“If it was easy, everyone would do it”. That’s the mantra I would repeat to myself on high rotation, at kilometre thirty-four, as I hit the psychological half-way point of a marathon.
I wouldn’t describe running marathons in middle-age as easy, but once I learned to break the task down into its constituent parts and approach each part strategically, a goal that had once seemed fanciful was now firmly attainable.
Resolutions and goals can fall on fallow ground when they are approached with buckets of motivation, but little strategic thinking. Before we even begin to chart a course to the realisation of a personal or professional goal, we can save ourselves frustration and disappointment by making sure that it is the right goal to begin with.
Using a tool such as SMART Goals, we can ask ourselves if the proposed goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely, and begin to flesh out these conversations for ourselves. Once we know exactly what our goal is, and have determined that it meets these criteria, within a desired timeframe, we are in a stronger position to start planning.
A Single Step and the ARVA Process
Simply modifying our behaviour may provide a short-term illusion of change, but to create lasting transformation in our lives we need to understand the enduring narratives and belief systems that direct our behaviour and work desperately to ‘keep us in our place’.
A Single step’s ARVA framework, helps clients to realise their goals through a process of Acknowledgement, Responsibility, Vision and Action:
- Acknowledgement: When we understand the central role of our thoughts, we observe judgements and beliefs from a distance, as they begin to lose their hold and we become open to change
- Responsibility: We shift our focus from the words, judgements and actions of others, to the things we have control over: Our own thoughts and the actions they promote
- Vision: As we become increasingly unburdened by unhelpful narratives and beliefs, we are free to consider what is truly important to us and forge a new vision for our lives
- Action: Visions are transformed into reality by solid goals and a commitment to the actions that will carry them forward
Whatever the goal we are contemplating, when we get real about the thinking that may be holding us back from achieving it, we become free to articulate a new vision for our lives, our careers and our relationships, and make conscious choices about the actions we will take to realise that vision.