Throughout my life I’ve had a mixed experience in relation to setting goals. I’ve tried numerous strategies but, until recently, none of them worked very well.
During the times I felt I should knuckle down and focus I set rigid goals that I tried to force myself to achieve, but unsurprisingly, I was never successful. Often these goals were so big, or so far in the future that I couldn’t relate what I was doing in the present to their eventual outcome. And there was always a big “should” connected to them which, inevitably, led to stress and resistance on my part.
Another approach was to break the goals down into manageable steps, a sort of mini-goal, and then focus on achieving each small step, one at a time. There were a couple of problems with this approach. One was, I still couldn’t really keep the connection with the big goal, even when I drew charts, plotted my progress and ticked boxes. The other problem was I often found myself at a completely different destination from the one I had intended, scratching my head and wondering how I got there. That, perhaps, was a big clue as to what was really going on.
A completely different approach was the one I followed in my “going with the flow” periods, a sort of anti goals setting method. Basically I sat around, completed abdicated responsibility for creating my life and used the fact that I achieved very little, as evidence for this relaxed approach not working. Relaxed? Ha! I was comatose.
So, since I’d spent many unsatisfying years spinning my wheels and getting nowhere fast I began to look more closely at the actual goals themselves and at the possibility of finding a happy medium. I think the fundamental problem with both approaches was that neither approach was strongly seated in my main life goals. My primary life goal is not about doing particular things or being a particular way but rather to consciously create my life so that each day is better than the last and each day I am better than I was the day before. (Not sure about the word “better”. Defining my primary life goal is a work in progress). Now there are a number of other goals that I think might contribute to that but I am not longer attached to them and am willing to drop/replace them if I disover they don’t contribute to my main goal.
One such goal is to create a prosperous coaching practice but I’m only willing to focus and put energy into that goal if it can be done in such a way that serves my bigger life goal. In order to create a life that really works for me it needs to be, amongst other things, fun and contain lots of unexpected moments. So building my coaching practice also needs to be fun and grow out of unplanned moments. The same is true for any goal I set myself. If it doesn’t support my primary life goal then there’s no point in setting it and this will lead to an improvement in my success rate.