• Camilla Krefting

How to achieve our goals by changing our view

Brands pay lots of money to supermarkets for having their goods stocked at eye level. Why do you think this is?

Research has shown that displaying goods at eye level in a supermarket will increase their sales. We may think that we are not susceptible to these obvious marketing techniques but in reality we most certainly are.

The same applies to your work, we might think that we have all the knowledge. In reality we can be so focussed on the short term it is hard to see the right path to our end goal.

Here are three ways in which we can change our perception to help achieve our goals as established in Clearer, Closer, Better by Emily Balcetis.

1. Start by broadening your focus

When first setting a goal you want to have a broad focus. Firstly, when we broaden our focus we think about all the possibilities and all the ways things can go wrong.

It is important to do this because only making short term decisions in the beginning of your project can lead to disasters later on. Secondly, it allows us to realise when to let go.

Imagine starting a flower company and you are renting your first office space. The building offers you a cheaper loan but you are tied into a three year contract. The other option is paying slightly more but having the choice to end your lease every month. If we would think short term it would be great to pay less.

In this case it’s better to broaden our focus and think of the long term. What if I am doing well and want a bigger office? What if I’m not doing well and I need to get out of my lease? When starting it’s best to broaden your focus and think about all the different outcomes.

2. Then, narrow your focus

We must focus on achieving aspects of our goal rather than doing everything at once. By narrowing our focus we are less overwhelmed and our end goal seems more manageable.

So let’s think back to your start-up. A long term goal may be to be the biggest florist in your industry. This may seem quite overwhelming. A good way to tackle this is to first look at smaller companies and try to gain more customers than them. Every time you achieve that look at a bigger company until you are the biggest. By focussing on smaller goals the end goal seems less daunting and more achievable.

3. Break your goals down

We break down our goals at home all the time. When going on a camping trip it would be obvious to plan what to take. To pack your tent and sleeping bag.

So why at work do we forget to plan how to reach our goals? When setting out on a journey preparation is key. We need to determine which steps are necessary to take.

A UCLA study found that university students that visualised the steps they needed to take to prepare for the exam got better results than those who did not.

In any project, there will be mistakes made along the way. When breaking down your goals allow yourself the time to reflect and learn from these mistakes. The end result will ultimately be better.

Our views are usually limited. Using the ideas of Emily Balcetis to know when to adjust your focus can lead to success. If you would like to learn more about goal setting or have any reflections on this book, please get in touch.

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