Goal Setting Tip of the Month: Inevitability Thinking

this month, i have a goal setting tip for you that pertains particularly to the goals that you find yourself struggling with.  this system works well for goals that you've failed at before or ones that you know you should do but not that you necessarily want to do.  [you know, like hitting the gym more.  ohh right that resolution you made last month... damn.] it's called inevitability thinking.

inevitably thinking just means another way of setting yourself up for success - what conditions you need to put in place to make it inevitable that you'll achieve your goal.

think of it this way: if you signed a contract with a gym that didn't require a monthly fee and instead charged you $100 for every workout that you missed, how many times do you think you'd miss a workout?  probably 0.  if you told your bossy sibling they could collect $40 from you every time you slept in past your alarm, how many times do you think you'd sleep in?  again, minimal times.  the pain of losing that money hurts a lot more than procrastinating a goal (for most people!)

sometimes goals are fun things like trying more new restaurants or going skydiving.  but if your goal is of the type that tends to get procrastinated - weight loss, saving money, career advancement, healthy eating - often the best way to actually get them done is to make it hurt a little if you don't.

it's sort of the opposite of a rewards system.  rewards don't always work, right?  sometimes you do the thing to get the reward and then never do the thing again.  i'm guilty of this.  give up fast food for a month so i can get the reward i set (a new purse or something) and then go right back to eating fast food the next month.  now, if fast food cost me double what i pay, i'd stop eating it.  so i told john that every time i get fast food, he gets to transfer at least double of what i spent on it into savings.  that's a huge hit that could mean no more eating out the rest of the month, no happy hour with the girls, etc.  it stings, and it makes me more likely to eat healthy than that one time high of getting the new purse.

so try it backwards.  no rewards. try this punishment version instead.  but we don't call it punishment, because that's negative.  we call it 'inevitably thinking.'  see what we did there?  now go, set you some goals!

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