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Goal setting: what, how and why

October 20, 2017

We constantly set goals for ourselves. Albeit from "I’m going to finally organise my house", to "I’m going to meet all my work deadlines without getting stressed" to "I'm eating five pieces of fruit or veg today". Goals are crucial for us as they give us that feeling of forward momentum towards change and improvement in our lives.

 

Today my question to you is “What was the last goal you set yourself?” and then more importantly; “How’s that going?”

 

 

Breaking it down, this blog post will look at:

  • What is a goal?

  • The reality behind the goal

  • How to make the goal more likely to be achieved

  • Potential obstacles to goal achievement

What is a goal?

 

A goal is a personal desire that that person wants to turn into reality, but they are not there yet. It is the destination of a journey. Clear?

 

Once again, goals are important.  They take us from where we are to where we want to be. They are the centre of the thought cloud and the end point of the business plan. They help us grow and change and experience new things and become better people. However, it is essential that we recognise the difference between just having and doing what we want, in comparison to being who we want to be and all of the feelings that come with it.  

 

 

The reality behind the goal

 

Let’s imagine that your goal is to buy a new red Sports car. You’ve wanted one for ages. That is your goal. Now imagine that you actually bought the sports car. Now is it the sports car itself that you desire or is it the feeling you get when you see, wash and drive that sports car knowing that it is yours and that you worked hard for it, that you really desire?

 

By answering “What will this goal give me? What will completing this goal really achieve? What will life look like when I’ve reached the end of the journey?” This will help to give you the answers to what you really what.

 

If we use the red sports car example again, the car will give you confidence and more fun and adventure in your life. Of course the car can still be part of the journey towards your goal, but perhaps the goal is now “Be a confident, fun-loving and adventurous person”. Who just happens to own a red sports car rather than just a red sports car owner. 

 

 

How to make the achievement of the goal more likely

 

Visualisation techniques have been proven to increase the likelihood of goal achievement. A recent article in Forbes magazine highlights the usefulness of vision boards as well as people emotionally attaching themselves to their goal and thus increasing the power of turning their intentions into actions.

 

You have your goal. Now visualize the goal. You don’t need to mediate in a dark room or draw a picture or write it down, you can if you want, you know what works for you. But do “look” into what having this goal will bring you in terms of the finer details. What will getting into that leather seated car smell like? Where are you going to go with your partner at the weekend in your car? What music are you going to listen to when you’re in the car? What sweets are you going to keep in the glove compartment? ALL of these little things help make up that goal, they are achievable, and more importantly they make you feel that your goal is real.  The point of visualisation is to move you out of acting unconsciously and out of unconscious habits and into acting with thought and more importantly intentional actions towards reaching your goal.

 

 

Potential obstacles to goal achievement

 

Finally, it is important to visualise those inevitable obstacles and challenges that may throw you off course. Visualising the problem that you may not get that pay rise and anticipating that it will take you longer to save the money for the red sports car, will make you less likely to give up on the dream as you have expected the unexpected. You didn’t get that pay rise you were hoping for, but through visualising the potential obstacles you know that you can remain on course to purchase the sports car by prioritising,not to go on that ski holiday (for example). Or that you acknowledge that after all the skiing holiday is actually part of the goal of  being “a confident, fun-loving and adventurous person” and that the car can wait.

 

Remind yourself of the goal. Remind yourself that goal achievement is a marathon not a sprint. You are taking regular actions and you are moving towards that goal.  Momentum and building on each action towards the goal is the key. Rome was not built in a day and if we compare slow and steady change to quick and drastic changes, which do you think is more likely to have a long term impact?  

 

Divide your goal into smaller realistic actions that move you towards that goal. When you start that car journey from New York to Los Angeles in your new red sports car; what do you think would be a more enjoyable and enriching way to think about getting to your destination… Counting down the 3,994 kilometres one by one.....or......

 

 

....By breaking up the journey and enjoying time and passing through Albuquerque (for the Breaking Bad fans), Nashville and Las Vegas. Yes both methods mean that you’re constantly moving to LA, but the latter in a much more enjoyable and rewarding way.

 

Of course there are hundreds of different theories and strategies on goal setting, but from professional experience with my clients as well as my own personal experience the key to goal setting is taking that time to think:

  • What will your goal give you?

  • What does the  goal look, feel, sound, taste and smell like?

  • What realistic actions can you take that can move you towards that goal?

  • What obstacles could you face and how could you overcome them?

  • And don’t forget to remind yourself of your goal regularly and relish in the enjoyment of your movement towards that goal.

Now the rest is up to you!

 

A Life Coach can be an invaluable and more efficient way of getting you from where you are to where you want to be. For more information or to book a free consultation session with me, contact me alexadoman@gmail.com or via my Facebook page.

 

You can also sign up to motivating, insightful and valuable monthly newsletters.

 

These newsletters are aimed to encourage you to take some time and thought to focus on the person that you often put last...yourself. Take that first step, to being a better you and subscribe

 

 

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