The setting and achieving of goals is obviously a central part of Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy. Many of our blogs and podcasts and newsletter ideas are designed to help you do so.
Your chances of persisting and achieving goals are most likely to take place when the goals are both realistic and a reflective of a high degree of motivation. Mix in a positive “can do” attitude, and you’re almost there.
There is one more thing that you can do to increase chances of goal-attainment; and that is to build in accountability.
One of the best ways of building in accountability is to look to your support system, and make others aware of your plans. Whether you are talking about making a job change, getting involved with others, going on a diet, starting an exercise program, or doing some other self-improvement activity, let some supportive friends or family members know about it.
There’s a bit of a trick to enlisting a support system to help you change. You run the risk of being undermined if you share too much with someone who tends to be unhappy, critical, an inactive “couch potato”, or someone who is threatened by how your change may affect him or her.
Rather, share your goals and your ideas for changing with people who are comfortable being supportive and will be genuinely happy to see you succeed. If the person has successfully negotiated the same challenge (e.g., losing weight, making a mid-life career change), that could be an added bonus.
Be as concrete as possible in asking for their support. Let them know the specific behaviors that you are implementing in pursuit of your goal – e.g., avoiding desserts or filing 10 new job applications a week. Knowing these types of specifics enables your support system members to remind you of them, ask how your doing, and complement your progress.
Nobody else should own your goals, and nobody else should have more of a vested interest in your progressing toward them than you do. But a good support system can help you to be accountable as well as being a cheerleader that shares in the process and accomplishments on your way to achieving your goals.