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Struggling to achieve your goals? Here's why and what you can do to about it

career development goals Sep 15, 2020

Ever struggled to achieve a goal?

You're not alone. Goal setting is a great way to keep your end point in mind while you work towards it. Goals are concrete and fixed. They are like crossing the finish line - the race is only finished when you've got to that point. The actual definition of the word goal is an 'aim or desired result', something you achieve or don't.

Setting goals work well for things with clearly defined objectives. You plan the steps and move from one to the next, ticking them off as you go. With each tick, your brain rewards you with a hit of dopamine and you power on. Great on a day to day basis.

But for the bigger challenges and goals; getting that raise at work, hitting that bonus, achieving that healthier lifestyle - when the path isn't so clear and life gets in the way I want to share a suggestion of a different approach and thats called "Setting a Pledge". It's about having an intention; 'something that you want and plan to do' and making a choice; a decision that has focus and direction. The combination of intention and choice creates a process that you go through until you've reached the end result. This process takes all the struggle and disappointment out of goal setting and changes it into something much better.

An intention will give you the persistence and resilience that you need to keep going. Motivation only lasts for so long, and when that runs out you need to dig a little deeper for the stuff you need.

A choices will give you the power to take responsibility and commit. It changes 'I want' into 'I will' and as soon as willingness comes into play you have a stronger force behind your intention.

Another reason to give 'Setting a Pledge' a go?

When you achieve a goal, you may celebrate for a moment but it's very likely that you'll immediately get thinking about your next goal. It's less likely that you'll reflect back through every tiny win or thing learned on your path to this goal. You focus on the outcome more than enjoying life itself along the way. Goals are great when you need to get something specific done. But they can also be a trap, often making you focus on empty things, and neglecting to learn from the highs and lows that are what life is about.

With a Pledge, there isn't a specific timeline or path, but there's a commitment to keep going to get there and you have to pay attention to each moment that you're working towards the outcome. It's constant reflection, evaluation and awareness about what it is that you're doing, and how it's working for you. And with every step you take forwards, you're living it already! You're using what you've learned and it doesn't matter what the end result looks like, or when it happens because you're growing and reaping the benefits already. It keeps it in your present and that is so key. You know that your immediate actions have an effect on the outcome and so you become more aware of they way you behave moment to moment.

So how do you Set a Pledge?

I like to call it making a pledge to yourself because it's about a promise to yourself, it's about really having that heart felt conversation with yourself to fully commit to this and go for it. It requires courage, it means you need to focus your energy and make a commitment to yourself and take full responsibility for all the consequences of what you want.

1. Take a sheet of paper and at the top write down your choice

2. Write down why it is important to you - this is about looking at your values and perspectives and getting the answer to why really supports you when you feel you are going off track

3. Write down how your life will look when you have got to where you want to get. Add in thoughts and feelings that you will be having. Imagine yourself living this. Create a picture.

4. Write down any limiting beliefs/fears that may get in the way of you making your choice a reality.

5. Write down how your life will look if you don't make this choice.

Aim to follow these point:

  • Make sure you're clear on why it is important to you
  • Make sure it connects to your values and perspectives
  • Make it part of a wider goal
  • Use positive language
  • Bring feeling into it

Most importantly, make the choice and jump in because that's one of the biggest differences between a work life thats okay compared to one that lights you up - either you make choices and go for your intentions or life chooses them for you. What is it going to be? Ready?

I would love to support you to 'Set a Pledge' reach out to me via email and tell me what goal you are struggling with [email protected] Alex x

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