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Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

marshmallow test

“Just one more bite.”

“I need to get to the next level.”

“Sure, I will have another.”

“I just need to vent.”

These are just a few examples of that voice inside our heads that takes us from moderation and a healthy place to unhealthy behaviors leading to negative consequences.  We all, in some aspect of our life, deal with self-control issues.  It’s part of being human.

Discipline and denial lead to great things in life.”  – The life insurance sales legend, John Savage so eloquently advises on a complicated issue.  How can we obtain such a state of existence?  What is easy to do, is often as easy not to do!

The prefrontal cortex of a human’s brain (where self-control is based) is quite a bit larger in humans than in other mammals.  This means we are born with the ability to plan and even find ways avoid mistakes and solve problems. Of course, just like any other ability – some people have to work harder than others to achieve results or find ease in mastering one area of their life over another.

I remember hearing about “The Marshmallow Test” that came about in the 1970’s.  Psychologist Walter Mischel left children alone in a room with one marshmallow.  He told them that if they did not eat the marshmallow, they could have two later.  The kids who were willing to wait for the second marshmallow (delayed gratification) were followed throughout their lives and showed numerous positive life outcomes compared to the ones who could not wait and ate the first marshmallow.  We are not all born with an overabundance of self-control.

Here are seven strategies that you can use to help with your self-control issues:

  1. Be aware of your triggers and avoid them. Listen for that voice in your head and know your emotional trigger. You can train yourself to “flip the switch” by having a planned ahead of time as to your reaction when these things happen.  If your temptation is to take that extra bite, have an awareness of your trigger, (your automatic thought) and re-frame it. In other words, as you hear the trigger, you now say, “No thank you, I have had enough”.  Tempted to say something you should not, learn the trigger, it might sound something like, “they need to feel this” or “I probably shouldn’t say anything but…” Change that unproductive thought to, “Is this battle really that important?”
  2. Let go of control! It may seem like a contradiction but letting go of control of others can be a very healing exercise for you.  Being too controlling of others or situations is not healthy.  Relinquishing some of those controls can be vital for you and the other people involved.  Start out small – this cannot be solved overnight.  It will take a conscious effort on your part. Once again, the automated thought might sound something like, “I can do it better if I do it myself” or “They will screw it up”. Change that thought to, “It’s important I let them learn (or fail
  3. Understand your EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Truly get to know yourself.  Start to gain awareness of the impact of your words, actions and behaviors and the impact they have on others.  Ask questions of the people around you, even if you don’t want to hear the answers.  Once you are aware of your impact, you can begin to be able to respond appropriately.  Emotional Intelligence is listening to understand versus listening to respond.  Once you take time to understand the situation or the emotions, you can find the right response, leading to problem solving and relationship building.
  4. Create a plan. So, now you have self-awareness, but today you ate that extra bite, spent too much time on video games or crossed that line with a co-worker.  Everyone has a bad day.  Do not let one small setback ruin your whole plan.  Get back on the track, do not beat yourself up. In interpersonal relationships, recognize when you do need to take ownership and apologize.
  5. Learn to say NO. For some people this comes easy, but for others who have been trained from a young age to be compliant, it is very difficult to say no, even to the smallest requests.  Start by saying no to small requests from people.  There is no reason to explain or apologize – just say no.  You will realize that having this ability to say no is very freeing and reduces a lot of stress in your life once you truly learn how to do it. If no is not easy for you, practice saying things like, “Let me get back to you”, “Or, “Hmm, interesting, let me think about it” or “thank you, I have had enough”.
  6. Get an accountability partner. We all know that accountability drives results. Find someone you can trust and be open and vulnerable with and count on to help you versus judge you. This can be a friend, family member, or co-worker.  It might be someone with the same issues or goals. You will be able to help each other by communicating things that you might be struggling with.  It’s always nice to have someone in your corner.  An accountability partner will be sure to tell you what you need to hear, versus what you want to hear.
  7. Build your willpower. Knowing your “Why” versus simply focusing on the how, will be your guide.  Being mindful of why you want to do something is much more helpful when working towards a goal.  This will help to build up your willpower and have the courage to slowdown and stop unhealthy behaviors.  Many people say they want to lose weight, but often fail, but if an important event like a wedding or class reunion comes up, watch those pounds fall.  For me, it was the doctor trying to put me on medication that changed my eating habits.  Willpower means feeding your mind like you would your body!  Keep positive affirmations and people around you.  Knowing your why helps you see in pictures what can be.  This will help you stay emotionally attached to your goals.

In summary, self-control is a complicated issue. Decide ahead of time what your goal and strategy will be.  Write your plan down and refer to it often.  You could even strategically place signs around your house, to remind you of your goals. Never be afraid to get outside help such as counselling.

Life is short.  Start doing the things you want to do and being the person, you want to be now! Don’t wait for New Years Day for your resolutions, make it today.

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Look at your goal for this year. Divide that number by the number of months you have left in the year. Example, If my goal is $100,000 July to December in revenue, then I divide that by 5, I have to generate 20K per month.  Then, outline your prospecting list and identify where you might find this.

You can do so much more if you know and are tracking your ratios.  Consider call to close, proposal to business and you can in some businesses break it down to a daily goal based on the actual number of working days.  Be organized about your prospecting. In other words, Plan your work and then work your plan.

Get some systems in place!  I recommend you look at the calendars offered by Sales Activity Management at SalesActivityManagement.com.   While they market to the insurance industry, they have calendars for everyone. It was this firm that taught me the difference between a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) Goal and SAMMY Goals. But we all know, if the “why” is missing in SMART.  You will not reach the goal unless you also make your goals SAMMY (Specific, Actionable, Measurable, Motivational and Yours ) style!  If they are not your goals, they are simply an expectation people place on you.

Check back soon for more sales tips!

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