I agree. I’m sick of reading these articles too. That’s precisely why I felt compelled to write this post. I’m not here to tell you whether resolutions are good, bad, angelic or satanic. In fact, this isn’t really a post about New Year’s at all. This is a post about progress. We are all, in some way, looking to take that next step in whatever area of our lives we’re looking to improve. Today, I want to give you the one change of perspective that will help you do this.
This is not an easy recipe of five simple steps. This is a change of mindset, and it will take time to sink in. This is not just an idea either, though. This has proven to work in my own life. By applying this mindset last year I was able to accomplish, among many others, the following things…
-Land my dream job
-Run my first marathon
-Publish a book
-Pay for an engagement ring with one payment
-Speak to millions of people all over the world about Jesus
I do not share this list to brag or toot my own horn. I share it to show you that this principle actually works. It has worked for me, and I believe it can work for you too. Are you ready? Let’s go.
A New Standard
Achieving your goals is as simple as making a “goal” your new standard for living. We all hold ourselves to certain standards. “I’m the type of person who…” “I’m not the type of person who would…” These standards we set for ourselves dictate the boundaries in which we live. Of course, every now and then, we have a moment of great inspiration or incredible genius and we perform above our average. But whether it’s our career, our relationships, our health, our finances, or our faith, we will spend 99% of our time living at the standard we set for ourselves.
The problem with goals for most people it that we view them as being above or beyond these standards. This gives us a great excuse to fall back onto when we quit. “Well, I’m just not a good runner,” said the person whose goal it was to run a marathon, but who set their standard at “not a good runner.”
But what if you made your “goal” the new standard?
For example, instead of saying, “My goal is to be able to run three miles without stopping.” What if that became your standard, and running anything below three miles meant you weren’t living up to your true potential? Yes, this does mean that you will spend a few weeks or months (depending on the size of the goal) feeling like you’re under achieving. But isn’t it much more motivating to tell yourself that you can do better, rather than you should or want to do better? When you make your goal the new standard, you go from hoping you’re capable to knowing you’re capable. And that is a powerful difference.
This doesn’t just work with running, this can work within every aspect of your life.
-Want to spend more time with God? Set your new standard at 15 minutes of Bible study every morning.
-Want to make more money? Set your new standard (not standard of living, please live within your means) for the amount of work and value you bring to your company.
-Want to write a book? Set and new standard and expect yourself to write 1,000 words a day.
Anything below this is lazy, under achieving, not living up to your true potential, whatever you need to tell yourself.
I’ve stopped setting goals. I’ve started setting new standards.
Every “expert” out there has their “quick tips” and “advice” for how to stick to and accomplish your goals. The reality though, is that the achievement of goals is a highly personal process that is mostly dependent on our personal psychology. What proves to motivate you, may frighten me and render me inactive and visa versa. I’m not saying that all goal setting tips are worthless, but we do have to take them with a grain of salt and realize that some will work for us and some won’t. In all humility, my advice here is no different. Changing your mindset and setting a “goal” as your new standard will work for some of you and it will cripple others. But please, don’t assume whether your reaction will be one way or the other until you try it. If you try and it works, then you’ve won. If you try it and it doesn’t work, then you’ve found one more thing that doesn’t work, which means you’re one step closer to winning. The only way to lose in this scenario is to not try at all.
So give it a shot over these first couple months of the year. Change your perspective, set a new standard, and if you remember to, come back to this post and comment on how it worked for you. I would love to hear it.