I was a theatre major in college. Of course I graduated and realized I didn't want to be on stage anymore but I'll tell you what: The lessons I learned in my acting classes from the time I was 11 are still applicable to my life today (I still need to work on the whole talking louder thing, but, you know, some lessons take time...). Today I am going to talk about how to approach goal setting like an actor. Of course there's the SMART approach, which is great, but this is what's made the most sense to me. I hope it makes sense to you and can help you plan out your resolutions!
Here are your 5 steps:
1. Figure out your Superobjective: In a play, each character has a superobjective, an overriding desired end goal they want to reach (to be loved, to be happy, to rule the world, for example). If you've got your resolution in mind, I guarantee you it's probably not your superobjective. To figure out what your own overriding desired end goal is, you need to ask yourself WHY you've made the resolution to begin with. It might even help you make more specific goals. Here's how the dialogue with yourself in this step might go:
A: In 2013, I resolve to go to the gym more often.
A: Because I feel like I should be more active.
A: Because I want to be able to participate in activities my family does together like hiking and swimming.
A: So we can have more fun and be happier together.
So in this example you can see that there is a lot that lies beneath the surface of a simple resolution. Also, in just a few lines of dialogue you can actually turn the general "In 2013, I resolve to go to the gym more often" goal into a more specific idea such as "In 2013, I resolve to improve my aerobic endurance" which may make getting to the gym easier once the resolution newness wears off since you've got a specific task to accomplish.
2. Find your Objective(s): This is a little easier since you've just gone through step one. Write it/them down. (Remember our example for now is "In 2013, I resolve to improve my aerobic endurance".)
3. List your Tactics: Tactics are just what they sound like. They're a list of action items a character goes through to get to their objectives. These are super important because it's darn hard to accomplish a goal like "In 2013, I resolve to improve my aerobic endurance" if you don't know what you're going to DO to get there. Examples might include, "I'll take the stairs whenever I can instead of the escalator," or "I'll swim x number of laps each week and will add y number of laps when it starts to get easier".
4. List your Obstacles: This is such an important step that I think gets wickedly overlooked. All of you perfectionists out there might believe you will only act in ways that will support your goals. Even if you have the mightiest of willpowers, it doesn't mean roadblocks aren't going to pop up. Life happens. Be prepared. Here's one I think we can all relate to: "I'm too tired to go to the gym."
5. List your Obstacle-Busting Tactics: This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT step in the process. Now that you've come to grips with the reality that you will at some point be faced with an obstacle, what are you going to do to get around it, go over it or bust through it and not be defeated by it? Here's a tactic to combat the obstacle above: "I will go to the gym and give myself 15 minutes; if I'm still tired after 15 minutes, I will allow myself go home." [Chances are you'll finish your workout.]
As I always say, WRITE ALL OF THIS DOWN! If you don't write it down, it isn't real. One thing that I've been doing is making a poster of my goal and sticking it around the house so it's always in sight. I'd actually suggest taking it a step further with my favorite Beck Diet Solution exercise: make notecards out of steps 4 and 5 above. Here's what you do:
1. On the blank side of an index card, write down one obstacle;
2. On the lined side, write down how you'll overcome said obstacle;
3. Carry the notecards with you so that when you are faced with an obstacle you were able to foresee, you'll have a reminder of how to get around it. And if you're faced with an obstacle you didn't imagine would pop up, you'll hopefully have enough gusto to kick it in the pants anyway.
I hope this helps! As always, if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!
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