E196-Changing Behaviors & Achieving Goals

196. Changing Behaviors & Achieving Goals

About this Podcast

Ep. 196 – “Quitter’s Day.”

No, it’s not the day that a person quits their job. It’s the second Friday in January, designated as the day when most people are likely to give up on their New Year’s resolution (unofficially, of course).

Change, no matter how big or small can be difficult because our brains are wired to seek established patterns of consistency.

I’m sure you can easily recall that feeling of discomfort when you’ve tried doing something new in the past. Maybe you wanted to get better at delegating work and you leaned into it. But seconds later you felt like you made a mistake and should take that task right back.

This feeling of discomfort is normal but when left unmanaged can result in a pattern of backsliding into old comfortable ways.

However, there are ways to create a positive feedback loop that fuels continued growth and self-improvement. If you are looking for a blueprint to help you break through your old behaviors and achieve new goals then this episode is for you.

You can watch this episode on YouTube here.

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Episode 196 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:
This session is about setting goals, changing behaviors, and sticking with them so that you get to the outcome that you want to have. Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role, build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully, And establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization. That’s the question, and this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, action and fulfillment. And this transition starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins In the show, you learn how to think, communicate, and act as the confident and confident leader you know you can be. Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track podcast.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:56]:
It is the beginning of the of the year. A lot of people said goals, personal goals, but there are also a lot of Performance goals, professional goals, OKRs, objectives and key results, for example, or KPIs that are being set and you’re looking at What is it that I want to achieve in 2024? At least many of us are. But there’s always this stigma of goal setting and then Why should I do it? Because a few weeks in, we all know most people will let go of them, give up. And I think by, like, February, March, Only 10, 20% still stick to their goals, so why go through the effort? Well, the problem is not the goal setting part in itself, but how we go about it and how We can ensure that when we wanna change our behaviors, we set ourselves up the best possible conditions and the best possible spot to achieve the outcomes we want. So I was preparing for a session with a company that invited me to speak to their Entire workforce about behavioral change based on the LinkedIn learning course that I have on this topic. And as I was doing this, I realized I haven’t actually brought this to podcast in a long time, and I’d love to share some of these insights with you as an audience as well just to remind you what it takes to change behaviors, and how you can do so well. So, specifically, We’ll talk about why making changes in your habits, in your behaviors is hard. Any kind of behavior change, why that is hard to do.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:31]:
I’m gonna talk about how to go about setting big goals and then trying to achieve them. And then at the end, I’m gonna talk about how to deal with setbacks and, you know, when you realize, man, things aren’t going the way I wanted or I feel really tempted To give up or I have given up for a while and aren’t aren’t sure if you should restart again or not. Let’s dive in with that 1st topic. Why is change so hard? So with a lot of the work around personal development, what we In professional development, the 2 go hand in hand. We have to understand how we’re naturally wired. And, yes, we all have different personalities and all that, but what we all have in common is We have a very similar brain. So and our brains have evolved and developed For a very long time and for the vast majority of that time, we were motivated to survive. That was What drove us to take a lot of actions or not take actions? It was, will I die? Will this keep me alive? And so our brains are instinctively driven to do a few things.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:43]:
1, we wanna avoid pain because pain means Danger, it means potentially dying, getting hurt. We wanna avoid pain. We wanna seek pleasure, things that feel good, that Fuel us that make us more likely to survive. These 2 things you probably heard many many times. We also want to be efficient with our energy, And that is the key. So efficient within our energy means that we’re actually instinctively driven to Prefer familiarity and patterns over being effective. So even though we may know if I do something different, I get a better result, If the thing that I wanna do is new, your brain will instinctively wanna keep doing what it’s always been doing. Because it knows if you do what you’ve always been doing, you’re going to stay alive.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:37]:
And it also needs to manage energy. So it doesn’t wanna Sued energy for something that it doesn’t need to exceed energy for. So this is the efficiency part. And when we try to change behaviors or embrace Change. All of a sudden, new technology gets in introduced in the company. By the way, in 2024, 2025, we will all Be rapidly adapting to change in the technological sector. So with that, when we face these things, there’s naturally a resistance for most of us. Unless we’re we can sort of, like, reprogram our mindset towards that change.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:14]:
But instinctively, We think we have to do something different, and we’d rather be efficient in executing that same pattern over and over again from the past. That is why changing behaviors, is hard. And when we set goals that require us to change behaviors, It is likely that we stumble along the way, maybe even give up, that we’re having a hard time. We underestimate what it takes to do it. So that’s 1. The second one is that in initially, when we do set goals, we may take a step Back, we get really clear on what do I wanna achieve in my life, in my career, financially, relationship, health wise, whatever that may be. And you envision whatever be like to achieve that goal. You dream.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:04]:
You might have a vision board. You talk about it. It could become so Real in the moment that it’s appealing and it makes you, motivated to go and may and have that and execute that change or try to achieve that goal. But then as we go along, we put that vision to decide. We don’t really get into that state anymore. And we try to change our behaviors, but the vision of what will be will day by day drift further into the distance. And that combined with the fact that we’re, anyway, is not wired to change makes it even harder. So 2 forces that Or like headwinds that are coming our way.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:47]:
So what we need to do is on one hand understand, okay, this will be hard, then I know that I have to overcome my instincts to maintain, patterns from the past. And 2, I also need to Tenuously remind myself why I want this change. It’s like you spark a a Fire. You’re at a bonfire outside. You you you sparked the fire, and which by the way, funny Enough. Right? Grew up in Switzerland, and we would always hike and make a buyer and put some sausage on top or whatever We would do. And I recently realized that that’s a very odd thing for foreigners to observe and witness how on a Saturday I understand they would all go hiking and it would be obvious we would buy bread and sausage. So it does.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:37]:
We make a fire and put them on. Anyway, so you make that fire, And then you you can’t just walk away from the fire once it’s burning. You have to check that you have enough wood or whatever material you wanna Fuel the fire with so that it keeps burning. You can’t let it be alone. If you leave it alone, over time, it will go out. There won’t be any fire left. So when it comes to your motivation, you have to do the same thing. You have to feed it something.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:05]:
You have to remind yourself Why you wanna go where you wanna go? What what is it gonna how is it gonna feel like? What is it gonna be like? Get yourself back into that State that initially inspired you to even embark on this journey. And that is not something that most of us, Think of on a Monday, we have to build in this practice. And it could be some people, like, writing down their goals and really Getting into that energetic state of achieving that goal on a daily basis. We hear over and over from athletes who envision that moment When they hit the ball across the court and then they win the championship or they’re racing and they’re the fastest and they they hit a new record. They envision it over and over and over again, not once a year, all the time. The very same is true for us. You have to get back into that State where we envision what it will be like, what we will be thinking, what we’ll be feeling, the whole thing. Yes.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:08]:
Daily is a great practice. Most people, it’s too much. Maybe it’s weekly. So If you’re really serious about your goal, set yourself a reminder on your phone, on your calendar, 10 minutes or you do this before you go to bed or when you wake up. Think about that feeling. Imagine yourself once you’ve achieved the promotion, got the job, have Bought the house, the saving and then the bank account, changed your health habits, have a relationship, or whatever that may be, What will it be like, feel like, look like, and how will you be thinking? Really get immerse yourself into this. Okay. So these are things you can do to help you stick with it for longer.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:55]:
Now moving on to that second point, how do we make it easier? And I already addressed some of this here with saying you have to envision it. I’m gonna go a little bit deeper. You have to not only understand what it will feel like and how you will think, but also why do you want it. So when we set a goal, it’s really easy to say, Hey. I wanna get that promotion. I wanna double my income. I want to have my own side gig. Whatever that may be, It’s easy to say it.

