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A New Take on Midlife Goal Setting

September '14

Goal setting brings you many benefits. It helps you focus on what you want; it enables you to use your time well, and it propels you toward a desired outcome. As you probably know, your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (SMART) to be effective.

Setting potent goals is such a critical skill for gaining midlife momentum that my journaling eCourse features a week called, Use the Magic Goal-Setting Formula. In this class, nine prompts taken from the field of neurolinguistic programming guide you step-by-step through the process of setting a truly powerful goal for yourself.

With this emphasis on goal setting, you can imagine my excitement when I recently came across a new piece of advice for reaching your desired outcomes. This one focuses on the journey toward your goal rather than the process of constructing it. I found this dictum both fascinating and practical. Based on neuroscience, it suggests that if you adopt a “to-go” strategy, rather than a “to-date” strategy, you will be more successful.

Mrim Boutla, who describes herself as a recovering neuroscientist, expands on this concept, “Studies from Professor Fishbach at the University of Chicago showed that people who tend to focus on what they have left to do (to-go thinking) to achieve their goals are more likely to reach their goals than people who focus on what they have already accomplished (to-date thinking).”

For example, if you reach mile 20 when running a marathon you’ll probably reach the finish line faster if you bring your attention to the six miles remaining rather than focusing your attention on the twenty miles you just traveled.

Or, on a more mundane level, after breathing a sigh of satisfaction when checking off completed items on your to-do list (nothing wrong with celebrating), be sure to bring your attention to the items still remaining. According to Fishbach you’ll be more likely to complete them.

This strategy seems so wonderfully simple to implement, I plan to give it a try. How about you? Do let me know if you give it a shot, or if you already use it.

Happy Fall!

Bonnie

 

 

 

 

 

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