Goal Setting - The Journey
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jane Kershaw MBACP
15th October, 2010
People are telling us all the time to set Goals and all will be well, our lives improved etc. But what does it mean to set a Goal? When we’ve set it, how do we achieve it? Do we now just sit and wait or maybe wave a magic wand, to see our Goal miraculously materialise before us, all completed and our lives transformed?
Goal Setting is actually talking about the end of a journey that we undertake, our Goal is the target we hope to hit at the end of the journey. Make no mistake, it is about taking action. So, any journey involves taking steps. Thankfully with having set a Goal, we at least now know the direction we need to be heading to reach it. Some Goals, like journeys, take a short while, a hop on the Bus and we’re there, others might involve more time and more tasks involved.
Preparation and planning are the key when planning a journey, even a quick trip to the corner shop involves checking we have our house keys and purse or wallet. Goal achieving, which is the step after Goal setting involves preparation and planning, these are the first of your actions.
What do you need to do to achieve your Goal? What tasks or actions are involved? What time frame are you hoping to complete by? What assists you and what blocks you? How can you get past the blocks? Would you stop your journey to a holiday destination if there were problems on the road? Would you turn round and go home because you had hit a red light? At what point would you consider giving up such a journey? I suspect for many of us it would have to be something huge to put us off getting to that holiday destination and all our hopes and aspirations surrounding that week or two we have worked and planned for all year. Yet many of us give up at even the smallest perceived obstacle to achieving our Goals. So often our Goals are even bigger and better than our two week holiday away and yet we often invest very little of ourselves in achieving them. We often do not pursue them with any of the planning and preparation we put into the most insignificant task that we might undertake everyday. Is it any wonder that we fail?
We fail to break down our Goals into tasks or steps to make the goal achievable. Do we set unachievable Goals? How will we know if we do not invest time and energy into getting them. Break the Goal down into the smallest steps possible. Planning a trip or holiday involves getting the brochures or travel times etc. We often forget the small first steps we take. We often do not notice because they are so familiar. We naturally check if our passport is in date, what the exchange rate is etc. These are all the small building blocks for a trip and a goal starts with just the same small building blocks upon which you achieve success.
Action for the month
Take notice of how you break down even the simplest of tasks.
Make a note of the steps involved in the most mundane activity.
Consider a Goal you might have been putting off because it seemed too difficult or unachievable. What might be the very first steps?
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