What is a goal? Why would anyone make one? Goals often seem scary to those who don’t make them. Sometimes they can seem overwhelming, constrictive, unclear, pointless, token, or scary. But only to those who don’t really know how to go about setting a great goal! It’s one of my passions and I love supporting people to achieve a fabulous goal they’ve created, with enthusiasm and energy.
Well, this will be a series of posts about goals. Firstly, my favourite definition of a GOAL is
“something you intend to achieve by your own actions”.
It’s important to break this down a little. The beginning is fairly self-explanatory – something you want to achieve. We’ll see in another post how to be more specific about this. It’s the end phrase I want to focus on now. The goal will be achieved by what you DO (or actions), and these actions need to be within your control. Many a goal has seemed to fail because the goal itself relied on others to do things towards it’s completion. Do you have control over what someone else does? No! Firstly, you cannot make a goal for another person. Secondly, even if they agree 100% with their part in your goal, do you want your goal to be reliant on someone else to “succeed”?
Let me give you an example… The goal ‘my children will behave better in public’ has several flaws, however the one we are looking at is that in order for this goal to be “achieved”, your children actually need to behave better in public… and do you have control over this? Far better for you to set a goal around YOUR OWN ACTIONS when your children are out in public with you, or beforehand and after if you decide to set the scene and provide feedback/rewards. Do you have control over THIS? A big resounding YES!! You can certainly consider what YOU will be doing to teach/promote/facilitate behaviour in this senario. Limit setting, following through, discussing expected behaviour, praising, requesting same or different etc are all things YOU can do (age dependent of course). Your goals can be achieved, even if your children are not 100% well behaved. Plus, you get the benefit of seeing how your behaviour influences theirs, and what works/doesn’t.
Another example is saving money with another person: ‘we’ll save $1000 over the next 6 months’ relies on someone else for it to be considered “achieved”. Switch it around to be purely about what YOU will be doing. This can still be a shared total savings goal, but you gauge achievement by whether YOUR COMPONENT is saved ie I will contribute $500 of our $1000 savings goal by putting away x every fortnight for the next 12 pays. You can tick yours off even if your partner doesn’t quite make their half.
Key Point: Goals need to be achievable by you. By what YOU do – or in some cases, don’t do!
Mini-tasks: a. Have you ever had a goal that relied on others for it’s achievement? In retrospect, how else could you have planned it, so it was reliant purely on your own actions? b. Is there something you’re working on at the moment? Do a quick check-in to see if it fits this strategy.