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Goals are for Setting and Forgetting

Given that I coach for a living, you might expect me to be passionate about goal setting and I am; just not the kind of goal setting that limits opportunities. You know the kind I mean: where you set your sights on something and remain so focused on the destination goal that you’re blinkered to the many potential alternative routes that you pass along the way. Or, maybe you become so distracted by what appear to be exciting twists and turns that you lose sight of the ultimate destination. There is an optimum middle ground, which is to have enough clarity to get started on your journey and to leave the blinkers off and engage your peripheral vision.

What about those of you who have striven to acquire a long-desired goal only to be left with a sense of emptiness, the success hollow now that it has finally arrived? That often applies to material possessions which can seem like a worthy cause when we put our stake in the ground but don’t always bring the same degree of pleasure once we’ve acquired them.

My advice is that you set your longer-term goals and don’t look back. Write them down somewhere so that you can be blown away when you revisit them a year later; and discover you have achieved all the ones that remained important to you. Then put them to the back of your mind.

Goals are for setting and forgetting; consciously anyway. Your unconscious mind loves a task and will work tirelessly in the background to ensure you reach your desired outcomes. Of course that can’t happen if you don’t determine what you want in the first place!

As an exercise it doesn’t need to take very long either. You will have short-term goals that either get done quite quickly or get discarded as no longer relevant or desired. You will probably also have some milestone goals which mark out stages on your journey toward some larger outcome.

However, for the big, life changing destination goals I would encourage you to set aside a whole day – yes a whole day – just twice a year to work on these. I know people who take themselves off to an inspirational setting to do this exercise, perhaps in a different city or even country to that in which they live and work to think about what they want for the coming 12 months and beyond. If you can’t yet justify doing that, then ask someone to act as a sounding board and to play ‘Angels advocate’ whilst you wax lyrical about what is possible for you in business and in life.

Whatever your strategy for goal setting, make sure you do it justice because you’ll be living out the consequences of your decisions over the coming months whether you realise it or not. A couple of days a year taken out of your busy schedule is small price to pay given that you’ll most likely achieve your goals without much further active thought. I can’t think of a more efficient or effective use of time, can you?

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

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