Ramona Shaw [00:10:29]:
Goals are cheap. The execution is where this gets hard. Right? So write down why you want it. You need to have enough reasons why And meaningful reasons, not superficial reasons or reasons that you kinda don’t care about. The reasons for you to achieve this and go Through that journey and that process need to be strong enough that when you’re having a hard time, you can go back and look at them. They need to be meaningful enough that your brain will think, yeah, I wanna let go of the patterns and build something new. Imagine you’re in a cave and it’s dark outside. Maybe there’s a storm, there’s rain.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:15]:
You can’t really see far, so you don’t know If any there’s any danger out there. Sabertooth tigers. We don’t see them. They might be around in the corner, so we’ll stay in the cave. But at some point, you will get so hungry that you realize if I don’t go out there now, I will die inside. So the reasons to go out are now bigger than, staying. In other words, The pain, the idea of going outside is now smaller than the pain of staying in the cave. Staying in a cave will maybe be, let’s say, certain death.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:56]:
Going out and hunting for food seems a better option. Right? So I’m making this very drastic example here. But the same is true in our own lives. When we realize Our backs against the wall, we really, really want to change our lives. Then we realize, okay, I cannot Stand here anymore. I have to change my behaviors because changing behavior now seems less intimidating than the pain of being Here again, the pain of doing this 1 more year or one more time. Like, I can’t do this anymore. So now I feel ready to go.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:33]:
Is when most people are most motivated and also most likely to succeed when when it boils down to that. But we don’t always wanna be in an absolute Spirit situation in order to change. Sometimes you wanna just grow. We’re already good, but we wanna grow. That’s when we have to motivate ourselves by Writing down all the reasons why. So if you say, I wanna get a promotion this year. Well, Because it’s a nice to have, that might not be good enough. Well, because I wanna be a mentor to younger people or more junior people, I wanna set an example for my kids of what’s possible.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:14]:
I wanna be able to make the most Money this year that I possibly can and put that into a savings account to later buy a house. I want to Have real impact and bring all my talents forward. I wanna be challenged. So go beyond and beyond, not just with it what it Immediately, it does to you and how it’s helping you, but also how will your loved ones benefit from it? How will your team benefit from it? How will your department? How will your company benefit from the work that you will do? And that’s when We’ve throw more wood on the on the fire, and we keep that fire going. So that’s one thing. The other thing is getting really clear on that state in the future. So if you wanna get a promotion and you think I have to Work up to the promotion because when I get that promotion, then everything will be easier. Then I will feel more confident.

