baggage from that situation. This can help us objectively evaluate the situation or the relationship to determine if it continues to be beneficial to our personal interest.

Forgiveness can be valuable in situations where we know that we are the person that has made a mistake. If we know that we have made a mistake and that we are willing to do everything possible to move towards healing, forgiving ourselves can help us move forward. In this case, we can only hope that the other person can forgive us.