Goal Setting - Part 1

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 02-05-2012

How to set 'authentic goals' rather than goals that you or someone else think you should want...

How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution and not stuck to it? For example “I’m going to exercise more and join the gym!” but by the third week in January, you’ve already stopped going and that £500 gym membership sits gathering dust?

Have you ever thought why so many New Year’s resolutions are forgotten half way through January? Some valid answers could be:

  • The goal isn’t really something you want, it’s something you (or you mum, dad, spouse, teacher etc) think you should want. It’s not in line with your true self – what you really want from your life.
  • ‘Life’ gets in the way … “I’m too busy at work … I have to look after the kids … I’ve got housework to do” etc.
  • You set goals that you think you can achieve, rather than the goals you really want. You may perceive the goals that you’d really love to reach are too hard to achieve.
  • You think you should settle or compromise or you can’t have what you really want, “It’s alright for other people, but I can’t be/do/have that because ...”

Are Your Goals Authentic?

One way to determine whether the goal is an authentic one ie one that you really want and is in harmony with who you really are is to answer the question:

If you knew that you couldn’t fail, what would be your goal(s)?

Asking yourself that question usually raises some interesting answers.

When I’m working with a client on their goals, I always ask that question. I ask it very early on, usually in the first session, if I don’t I could end up working with a client on a goal that they don’t really want. After digging around for a bit, asking very pointed questions, the answer is inevitably along the lines of:

  • “I’d love to do ???, but ....”
  • “I’d love to be a ???, but ...”
  • “I’d love own a ???, but ...”
  • “I’d love to own my own company but ...”

That “but” is the key for me. That’s the bit I like to work with and as I scrap away, getting right underneath that “but”, it usually comes down to one of 9 things:

  • Lack of Information
  • Lack of Skill
  • Beliefs (“I just can’t do it ... I’ve always been told I’ll never succeed”)
  • Wellbeing
  • Other people
  • Motivation
  • Time
  • Money
  • FEAR

If you can identify EXACTLY what it is that you want and what’s stopping you achieving it, you’re half way there. Once you identify the blockers (and that may mean working it through with a coach), you’ll usually find that they aren’t blockers at all and your goals will be easier to reach than you ever imagined.


Take a look at the goals you've had in the past - actually write them down. 

  1. Identify if that was an authentic goal or was it soemthing that you think or someone else thought you should want?  If it wasn't an authentic goal, let it go and think of something that you really do want.
  2. If it was an authentic goal or using your new goal, identify which of the 9 things listed above stopped or could stop you from achieving your goal. 
  3. Once you've identified what's stopping you, list all the things that you can do to overcome that obstacle.  There are always ways around things, we just have to try.
  4. Take some consistent action.  A goal is impotent if you don't take action towards it's attainment and it's important to take that first step as soon as you identify the actions available.

How to achieve your goals

So few people actually achieve there goals.  The difference between those that do:

  1. Their goals are authentic
  2. They have a deadline
  3. They have a plan
  4. They take consistent action and review their plan constantly, making tweaks where appropriate

In Goal Setting Part 2 I discuss how to achieve you goals.  If you need help with your goal setting and achieving your goals, please contact us for a free, no obligation consultation on how we can help you.


JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.

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