Yay, for springtime, and now is the time to set an audacious goal.

Wait- what about January 1 you say?

I say forget January – we want to MARCH confidently toward our goals, and spring is the best time – let’s take a cue from nature and embrace the gentle breath of spring with a fresh vision – nature starts goal-setting in the spring, planting seeds, and so shall we! As a Positive Intelligence Coach, I know too well the challenges we face when going after what we want, but with the right tools and mindset, our goals are there for the taking!

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Welcome then, dear reader, to the enlightening world of goal-setting 1% style, where we’ll combine the incredible wisdom of “Positive Intelligence” and the practical strategies of “Atomic Habits.” If you’ve ever found yourself setting ambitious goals at the beginning of the year only to be sabotaged in record time by one lousy thought of, “Oh, why even bother,” by January 2, or derailed by the empty allures of social- media scrolling any time of the year, you’re in the right place.

A note that both books discuss the power of 1% because research shows that small, consistent daily steps can bring you the success in life you desire, including the thrills of achieving goals. Let’s embark on a journey to transform our goal-setting strategies, armed with a bit of humor, a dash of science, and several sprinkles of self-compassion.

Attomic Habits

The Battle of the Brain

Imagine your brain as a quirky sitcom character with two distinct personalities. On one side, we have Positive Peter \ Positive Patty, the part of your brain that’s all about sunshine, rainbows, and achieving your dreams. On the other, there’s Sabotage Steve \ Sabotage Sarah, the naysayer who loves nothing more than to throw a wrench in your plans with a well-timed “You can’t do that!” and takes those beautiful seeds and throws them in the garbage.

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Content is King: Who to turn to when you need engaging and converting copy.

 According to Shirzad Chamine, the creator of Positive Intelligence, our minds are in a constant tug-of-war between your saboteurs and the real you (also called the Sage). The key to winning this battle in your brain? Mental fitness! Shirzad says that with some curiosity and empathy, we can use our minds to be innovative and then take inspired action, exploring along the way. Think of Mental Fitness as a gym for your brain, but instead of lifting weights, you’re bench-pressing aside your negative thoughts and squatting away your self-doubt. Plus, your brain’s only about 3 lbs and you can definitely work some reps into your day easy-peasy building on 1% successes, protecting your goal seeds with the energy of a 1000 suns!

The Atomic Approach to Habits

word-habits-made-with-wood-building-blocksOr the mighty power of the atom! Enter James Clear, the habit whisperer, who teaches us that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are our goals. In his book “Atomic Habits,” Clear introduces us to the idea that tiny changes lead to remarkable results. It’s like deciding to floss just one tooth. Sounds silly, right? But once you’re in there, chances are you’ll think, “Well, I might as well do the rest while I’m at it.”

The approach is all about making your goals as gorgeous as a springtime flower arrangement and as easy to start as scrolling through Instagram for inspiration. “Atomic Habits” suggests habit stacking, which is essentially tricking yourself into new habits by piggybacking them onto old ones. For example, “After I pour my morning coffee, I will meditate for one minute.” It’s like creating a buddy system for your habits, where each one supports and encourages the other. Now, your goal is easily planted with high-fives every day.

Woman in purple dress shouting illustrationThe Saboteurs of Success

Can we talk a bit more about those pesky saboteurs? These are the inner critics that “Positive Intelligence” warns us about. They’re the party poopers of the brain, always ready to remind you of past failures, future fears, or even convince you that your goals are about as achievable as befriending a unicorn (who could help you plant those seeds, unicorns are awesome)!

But fear not! The trick is to recognize these saboteurs for what they are: misguided protectors trying to keep you in your comfort zone. Once you’ve identified them, you can kindly (or not) thank them for their concern and brush them off with the nonchalance of a teenager asked to clean their room for the 1000th time.

ORS9880 e1712273035413The Power of Tiny Triumphs

“Atomic Habits” teaches us to celebrate the small wins. Did you manage to read one page of a book today? Congratulations, you’re on your way to becoming a bibliophile! It’s about acknowledging the power of just getting started, even if it’s only for two minutes. This is the two-minute rule: If a task takes less than two minutes to do, just do it. It’s a simple way to bypass procrastination and build momentum. The simple mental fitness exercises in “Positive Intelligence” are around two minutes because I feel both authors understand that two minutes is more magical than that unicorn you wanted to befriend earlier.

The Environment is Your Ally

40677Both “Positive Intelligence” and “Atomic Habits” stress the importance of your environment in achieving what you want. Seeds need good soil, and so do your goals. If you’re trying to eat healthier but your pantry is a shrine to junk food, you’re setting yourself up for a battle of wills, and guess who’s gonna win when you’re famished? The solution? Make your environment work for you, not against you. Keep the fruits and veggies in plain sight and the chips and cookies out of reach (or, better yet, out of the house). It’s like setting up a treasure hunt for your future self, where the riches are your own successes, no saboteur pirates in sight, ready to plunder any positive thought in its path’ leaving only the remains of wrappers.

Social media networkThe Social Network of Habits

Let’s not forget the impact of our social environment. I mean, we could forget even more than forgetting when we start those late-night scrolls that suck away countless hours. Surrounding yourself with people who share your goals or have habits you admire is like having a 24/7 cheerleading squad dedicated to your success. Trying to quit smoking while hanging out in a smokers’ lounge? Not a great idea. Ok, that’s pretty obvious. How about this: Trying to have more fun and get in better shape by late-night binge-watching dance shows while snacking on junk food versus joining a weekly East Coast swing class close to home, where the only thing more uplifting than your newfound dance moves is your joyful state of mind? Better times 1000%. Use that 1% style to set out a comfy pair of shoes, mark it on your calendar, and tell a friend what you’re up to. Take a moment for a fresh vision of how much fun it’s gonna be. Say, “Hey, I’ll try it a couple of times and see how it goes.” Pretty soon, each week, your toes will be tappin’ before you realize, and the seeds of physical and mental fitness will take root with each dance step you take.

The Journey Continues 1% at a time

As we wrap up our exploration of goal setting 1% style, remember that the path to achieving your goals is not a straight line. It’s more like a dance, with steps forward, steps back, and the occasional twirl. The key is to keep moving, keep experimenting, and keep your sense of humor intact, especially with the inevitable occasional fall-on-your-keister moments happen.

cupped hands with growing plantSo, dear reader, armed with the wisdom of “Positive Intelligence” and the strategies of “Atomic Habits,” go after your goals with the excitement of animals waking up from hibernation ready to prance in the sun (and also, snacks) . And when you encounter setbacks, remember to laugh, learn, and say, “Nice try, Sabotagers, but MY seeds are 100% in terra fima!”

In the end, we all know goal setting isn’t just about reaching your destination; it’s about enjoying the journey, learning about yourself, and having a few laughs along the way. Reaching that goal? It’s even better than the unicorn bestie you’ve got cheering you on!