You Got This!
My daughter recently took a college class called "Psychology of Motivation." Sounds amazing, right!?!? She called me a couple of weeks ago as she was studying for finals and said, "We've been talking about goal setting and I immediately thought of you!" Well, hot damn! If I'm known for anything in life, being a goal-setter (or even better, a goal-crusher!) is pretty awesome!
As passionate as I am about goal setting, I learned something new from my daughter during that conversation. In talking about goal setting, she mentioned the terms "dwelling," "indulging," and "mental contrasting." Intrigued? I sure was! Let me explain.
Simply put, mental contrasting is a method of boosting our energy and devotion for goals that we wish to accomplish. Basically, it helps us turn our hopes and dreams into realities.
So many of us either just dream about a desired future ("indulging") or think about negative aspects of our current reality ("dwelling"). Pondering only one of these extremes tends to only produce moderate gains in reaching our goals. However, if we imagine both the desired future and then also think about our not-so-great current reality ("mental contrasting"), we see our present reality for what it is-a roadblock to our desired future. It reminds us, then, that the obstacles in our way need to be acknowledged, stared down, and dealt with.
So how do we go about this idea of mental contrasting? First, we imagine, talk/ write about out where we want to be in the future and what goals we want to accomplish. Then, we imagine, talk/write about obstacles that are in our way. This allows us to make a plan for kicking these obstacles to the curb and ultimately meeting our goals.
Bottom line, we need to identify where we want to be AND where we currently are. When we link the two ideas together, we realize that there is something in our current reality that is standing in the way of where we want to be. Mental contrasting helps us to identify what those obstacles are so we can clear the way to meeting our goals.
Let me give you an example. Seven years ago, I weighed almost 200 pounds. I was disappointed, overwhelmed, lost, and angry that my weight had gotten so out of control. I felt completely helpless. But, I had a clear vision of where I wanted to be. I needed to figure out what I was currently doing that was standing in the way of where I wanted to be. Simply put-I did not pay attention to what I was eating, and I didn't move my body enough. I needed to cut calories, make better food choices, and make it a priority to get out and move my body. While it's easy enough to identify the obstacles, doing things differently to remove those obstacles is the hard part! Through diet changes and lots of exercise, I recently met the weight goal I had set so many years ago. I know my weight will always be a fighting battle, but every day I face the battle, I learn a little bit more about what it takes to be victorious.
Thinking ahead--where do you want to be a month from now? A year from now? Think about it, talk about it, write about it, dream about it. Then face down your current reality. What are you doing NOW that is standing in the way of your dream? Face down those obstacles with all of your might-you got this!
And I'll help you!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a healthy, happy, peaceful, and joyous new year!