Ask any self-help practitioner, life coach, or lifestyle guru, and all will tell you that goal setting is a key component of achieving the life you want. Setting goals and committing to achieving them will also help you find your purpose and turn your dreams into reality. When you know where you want to go, you can create a roadmap to get there.
Of all the things that are needed to achieve big and small goals, mindset is possibly the most crucial. Here, we’ll examine how important the connection between mindset and goal achievement and explore ways you can make the shift to get closer to your goals.
What the Research Says
The topic of mindset as it relates to achieving short-term and long-term goals has been studied for decades. Researchers long to know what most motivates us and if these motivations can be tweaked to get the results we want. Our innermost desires are there, but it is our mindset that determines how passionately we pursue these goals. While most research into this subject centers on nature versus nurture, researchers have been trying to determine if our innate mindset can be changed, and, if so, how easily.
Experts indicate that human desires begin in the subconscious mind, with the human brain continually seeking high-level and low-level goals. While most people believe they don’t have control over their subconscious mind, this is not true. The subconscious can be influenced by the conscious mind. The key is learning how to feed your conscious mind the right information. On the surface, this may seem like far-fetched pseudoscience, but in 2007, Yale researchers revealed that we can prime our conscious minds in such a way that our subconscious is influenced, both positively and negatively. Essentially, what you continually feed your conscious mind will impact your innate motivation to reach your goals.
The Mindset-Achievement Connection
As stated, the key to achieving your goals is to work on your conscious thoughts so that your subconscious thoughts are impacted. How do we do this? The first step is to set goals. However, setting goals involves more than just jotting down a few things you want and hoping things happen. Your goals must be SMART, which is a mnemonic acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive.
Breaking your goals down using the SMART method not only helps you understand all the details, but it will force your brain to go into problem-solving mode. Giving your goals a deadline (the T in SMART) will help you understand how much time must be invested to reach your goal as well as how long it will likely take until the goal is completed. Depending on your internal motivations, a sense of urgency may be just what you need to get focused on and push toward your goals. For others, different parts of the SMART framework may resonate more. However, each component works together, so it’s imperative to complete each one when establishing your goals.
Working on your SMART goals will reveal a lot about what drives you and why you want the things you want out of life. SMART goals directly impact your mindset and challenge your current reality. Many people find their assumptions challenged, and SMART goals help them reveal things about their true desires and how much they are willing to do to achieve them. Any goal that is not broken down in this way is nothing more than a wish.
Changing Your Mindset: Where to Begin
SMART goals are an amazing tool for narrowing down what you really want and seeing exactly what you need to do to get there. However, motivation comes from changing your mindset. Many people are influenced by their families, colleagues, and even neighbors, which leads people to want things or experiences that do not truly resonate with them. When you start setting goals, always ask yourself, “Is this what I want, or is this what others think I should want?”
Our choices are, to varying degrees, influenced by what we are used to seeing. For example, if you live in a neighborhood where most people drive luxury cars, subconsciously, you may believe that is what you want too. You may want that luxury vehicle, but it is equally possible that it has been impressed into your subconscious by continually seeing it in your surroundings. Meditating on your goals can help you gain clarity and understand the goals you want to achieve and why.
Once you are sure that you are committed to your goals based on what you desire, it’s time to get specific. There are four general categories for goals: career, finance, spirituality, and relationships.
While you might feel you only need to focus on one area, it’s a good idea to write at least one goal for each category. There is always some room for improvement, and taking some time to examine each area may reveal things that you have overlooked. Always include one small goal that is relatively easy to achieve as the success will strengthen your subconscious mind. Additionally, adding one or more larger goals will help you set smaller milestones along the way that also impact your subconscious.
Commit to Yourself
Changing your mindset is not easy, but it can be done with daily action. Start small and continue to review your small and large goals to have a greater impact on your mindset. Meditate and take note of the answers you receive, using this information to tweak things as needed. Committing to change your mindset can be viewed as a commitment to yourself that inspires lasting change.