Goal setting is one of the most common requests in coaching. As we approach the end of another dramatic year we look forward to setting new goals and starting with a renewed mood. But when we set goals for the new year, we tend to focus on correcting our perceived weaknesses and achieving success based on external measures of success. Then, we end up feeling uncomfortable even when the goal is achieved.
In this article we will talk about traditional perceptions of goal setting as an obstacle and how to set goals in a way that will satisfy us without feeling burned out and overwhelmed.
Traditional notions of goal setting as an obstacle
Often the perceptions we have become an obstacle to achieving a goal. Some of them are:
- We believe that goal setting has only two stages: setting a goal and move forward with its implementation.
- We consider failures to be evidence that the goal is not achievable or that we are incompetent.
- We follow external measures of success when we set a goal.
- We set unrealistic criteria for success.
- We start implementing without reflecting on the past year/experiences.
- We are unaware of our character strengths and how we can use them to achieve a goal.
- We do not consider how we want to feel when pursuing a goal.
How we set goals
Goal setting means two things, cultivating new perceptions and aligning our values with actions towards a goal. Goal setting can increase our performance under certain conditions, i.e. if we can:
- distinguish goals from values: clarify which values guide and inspire us, making sure the goals are aligned with our values.
- become flexible: we are not our goals. The goal is the embodiment of our values. This means that a value can take on flesh and blood with another goal and set of actions. For example, self-care (value) can be accomplished by going to the gym (goal) or by finding a job that does not leave us burned out (goal).
- accept who we are by taking care of ourselves as we work towards the goal. We do not have to prove anything to anyone by pushing ourselves to achieve a goal.
- accept failure: the change that occurs is not an undisturbed straight line towards the goal. Mistakes are made, disappointments and surprises come. Failure does not necessarily mean abandoning a goal or the wrong goal.
- focus on the goal by making sure it is aligned with an overarching purpose and meaning in our life.
- maintain enthusiasm by constantly reminding ourselves the overarching purpose that the goal fulfills every time we feel stressed and deflated. The “why” must be bigger than our worries.
If you need help discovering your inner potential, discovering who you are, your purpose in life and what principles and values guide you, my signature self-awareness 1: 1 coaching program was created for you to help you finally feel whole and grateful in your life.
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