We can all achieve our goals if we know how to use the built-in power of our brains.

Being an effective leader means you most likely have a clear vision for where you are going and the ability to inspire a team to come with you, this is great, but, it’s not enough.

To have an impact and create results we must cultivate perseverance and grit, to turn those abstract ideas into actions.

Before we dive into how to achieve your goals, let’s talk about the brain. We now know the mind blowing ability of our brains to adapt and change, this ability is called neural plasticity. This concept is important to goal setting because, to reach the goals we often have to change the way we think, before we can change our behaviours.

There is, however, a slight kink when it comes to our ability to change. We are biologically pre-dispositioned to resist change. We have an internal regulating system that sets off an alarm when a change has been detected. This pull to go back to a “stable” state was designed to keep us safe, but it makes creating long-lasting change quite challenging.

George Leonard does a great job describing this in his book called Mastery. In the context of goals, we can use this understanding to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable, in our journey to go places we haven’t been before.

Use these five-steps to leverage the built-in power of your brain and begin to thrive in the uncomfort, forcing a new ‘normal.’

Five Steps On How To Achieve Your Goals

Step 1 – Identify the gap

Where are you today and where do you want to go?

The important thing to focus on in this step is not the destination, but the distance from point A to point B.

The reason we are not focusing solely on the destination is because we are preparing ourselves for the journey.

Gabriele Oettingen shares in her book Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the new science of motivation that when we contrast our wish (our goal) with the obstacles we are likely to face, we activate a fire inside of us that supports our performance.

Without doing this step, we are simply dreaming, and that can have a negative effect on our performance.

Gut check question:

“What is stopping me from having this goal today?”

Step 2 – Get clear on your predictable default future

What would happen if you did not make this change?

In this step, we need to get clear on what the future would look like if we did not take action. When we get clear on what our predictable default future is, we’re instantly armed with our deepest WHY and ammunition to push through any resistance.

Gut check question:

“What’s the #1 benefit I will experience as the result of taking this on?”

Step 3 – Embrace a growth mindset

Your potential for learning and growth lives within your mindset.

The research on this topic is fascinating. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset explores the difference between people who have a fixed mindset about their capabilities and talents vs. those who embrace a growth mindset.

People who embrace a growth mindset, believe that they have the ability to create change and build competency. They don’t buy into the idea that they have inborn limitations. They instead lean on practice and effort to create new neural networks, that lead to behaviour change, which in turn, builds strengths and competencies in areas that were not previously strengths.

Hint – the growth mindset is the key that will unlock your goal crushing potential.

Gut check question:

“What stories do I have around my abilities to achieve this goal?”

Step 4 – Create micro wins

As Doe Zantam said “You can’t do it all today, but you can do it. Big goals can only be reached by patience, persistence and actions in their direction a little more, every single day”

Chunking down your goal is important to stay motivated. It also prevents becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.

Think of it this way, When a baby is first born, we don’t expect it to start running right away, although self-independence is the final and natural goal. Naturally growth it’s chunked down. First, the baby lifts its head – we celebrate, next the baby rolls over – we celebrate, soon the baby starts to crawl – we celebrate and not too long after, the baby begins to walk – we celebrate (or learn to quickly run behind the baby).

When we map out and tackle the next obvious step on our road to our end goal, we can see wins right away and build momentum!

Gut check question:

“What are the milestones along the way for me to reach my end goal?”

Step 5 – Celebrate!

Celebrate every win! It’s truly a beautiful place when we can take a moment to soak up our achievements. They fill up our gas tank and provide further motivation and confidence for future achievements.

Each time you create a goal or micro win, fit into your plan a way to celebrate that achievement.

When we gain knowledge around the power of the brain and translate that knowledge into action, we achieve self-actualization around our designed human potential.

By following these five steps you will start to see achievement all around you, creating amplified momentum to chase bigger and more integrated goals. To support these five-steps be sure to download the Whole Life Leadership Blueprint to map out how to achieve your deeply meaningful values-driven goals.

Here’s to achieving your goals!

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