Many of us are familiar with the S.M.A.R.T of goal setting. Goal setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted goals. But are you familiar with the three W’s of goal achievement? And are you familiar with their connection to hope?
I first read about waypower and willpower in C.R. Snyder‘s book, The Psychology of Hope. After reading more of Snyder’s research, I decided to add another W- whypower. Whypower may increase willpower, but I decided to give it its own title.
1. Waypower- The plan to get you there. Come up with a step by step plan to achieve your goal. This is the path that you are going to take. Come up with an alternative route. When you find roadblocks along the way, you may not need to change goals- you may just need to adjust your route.
2. Willpower- The motivation and energy it will take to get you there. Come up with a list of ways to motivate yourself to reach this goal. Write this list down and look at it everyday. Focus on the feeling. How will you feel once you reach your goal? In order to accomplish your goal, you will need to stay motivated. Getting in touch with the emotion associated with the goal can help you stay on course.
3. Whypower- Knowing why you want to get there. Know why you want to achieve your goal. Make sure it is your goal and not a goal assigned to you by someone else. Do not lose sight of why you want this so badly. Ask yourself…How will it impact your life? How will this accomplishment improve your life? What do you have to lose by not achieving your goal? What is at stake?
Snyder’s research also showed that goal accomplishment increases hope. Studies show that higher hope people are less depressed, less anxious, less likely to consider suicide as a way out, more likely to do well in school and in careers, more likely to bounce back after crisis, and more enthusiastic about life.
One of the best things for people who are feeling hopeless is to accomplish a goal. It doesn’t have to be anything significant. I have had clients go home and clean out a kitchen drawer and feel better. Having a sense of accomplishment really is important to our emotional health.
Take a long hard look at why you want to accomplish your goal. What is your whypower? The real reason may not be so obvious.
My client’s whypower for cleaning out the kitchen drawer was about so much more than straightening a messy drawer. The bigger reason was to lessen her depression, feel less stressed, and increase her level of hope. Cleaning the drawer was a baby step towards a much larger goal.
Without identifying whypower, the client might have assumed that a clean drawer would be her only gain. Whypower helped her to look at a much bigger picture. The kitchen drawer was only the beginning of a snowball of positive momentum.
What can you do today to create positive momentum in your life? Don’t be afraid to start small. Small things often lead to large change.