Ramona Shaw [00:14:13]:
I will have more influence. I will be able to do things that I’m currently not really qualified to do or I don’t have the authority to do it, and that is a little backwards. That will make it Harder for you to achieve that goal in the future because you’re holding yourself back in a way and you think then When I get the promotion, then I will be ready to do x y z. But with most goals, we have to internally think As if we’ve already achieved them in order to then externally achieve them. So internally, our world needs to be rearranged first In order to see it in the outer world, the easiest way to get a promotion is to imagine you already have the promotion, for example, And then showing up that way. And I don’t mean being cocky. I don’t mean to overstep, boundaries or step on other people’s toes. But in your mind, if you think I’ve already promoted, how would I think about my job? How would I show up? What would I stand for? What initiatives would I pick up? How would I communicate? How would I present myself? Who would I reach out to? All those things you can do today.

Ramona Shaw [00:15:29]:
Many people will not do them because they think they have to wait for the promotion. It’s one way. It may work. Right? Especially if you’ve been with a company for a while and you just keep going that way, and at some point, you’ll get that promotion. But you’ll do yourself a big favor, and it’ll be easier and faster if you’re matching you already have them, and then act that way. As a caring and driven manager, I know you want to strengthen your leadership skills, advance your career, and lead a high performing engaged team. And in order to do that, as a leader, you need to lead with a system, not by shooting from your hips or reacting to everyone else around you. To do so, you need to, first, learn what should go into a leadership system, and second, develop your own.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:17]:
Now the good news is that I teach you one must have part in your leadership system in a concise, actionable, and yet Comprehensive course focused on running successful 1 on 1 meetings with your direct reports. It includes over 67 minutes of tactical leadership training plus a set of resources to make this as easy and immediately applicable for you as possible. You can either watch the video lessons or listen to it through a private Podcast feed on your phone. You can get your hands on this course, which I want every single manager to have, for a nominal $19 atramonashaw.com/oneone. That’s 2 times the number one. I’m gonna use a different example here. If you already felt loved and secure and emotionally full, And you don’t wait for having a relationship in order to feel all that, but you already cultivate that feeling inside, It’ll be a lot easier for you to find someone and have a really good relationship, but we kind of have it backwards. We set a goal.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:31]:
We keep doing what we’re doing, Trying to achieve that goal because we think once we have that goal, then we will change the way we think about the world and all kinds of things. We will feel fairly def differently, and we also will start doing things really differently. When in fact no. We have to start thinking differently Now we have to start feeling differently now. We have to start acting differently now in order to achieve that goal. So that was pillar number 2. How can you set yourself up to increase your chances of success? Now the third one is, what happens when you have setbacks? And now we’re a little bit into the year already, so you you might have already set a goal, a New Year’s resolution, let’s say, and you realize like, Wow. I skipped a few days.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:17]:
I didn’t quite do as I wanted to do. What then? Well, the One thing that we’d wanna prevent doing that will make this whole process harder is to feel guilty, To go into that space of self loathing, of how could I? I knew you’re not strong enough. You can never do it. You’ll never get there. It’s way too hard for you to just get back and to do as you always have done. And, it’s the bit the goal was too big or too hard, and we give up. We would never say that to a friend. Imagine a friend came to you and said, I really wanted to start training for a marathon.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:58]:
I was thinking I’m gonna run a marathon at the end of the year. And I started great 1st week, and then the 2nd week, I only did 2 out of the 3 sessions I wanted to do. And then the 3rd week, I only did 1, and I just may maybe I really will never do a marathon. I just can’t do it. I’m just not cut out to do a marathon. As a friend, we wouldn’t say, yeah. You’re right. Yeah.

