Start Where You Are Planted
It is extremely important to have the right mind-set going into the goal setting process. All the tools and techniques for goal setting will not work if you don't have the right mind-set.
Believing in yourself and your ability to fulfill your potential will get you on the path to creating the right mind-set.
You might feel you are at a stage in your life with your current skill sets, experience, and circumstances that does not offer much hope in pursuing all your aspirations. However, with the right mind-set, you can start exactly where you are today and flourish.
Start Where You Are
Let Go of What Is Not in Your Control
As we go through life, we face situations outside of our control. We might not be able to change or undo some of the events that occur in our lives. These circumstances often bring frustration, stress, and anxiety. In these situations we should strive to figure out what we can control and start there, letting go of the things that we cannot control.
Don't Limit Yourself
In Start Where You Are (New York: HarperCollins, 2009, p. 37), Chris Gardner makes a strong case for not placing a limitation on ourselves due to a perceived lack of resources or skills. Often, the challenge of not having experience in a particular area or the loftiness of a goal can make us feel limited. However, with enough conviction, most goals can be accomplished.
Develop the Right Mind-set
The idea of the importance of having a strong sense of belief in one's own self was introduced by the psychologist Albert Bandura using the self-efficacy theory. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-efficacy), Bandura defined self-efficacy as having a belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations.
One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. According to Bandura's theory, people with high self-efficacy are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.
Thus, self-efficacy has a direct correlation to the types of goals and the standards people set. The higher a person's self-efficacy, the higher the personal standards he or she will set.
But, how does one develop self-efficacy? The good news about self-efficacy is that it's not something you are born with. You can cultivate it by a developing a strong resolve to achieve your goals. Don't shrink from trying again and again until you get it right when dealing with an insurmountable task.
Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch in Creating Your Best Life (New York: Sterling, 2009, p. 25) recommend the following strategies to develop one's self-efficacy.
- Have a peer role model.
- Have the right kind of cheerleader.
- Handle stress better.
- Have small "wins."
In the following section, let's look at why these strategies are important and how to execute them.
Have a Peer Role Model
Those who attain their goals often read biographies of successful people and consider them as role models. However, it can be even better to look at someone you know who has overcome barriers, crossed boundaries, and set the bar high. The more you can relate to the person, the more helpful he or she can be as a role model. Because, you know someone who has blazed the trail before, you can follow suit.
Have the Right Kind of Cheerleader
Find someone who believes in you and someone you can confide in. The right kind of cheerleader will:
- Help you increase your self-confidence.
- Encourage you to take risks that you would not normally take.
The wrong kind of cheerleader will:
- Discourage you from going outside your comfort zone.
- Tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear.
Handle Stress Better
People who don't have high self-efficacy allow circumstances and external events to keep them from doing their best. In order to persevere with your goals and do the best you can, it is important to learn how to manage the stress that comes from unforeseen events.Practice stress-relieving exercises, take breaks when needed, and learn what you can and cannot control
Have Small "Wins"
This is the most important technique to build self-efficacy and it is also the simplest. Break your goals, no matter how difficult they seem, into smaller measurable and attainable objectives.It is always easier to look at the next step in the process than to overwhelm yourself with the final objective. Gaining mastery over the actions that allow you to attain these small "wins" will give you a lot of confidence and build your self-efficacy.