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Often when we want to create change in our lives it's driven by wanting to get away from something. Sometimes we are so focused on what we DON'T want that we may not even realise what it is that we are working towards. How will you know if you're successful if you don't know what success is?

The Power Of Aspiration

What is Positive Aspiration?

To aspire means to seek to attain or achieve a specific goal. Seeing that definition it’s not hard to see why this is reverent to personal development, wellbeing and mental health. Especially when someone is struggling with their mental health it can be tough to shift focus away from the negative. Considering a positive goal and beginning to work toward it – no matter how small the steps – makes it much easier to identify positive actions. Aspiring to something more positive means you can more easily make choices that move you toward what you desire.

Why Do Aspirations Matter?

As a change-focused therapist I work with clients to overcome obstacles that get in their way in order to achieve positive change. It’s not uncommon, at the start of a clients journey, for me to ask what they want to get from our time together to find that the answer is all about what they DON’T want. If you’re looking to create lasting, positive change in your life, it’s worth spending the time to stop and think about what that looks like to you.

Another common question I ask is “How will you know that our time together has been successful?” It’s a great question to get people thinking about what success looks like to them and to focus them on what they are looking to achieve.

Ultimately, it’s easy to get somewhere when you know where it is you are aiming to get to. I also tend to find that during their time working with me, clients often begin to realise that they can get far further than they initially imagined possible and we make sure to reassess what we are aiming for and what potential possibilities exist that previously they hadn’t even considered attainable.

How Does Aspiration Help Achieve Positive Change?

In my article about ‘The ‘A’s Of Change’ I talk about the steps that are involved in creating change. Starting with awareness and acceptance, aspiration is the third step. Once we are honest with ourselves about how things are and we have accepted our reality, we can then look at where we want to get to and be realistic about what will be required to get there.

Studies have shown that thinking about, picturing and visualising a positive future that you aspire to not only makes you feel more positive in the present, it also increases the chances of achieving that aspiration. Of course, aspiration in itself is not enough. You need to take action if you want to create the future you desire but if you don’t even know what that future looks like, how can you begin to get there?

I’m not saying that your vision of the future needs to be crystal clear. I’m not saying that you need to know exactly where you want to be in 10 years time. Your vision can change, you can change and grow your aspirations as you change and grow. But having no aspiration will make it a lot harder to achieve positive growth.

How Do I Choose My Aspiration?

The simple answer to this is to listen to yourself. You already know what matter to you, what makes you happy, what you enjoy, what you are passionate about and what you are passionately against. Taking time to explore your values and think about what matters to you can make it much easier to decide who you want to be and what you want to do and achieve.

There are different types of goal that we may aspire to. Often, when thinking about what you want to achieve and aspire to, it can be easy to focus on outcome goals but aspiration can just as easily be focused on the other options too. It may be worth recognising that you can focus on any of these three elements.

The Three Types Of Goal

There are many different ways to categorise and group goals but for this article I want to look at three main types of goal, which are:

OUTCOME goals.

Outcome goals focus on the end result, what you want to get to. It’s often great to start with the end in mind, even if the end goal changes as you get closer to it. This helps you to remember what you’re aiming for and keep you motivated toward it. This is fundamentally what aspiration is all about.

PROCESS goals

Process goals focus on performing specific tasks or actions. These goals are more about what actions to take and how to behave rather than what you are aiming to achieve. If you don’t really know yet what outcome you are aiming fro you can think more about the processes – or behaviours – that will lead to you to a place where you are better able to move forward. For example, you may want to focus on building and developing positive habits day-by-day. These are great aspirations where you can also see more immediate results.

PERFORMANCE goals

Performance goals look at what you are achieving along the way. For example, if you have a process goal of making more phone calls your performance goal may be about how many of those phone calls convert to a sale. I would advise caution here when thinking about personal growth to focus on what is in your control rather than what may not be. If you are not achieving performance goals, look at what processes may improve this.

Summary

This article really only scratches the surface of aspiration and the benefits it holds. For greater context of how it forms a part of creating positive change, check out my article here:

If you would like further support, please get in touch for an informal chat today.

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