Goal setting- does it work for you? Here is a kinder alternative

Goal setting- does it work for you?

Everyone these days seems to be goal setting like mad. Goals for your personal life, your business life, even your sex life. If you work for a living you are probably set annual goals, maybe quarterly, monthly or even daily.

And we are taught that our goals have to be SMART, then someone developed SMARTR, then SMARTER and so on. Plus we are then trained to make these goals powerfully sensory, golden and exciting so they can be placed into our future timeline and will be so attractive that we will want to work towards them.

Problem is, this doesn’t work for everyone.

Our goals can become a series of obstacles, a series of never-ending struggles to achieve. We are thankfully all different, and for some people, goals can become a constant source of pressure. I bet you someone has told you about elephant steaks. If you were asked to eat a whole elephant, you would exclaim ‘I can’t do that!’. But if you ate the elephant one steak at a time, you would get there in the end. But for some people, even while they are doing this, they are still looking at the elephant and thinking ‘This isn’t possible.’

If you are one of these people, you may have found that goals don’t work for you. In fact, they have the opposite effect because as you fail to achieve each one, it just becomes evidence of failure, which holds you back even more.

I am one of those people.

But there is an alternative: Values Led Direction.

So for this process, see your life as a journey, across rolling green hills, and along a path that is straight in places and winding in others. You know what your destination is, you know what you need to do to get there, so all you need to do is follow those values and behaviours and you will make it. Sometimes you may have to stop and rest, sometimes you may take a wrong turn, but just follow the values and behaviours you know you need to reach the end. It’s not a race, it’s a journey.

I have a powerful goal I need to achieve. I used to see that in my mind as a mountain to be climbed. I set goals for each stage of the climb. Sounds OK, but it was still a damn big mountain. My friends and colleagues I saw as my sherpas, pushing and prodding me up the steep bits, making sure I didn’t fall.

With Values Led Direction, I have a pleasant journey now through lovely rolling countryside. The path is just the things I know I need to do to get to the destination. I have allowed for setbacks, but I know that after a setback all I have to do is get back on the path. The team of supporters I have are no longer trying to manhandle me up a mountain, they are companions and friends on a journey, some of them will leave during the trip, and more will arrive. It is going to be relaxed, fun and yet progress will be made.

By all means have a goal, but there are other ways of getting there other than the straitjacket of Goal Setting. SMART goals are great and work well, but they aren’t the only answer.