In the last post I presented a classic goal setting method used in business and project management since 1981. In this post I will present a method to address goals that pertain more to behaviors, The Harte System. The example comes from the National Guild of Hypnotists Level II Training Manual, but it works fine with or without the addition of hypnotherapy. As with the SMART Criteria, the first step is defining a goal with a definite date. If the goal is giving up cigarettes, the client sets a believable date to end this habit-forever. The questions to ask: What do I want to achieve?
By when should I achieve this goal?
The next step asks the client to list the benefits that will be derived from achieving the goal. These could vary significantly from patient to patient. Cigarette smoking, wastes money, sets a bad example for children, perhaps it is viewed as a nasty habit by a significant other, and of course they don’t call them coffin nails for nothing.
The first two steps are classified as goals. Dr. Richard Harte differentiates between goals and objectives, “Goals are general statements of intent. Goals tell us what we want to achieve, or how we want to change, or what we generally want to look, be, and/or act at some future time. Objectives differ from goals with respect to their specificity: objectives being more specific than goals. Objectives may also be viewed as statements of intention when carried out, will enable the goals to be achieved.”
The objectives must be doable, acceptable, and believable in the client’s mind. In thinking about these objectives, develop scripts or statements to rehearse when the going gets tough.
Objectives need to be stated in the positive. Say, “I am on the path to a healthy lifestyle.”
Objectives need to be self referenced including words like I or mine.
Objectives need to be stated in the present tense.
Objectives must be measurable.
Objectives are short term (30 days or less)
Objectives should be stated in simple sentences.
Objectives should be brief.
Objectives are achieved by using a three step method.
Thinking: This is where you rehearse the benefits of achieving your goal in words that appeal to the rational mind.
Feeling: This is where visualization is used to experience the sensations that will accompany achievement of the goal. For example, studies indicate the most successful weight loss programs are undertaken by brides to be who wish to wow the crowd with their wedding dress. There is no doubt these young ladies are rehearsing every sensation of that perfect moment when she is the center of the universe, as they are tempted with a box of bonbons.
Action: All methods of creating goals must end with action. List the specific steps necessary to achieve your goal. Then just do it!