Ramona Shaw [00:19:20]:
Totally. Can’t believe you already give up 3 weeks in. But you’re definitely not cut out to do a marathon. No. We would say, oh my gosh. Let’s figure out How to make this easier for you? Like, you still have all year. You’ve just learned a few things and 3 weeks have passed. You got a whole year to go.

Ramona Shaw [00:19:39]:
Let’s get back on it. Talk the same way to yourself as you would to a friend. Okay. You fell off the bargain. Let’s get back on. And while we do, let’s take a moment to say, what got in the way? Maybe did I make unrealistic plans? Maybe I thought after a An hour workday and a 2 hour commute that would go on a run. Maybe that’s not realistic. Maybe I was just too ambitious too fast.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:05]:
Maybe I should go a little slower and pace myself. Maybe instead of running 5 miles, I’m gonna run 2 laps for the 1st couple of weeks or even a mile. That’s it. That’s success. Figure out what got in the way, what have you learned about yourself, and then Keep going. And even if they’re small steps. In any behavioral change, in this process, it’s totally normal to make 2 steps forward, 1 step back. 1 step forward, 2 steps back.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:37]:
And it it will happen. This this is human. We all go through this. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Have self compassion. Not only because it will feel so much better and You’re a lot more likely to get back into it, but also because your your brain will store memories of these experiences. So when you Try something new, and then it didn’t quite work out like you want it, and then you’re being really hard to yourself. Your brain will associate this Experiment this trying to achieve a goal as something negative.

Ramona Shaw [00:21:11]:
It was a bad experience because you were hard on yourself, did not feel good. And every time we do something that doesn’t feel good, remember what I said in the beginning? Your brain doesn’t wanna do that anymore. It’s like, no. No. No. That was painful. We’re not doing painful things. We wanna Pleasurable things.

Ramona Shaw [00:21:27]:
So next time you try, it’s actually gonna be even harder because your brain is storing that memory. So in order to kinda get out of that cycle, be nice to yourself. Don’t be so hard. You tried. You failed. You had a a setback. Okay. What am I learning? I actually know more now than I knew a week ago or or before all this.

Ramona Shaw [00:21:49]:
And I’m even more set up for success now because I’ve experimented with this and I experienced something new. And now we’re gonna try again. In your brain, that will be stored as like, oh, enthusiastic, energetic, good learning moment, good thing. So next time you’re trying to attempt something, your brain will not associate that with pain. It will be more excited and more likely to give it a shot and to hop back on the saddle when you fall off. So this is a big topic that could go on for a long time, but I wanted to talk about these Key points here on the podcast, and I hope that if whatever goal you’re trying to achieve or behaviors you’re trying to change For your own personal or professional growth, that these suggestions and insights are helpful. At the end of the day, though, you have to implement the things that were talked about for yourself to make something out of it. So I hope that at least 1 thing that I shared today resonated enough with you that you say, I have something meaningful that I’m working on, something important that I’m trying to achieve, and here’s this one thing that I’m gonna try out to set myself up for a higher probability of success.

Ramona Shaw [00:23:02]:
If you’re interested to learn a little bit more about this, then check out my LinkedIn course On behavioral change, which I will drop in the show notes, and if you have something really specific and important that you’re working on, Coaching could be a great tool to help you achieve this. When you work with a coach, not only will you develop a great deal of self awareness of what is actually going on and what is Driving your habits, your behaviors, but also have that support system along the way to get you back into the right course of action and then see how The emotional stamina, the skills that you develop, the insights that you learn, how you can apply them in many different areas of your professional life or even personal life as well. And with that, I will finish up this episode. I’ll see you again in a week. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you have a friend or a colleague or someone else that you care about who is on a mission or wants to achieve something, please share this along so they can benefit from this as well. Thank you, and see you soon. Bye bye.

Ramona Shaw [00:24:02]:
If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, The Confident and Competent New Manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramonashaw.com/book And a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You check it out at ramonashaw.com/masterclass.


  1. What are the key factors that make changing behaviors difficult, and how can we overcome them?
  2. How can setting meaningful reasons for achieving a goal help maintain motivation and drive?
  3. What strategies can we use to shift our mindset and behavior to align with the future goals we want to achieve?
  4. How can self-compassion and learning from setbacks contribute to long-term success in achieving our goals?
  5. Why is it important to reframe setbacks and failures as learning experiences rather than reasons for self-criticism?


  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

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