goals

Goal Setting & Achieving for Leaders & Executives – .Setting Goals is tough

Have you seen this meme?!?

It cracked me up the first time I saw it and likely every time since. The one that says “ Not only did I fall off the diet wagon, I dragged it into the woods, set it on fire & used the insurance money to buy cupcakes” Now before my insurance broker has a heart attack, I want to assure him that I did not set that fire! There is a possibility however, that I bought some cupcakes. But enough about my goals! What’s my point? The point is a new goal requires change.

To be clear, accomplishing a new goal pretty much requires that we need to make a change specifically to our behaviour. Changing behaviour usually means there is some habit that we need to change. Small or massive, changing a behaviour we have been doing for a while to reach a new goal can be tough. I think everyone can relate to having a goal they never quite accomplished. Even the tireless businessperson who seems to set and demolish goals before breakfast. So why is it that some goals are easy and some are so tough? Well for starters, your brain is lazy. Yes, I said it. Your brain is actually built to resist change. That may seem silly, but habits use a lot less energy so naturally your brain would rather stick to what it doesn’t have to work at thinking about.

Why the Heck is this So Hard?!?

Aside from being lazy, its about what makes habits so strong. Have you ever tried to bribe a toddler that is convinced they will receive one thing, into accepting something different? Well that hysterical resistance is just our nature at its core. Habits are created by a cue, followed by an action that receives a reward. That reward basically creates a chemical reaction in your brain that is addictive. Your brain very much likes the reward and says “Hey, lets do that again!” By the time it’s a habit, you’re addicted to the reward. The result is that every time your brain receives the cue, it repeats the behaviour with enthusiasm knowing that the reward is coming.

And since accomplishing a new goal pretty much requires that we need to make a change to our behaviour, that new reward for new behaviour had better be impressive to trick your mind into believing this change is worth it. So, what does this tell you about your why?

If your new reward isn’t impressive, your why better be pretty important to you, otherwise that lazy brain of yours is going to win.

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