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Why You Should Set Light Pole Goals

light pole goals

I’ve always been intrigued by human behavior.  

Why is it that some people are successful and others are not?  What do people who find and maintain success have in common? I knew there is a strong connection between their day to day habits and the success that follows. 

In fact, I know it is not just ONE thing, but a multitude of factors that separate those who get stuck along their journey and those that never do.

As a coach, I am constantly digging into this question to help each of my clients be more successful.

Goal creation

When we want something, we create a goal. The imagery of a finish line comes to mind when I think of a “goal.” In fact, that is just what it is. It is recognizing that we are at the start of a race or journey and on a mission to get to the end as fast as possible.

I grew up being told to focus on my goals. If you want to be successful, you must have a goal.  In business, the pressure is on even more constant. I can see and feel what I want, but I often feel so overwhelmed about how to get there that I just want to quit.  

The sinking feeling of being “stuck” thinking about where I am and what it will be like to finally get “there” (wherever “there” really is).

Why focusing on the finish line isn’t the best approach

Here is the irony — when we focus on only one main goal, we actually do ourselves a disservice. Research shows that when we keep creating imagery and intention towards the finish line only that our brain actually releases dopamine to certain parts of the brain.  

What is dopamine? Dopamine is the chemical messenger that makes us happy, it tells us we’ve accomplished something and makes us feel good.

But wait…Have we even accomplished that actual goal yet?

This is where the big teachable moment steps in.

What I am telling you is that when we think about only where we want to go, the finish line, the body actually makes us feel as though we ’ve already accomplished that goal and congratulates us before we even get there.  

Isn’t that a good thing? Well… kind of.

Sometimes, if we don’t have that continued “happy braindance” it becomes a false sense of accomplishment. We lose motivation, we start to forget our “why” and we get frustrated and lose hope.

So how can we correct this?

By spending less time focusing on the start and finish lines, and more time focusing on the journey — the middle!

In fact, in a study done by Vanderbilt University, they looked into the chemical messengers present in the brain between a group of “successful” individuals and a group of “slackers,” (this made me chuckle). What they found was phenomenal. The successful and motivated group had a much higher presence of dopamine in the area of the brain impacting motivation and the “go-getter” spirit.

If you are ready to kick-start your goal setting and your health journey, click here for my FREE 7 Day Challenge to help you start feeling amazing…naked.

Light pole goals

When I first began running, I sucked at it! Like, I could barely run a mile. Not being able to run a whole mile made me want to just quit. It felt miserable, and I felt like I looked like an elephant trying to be graceful.

When I would head out for a run, I would start thinking about what the end of the run would look and feel like for me. Often times though, I found myself less motivated the more I thought about the end.

It wasn’t until I was out for a run one day with my dad and he shifted my thinking. As I began to slow down and he could sense my desire to quit, he said; “Amanda, just look at the next light pole. Run to that one and then find the next.”

And I did (because parents are just always right).

In fact, I did that from there on out when I went running. I kept looking for each light pole that helped me feel accomplished. Because of that, I never even thought about the finish. The end even crept up on me and I would end up almost surprised at how easy it actually was. Each light pole seemed to re-energize my mind, my body, and it reaffirmed to me that I could do it!

What are light pole goals?

It’s actually easier to focus on the end than the middle. I think that’s why so many of us do it.  The middle is messy and doesn’t always have a clear path to the end. So we avoid it and decide to just “wing it.”

The reality is though, that we need to set more light pole goals to be successful on our journey.  We have to set small milestones to lead to big ones because each success is an affirmation of a much bigger picture.

Think of these light pole goals examples:

  • The boy scouts award a patch for each success before the big promotion to the next level.  
  • A baby learns a new word or two each week or month before they speak in sentences.
  • You declutter one room of your house each week, and before you know it, the whole house has been decluttered.
  • You lose one pound, and it gets you one step closer to your happy weight.

Each small passing of a light pole goal creates that little rush of dopamine that encourages us to continue on the path we are after. It’s a small bit of added sweet sauce that we can actually get what we want!  Hello…our bodies are actually wired for success.

The brain wants you to crush your goals and live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

Overcome stagnation

We often have our own misunderstandings of plateaus. We get to places where we feel stagnant because we are confused on how to get to the finish line.

To overcome the feeling of stagnation, the most simple thing you can do is think about the next light pole.

If you are on a mission to lose 25 pounds and are feeling stuck, set one intention for that week that is going to help get you there. Perhaps it is something as simple as grocery shopping, creating a dinner plan, incorporating one more serving of veggies in dinner, or moving your body for three days a week. At the end of the week, you can pass that light pole with confidence and move to your next. Ten light poles later and you’ll notice that you are closer to the finish line.

Breaking down information into manageable chunks is crucial to survival and success.

And this is exactly what we are doing in the FREE 7 Day challenge to start feeling amazing…naked!  Click HERE to join!

Keep it quiet

The other reason some people kick A$$ and some don’t is because they share too much. A study was done in 2009 actually shows that when we keep our goals to ourselves, we are far more successful.

When you set both finish line and light pole goals, keep them in that pretty little head of yours.

Unless of course you thrive sharing on social media and it creates a greater sense of accountability.  Figure out what works for you best through trial and error.

In the end, what makes a person successful?

A person’s ability to keep surpassing light pole goals instead of putting all their energy into the finish line makes them successful.

Steve Jobs did not build the iMac of today without creating small tasks and light pole goals along the way.

Oprah did not build her empire overnight, but rather in small steps over years and years.

Our children do not shoot into adulthood without small spurts of learning along with their journey.

It is unreasonable to expect ourselves to get to a finish line without looking out for small light poles that will continually propel our energy forward.

No success comes without taking small steps and building small pieces to create a much bigger end product. Small steps create major miracles.

Our bodies were created to create constant positive energy and momentum in ourselves. However, many factors have influenced that natural design.

We are often derailed by fast-paced culture, comparison, and a lack of focus on health.

You must continue to create long-term goals for yourself but never overlook the importance of passing each lightpole along your way!

What are some light pole goals you can set for yourself?

 

We’d love to have you join our FREE 7 Day challenge to start your health journey towards feeling amaing naked!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

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