I Am The Greatest & Other Such Truths

Real goal setting success — STEP 2 Choose the right language

Right you were Ali!

In Februrary 1964, Muhammad Ali proclaimed he was the greatest. It was just ahead of his world title fight with Sonny Liston and as the story goes, on the 25th February, after a cracking 6th round, he was. So what affect did his language and self belief have on his title win?

We all do it, we have these elaborate plans. “In 2018, I’m going to try to save $10,000. I also want a new car and let’s not forget the latest phone coming mid-year. Come to think of it, I doubt I’m going to save that $10,000 after all.”

STEP 2 of our goal setting process is to get your language right.

Every expert will tell you to write down goals and if you’re going to write them down then you’re going to want to do it the right way.

According to research by Dr Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, writing down goals increases your chances of achieving them by 42%. So if writing them down is the cake then positively affirming them is the icing and cherry on top.

“What you are thinking, you are becoming” — Muhammad Ali

Buddha said it first, Ali and so many others paraphrased. “We are what we think.” Goal setting works the same way. Our minds are amazing and can support us to achieve our goals if we write them as affirmations. By starting your goal with “I am” or “I have” rather than “I will” or “I want”, you’re programing your brain to create habits around having achieved them.

Our brains don’t know the difference between something that’s real (like your actual saved $10,000) and something that’s fantasy (like the money you wanted to save before you bought that new phone). Whatever you say, your brain will take literally.

“All my life I’ve had one dream, to achieve my many goals.” — Homer Simpson

In STEP 1 you figured out your WHY. Now it’s time to get your WHAT in order. Take some time to write down your SMART goals and do this by writing them as positive affirmations. To do this, write your goals down in present tense. Keep the initial statement simple and write them somewhere you will always see them. The key now is repetition.

Once you’ve got your language right, we’re going to focus on STEP 3, working out your HOW by setting some clear actions. In the mean time, here’s a guy who’s inner voice never (read, always) let’s him down.

About the Author

Rebecca Sharp is a lover of learning, driver of talent, passionate about people and an advocate for lifelong learning. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.