What’s Wrong with My Goals?

This article continues my focus on Goals, a topic I presented in the Winter 2007 News-you-can-use-letter (see Coach’s Corner) and I recently wrote about on my personal blog.

One of the primary reasons people don’t achieve their goals is because they are not truly connected to them. By this I mean, there is not a strong enough emotional attachment to achieving the goal to generate the needed motivation and discipline for success. It is probably a good goal, it might be stated correctly, it may even BE achievable — but you’re not likely to achieve it if it is not something you absolutely MUST achieve or accomplish before you die.

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I’m always aware of this possibility when working with a coaching client, particularly during the goal-setting phase of our coaching engagement. The main red flag for me is when I hear the word "should," as in, "I really should lose weight," or "I should be making more money." This is usually something driven more by societal norms than by personal desires or needs.

Let’s take the example of health (one we can all relate to). We know it’s a good idea to be healthy, eat well, exercise, lose weight (if we’re overweight), etc. We know that if we do these things we’re supposed to live longer. The problem is, if you don’t believe you are in any immediate danger of dying or you don’t believe you are likely to suffer a fatal heart attack or stroke any time soon, you won’t have sufficient reason to do anything different regarding your health. You’ll keep doing what you’re doing OR you’ll set a goal and not experience much success. Even when you’re TOLD by your doctor you need to lose weight, if there is not a strong enough belief that you will suffer any consequence or the pain of your situation is not greater than the pain of changing your behavior, your situation will remain the same (or possibly worsen).

"So how do I achieve my goals," you ask?

By setting what I call true life goals. They’re goals with real meaning—personal meaning.

"And how do I do that?"

Take a look at this list of categories and determine which of them resonate on a gut or emotional level with you. Which of these areas might contain a goal that if you did not achieve it, your life would not be complete? Which of these areas, if you were told you had 3 months to live, would you focus all of your attention on and go after with all of your might? In which of these areas, if you were watching your own funeral, would you want people talking about your accomplishments?

Relationship Family Friends
Social life Community Health
Fitness Job Career
Income Money Financial planning
Retirement Savings Net Worth
Talents Creativity Hobbies
Interests Spirituality Faith
Religion Self-Esteem Emotional Well Being
Stress Happiness Satisfaction
Fulfillment Living environment Car
Vacations Travel Education
Self-Development Charity Volunteering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What other areas resonate with you that are not listed here? Is there anything missing from your life or anything you’ve stopped pursuing that may cause you regret? Is there anything you’d start doing – or stop doing – if money was not an issue for you?

Pick just one area, define an emotional goal, set some strategies (a plan to move from where you are toward your desired goal), then start taking action.

I often share the saying, “In America, you can do anything you want, you just can’t do everything.” The challenge for many people, however, is to give up the “many things” that populate their lives in order to accomplish one significant and meaningful thing. We’re very efficient (getting lots of things done), but not very effective (making a difference).

What will your life say about you?

If you would like help developing your own inspiring goals, contact us for a complimentary coaching consultation. Don’t let a good life get in the way of a great life.

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