Friday, February 10, 2017

The Science of Goals - Part 1 - The Win-Cycle

It's February.  Know what that means?  Depending on what part of the country you live in, it may mean different things.  Here in Oklahoma, we're looking at an 85-degree Saturday.  My sister-in-law, who lives in Massachusettes is under a foot of snow that fell yesterday.  But, weather aside, one universal truth about February is that most of us have begun trailing off from the goals we set to begin the year.  You may have called them goals.  You may have called them resolutions.  Whatever the name you used, you had high hopes for some big changes this year.  If you're feeling disappointed or stuck on your goals, this post and next week's are for you.

Today let's talk about creating a win-cycle with your goals.  I'll use a football analogy to illustrate.  Every football team has a starting quarterback and they have at least one backup.  When the starter gets hurt and the backup has to come in cold and unexpectedly, what do the announcers inevitably talk about and what do most offensive coordinators do? They create a win-cycle for that backup quarterback.  They may not call it that, but here's what it looks like.  They will, intentionally, call plays for the backup that are easy to have success with - quick hand-off, a screen pass or a short quick pass.  Do they call these plays because they think they'll score?  No.  They call them so the new guy can run a few successful plays, get some "wins" under his belt and play the rest of the game with confidence.

You should approach your goals the same way, especially if you're not accustomed to setting and achieving them.  I'll use the easy example of weight loss because that seems to be on almost everyone's list.  You can list the same goal two ways.  One way is, "I'll lose 25 pounds in 2017."  It's a good goal.  It's attainable.  It's measurable.  It meets all the criteria.  But, what does it do to your psyche when it's February 10 and you've lost 2 or 3 pounds?  It feels like you've been at it forever and you're only 8-12% to your goal. It doesn't feel like you're winning and you lose motivation fast.  What if you stated and measured the goal differently?  What if you said, "I'll lose 2 pounds per month for all of 2017"?  It's the same goal (within a pound), but this way, being down 2-3 pounds Feb 10 has you right on track.  The win cycle can be measured every month - even every week - instead of just at the end of the year. In the first scenario, your confidence takes a dive 6-8 weeks into it. In the second scenario, your confidence grows as long as you're making slow and steady progress.

I was coaching with a client about a month ago and I introduced this idea of the win-cycle to him.  He was able to break his big goals down into smaller pieces.  I could see the light come on in his eyes when he realized he could build up or tear down his own confidence, seeing the very same results.  The only difference is how he declared and measured the goals.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you accomplish big goals?  One bite at a time.  Let me encourage you, today, to revisit those goals.  Don't give up on them.  Re-engineer them so you experience a regular win cycle.  

I hope this is helpful and encouraging to you today.  Next week I will tell you why it's a big WIN for you to accomplish a relatively low % of your goals.  I'm looking forward to sharing this with you!  In the meantime, please share with me how you've re-written your goals to create a win-cycle for yourself!

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