top of page

Goals Got You Down?

Key Takeaways:

1. Goals are for motivation not self-criticism.

2. Interpret results with an attitude of learning not losing.

Conventional wisdom understands goal setting as motivation for achieving one’s dreams. Goals are helpful tools that allow us to reverse engineer needed steps to move us from our present situation toward our desired future. As a coach, I help my clients clarify goals that help them move forward. Jim LeDoux of Vibrant Faith Ministries, a mentor and friend, likes to say, “If a client doesn’t experience forward movement within a coaching relationship, then it isn’t coaching.”

Yet when we allow our goals to become our masters we become emotionally enslaved to the results of our efforts. We focus on the future result at the expense of living in the present moment. Goals place additional pressure on us and, if we let them, may morph from a source of motivation into a source of anxiety and self-criticism.

How do we balance the beneficial aspect of goal setting and its ability to focus our energy with the need to experience joy in the present moment and celebrate progress made?

Have Circumstances Changed?

With goals, it’s important to include a regular feedback loop to allow adjustment based on new information or circumstances. This feedback includes reflection on both external and internal factors. Have circumstances beyond your control changed in ways that impact your stated goal (External)? Examples include changes in economics, employment, or relationships. Have life experiences impacted how you feel about the goal (Internal)? Examples include a changing value system or awareness of new priorities.

If information received from a feedback loop gets you thinking, “I should have known or I could have tried - ,” remember not to criticize yourself for the decisions you made before you had this new information. The younger you did their best with the information they had at the time! Silence your inner judge with a heavy dose of self-compassion. If you’re struggling with this, look at a picture of yourself from your childhood. That child meant you no harm!

Learning not Losing

Goals are a tool to get us moving toward our preferred future – they are the means to an end not the end.

Failure is success in progress. Albert Einstein

Expand your definition of success. Rather than a limited quantifiable approach like the number of new clients or increase in receipts, consider other beneficial outcomes from your efforts. What have you learned in the process? What new insights have you gathered about yourself or potential customers? What questions are you asking? Who have you met that may offer support going forward? How might you celebrate the courage you displayed in pursuing the goal in the first place?

Document these learnings and celebrate them! Refine your goals and keep taking action.

Good Goals

A healthy perspective to goals balances the twin forces of perseverance and adaptability. We don’t give up at the slightest difficulty and we don’t keep hitting our heads against the wall when things aren’t working out. Keeping goals in perspective with timely feedback loops, an attitude of curiosity, and a sense of discovery will ensure every goal moves you forward, sometimes in surprising ways.

Keep thriving.


12 views1 comment

1 comentario

Tommy Smith
Tommy Smith
02 jul 2023

Great post, I've been struggling with this exact thing. Goals have been dominating my life and have been keeping me from living in the moment.

Me gusta
bottom of page