We often set our goals based on performance targets. If we are trying to incorporate a new habit into our work or life, it maybe more beneficial to define who we are rather than what we do.
I was talking a couple of weeks ago with a client about what kind of year he’d like 2015 to be. Oliver* came up with a couple of themes and I asked him what steps he needed to take to support those themes.
‘Being more organised would make a big difference: I’m such a disorganised person,’ he replied.
‘Really? What would an organised person be like?’ I asked.
‘They’d have a good sense of priorities, they’d be on top of things, they’d feel pretty relaxed and they’d be able to take on new opportunities,’ Oliver answered.
‘So is that the kind of person you’d like to be?’ I enquired. ‘Definitely,’ said Oliver.
‘Let’s assume you already are then,’ I said, grabbing a piece of paper and writing a version of his description of an organised person in a circle in the centre of the sheet. ‘As this organised person, how will you behave?’
Oliver threw out several ideas – ‘the 15 minute tool/saying yes and saying no/booking appointments with myself’ – which we added to a second circle, centred around his new identity as an organised person.
In an outer circle, we listed what the outcomes of this behaviour will be and what others will notice about Organised Oliver. You can see a tidied-up version of our notes below:
In essence, we built his action plan around the new identity he had chosen. When I saw Oliver the other day, he said that he was already noticing the positive impact of his new identity-centred goal. It’s changed the focus from what he does to who he is and that seems to make it easier, more natural and more achievable to do the things which that kind of person does.
Today’s pebble for you: how could centring your goal around who you want to be rather than around what you do help you achieve your desired outcome?
What do you think?
*As usual, I have changed my client’s name. I share this story and the diagram with his permission.