The advantage of discussing our goals with a coach or with significant supporters in our lives is that we hold ourselves accountable to them. It helps them support us if they know what it is that we want to achieve. It’s so important to avoid people who are negative, non-supportive or just plain cynical. Look at energizing ways to remind us of the goal in a fresh and positive way. This will also reinforce the importance of the goal in our sub-conscious. It’s a good idea to do something each day to move you forward towards your goal. Even if your goal is to open your own business in two years, read a chapter from a book each day on how to start or run a business. This will keep you moving with a small step towards your goal – each day.
One of the things we need to accept about setting goals is that we need to recommit to them often, and we need to review them for relevance as we recommit to them. It may make sense at times to modify or adust from the original goal if new information means that we have to reevaluate our priorities.
Or we need to relook at strategies that are not giving us the best results. At this point, honesty and authenticity need to find a balance as we align afresh to our values and then commit to move ahead with renewed energy.
Creating a Vision Board
Creating a Vision Board is one way to keep our goals in front of us in an inspiring way and use the Law of Attraction to our advantage. The Law of Attraction helps bring the things that we desire into our lives because we keep attention focused on what we want. Creating a vision board starts with vividly visualizing the things that we want to achieve. Then we look for pictures and appealing visuals that match our mental pictures as closely as possible. Glue these pictures on a board so that they blend in a fun and interesting way so that they represent your goals. Keeping the board where you can see it always for example near your work desk or on the fridge so that it helps you stay focused on your goals.
Some times too much focus on the long term goal makes can us feel that the goal is too distant and difficult. This can lead to anxiety and stress. One suggestion to deal with this anxiety is to break down the long term goal into a series of short term goals and stay focused on just achieving the short term goals. Starting with the ones that are easy to achieve helps build momentum and positive engergy around the journey. Creating small tasks around the short term goal that move us forward should be our focus. Staying flexible is important because we may not achieve exactly what we had defined in our goal, but its important to see how we’ve moved forward and what we’ve learned in the process. This can then help us reset our markers. It is vital that we do not berate ourselves as failures for not reaching the goals as defined – it’s important to celeberate what has been achieved and acknowledge ourselves for that. Learing to savor and enjoy each step in the journey may be even more important than the final destination.
Questions for the Coach
- Has my client set performance oriented goals or outcome oriented goals?
- Is my client focusing on small steps that are exciting for her?
- Is she able to build momentum and energy with reaching small milestones?
Goals should be performance oriented and not outcome oriented. A goal of hitting the gym at least three times a week for the next three months (performance oriented) is easier to control than losing 30 pounds in three months (outcome oriented). Performance oriented goals are within our control and achieving them gives a sense of accomplishment. The goal setting process does not mean that achieving them will happen without struggle, difficulty or setbacks. However, getting through these difficult periods and back on track gives a sense of achievement and a tremendous high. An important question to answer is “Does my goal excite me?” No matter, how small the goal is, there should be a sense of excitement around it. If the goal doesn’t create excitement for you then it needs to be rethought or rescaled till there is a sense of challenge around it.
While having future focus( long term goals )is necessary, the importance of present focus (short term goals) is that they are significant markers along the journey. They serve as means to track our progress and also as check points at which we can evaluate the importance of the long term goal and its alignment to our values. Often, we set long term goals – for example completing further education in the next 3 years – and hope that it will be achieved automatically. Three years later we wonder why it didn’t happen and rationalize it away by stating that there just isn’t enough time given our current workload. Short term goals mimimize this risk of not having taken even a single step. Keep in mind that the long term goal helps to add meaning to what we are doing in the short term, and helps us align to our values. Doing lots of things in the short term which don’t have meaning for us nor take us where we want to be ultimately, run the risk of just being time and effort wasters. This is where the reflection and dialogue with a close friend or coach can help a person arrive at a working balance.
References and Sources of Information
http://www.anxieties.com/ setting up short term goals