Are you Setting the Right Goals?

NOT SETTING GOALS = Giving away your power

The number one role as a coach is for me to support my clients in achieving their goals. This obviously starts with helping them to determine their goals and by inspiring them to achieve them.

The best success when setting goals comes from seeking meaningful outcomes and by building confidence and self belief. This is so you start the journey knowing that you CAN and WILL achieve what you set out to achieve. 

Setting meaningful, inspiring and attainable goals will help minimise overwhelm and keep you motivated.


  1. Identify your Goals
  2. Ask yourself ‘Why do I want to achieve these specific goals?’
  3. Think about how you want your goals to make you feel?
  4. Make a Plan

All of this starts with the types of goals you set for yourself and understanding the deep why behind your desire to attain them. Without goals, your life will unfold by default, following the same old patterns. You’ll be heavily influenced by outside factors; family, friends and the pressures of society.

So what do you really want? Are you sure that the goals you’ve set for yourself, previously, are actually YOUR goals or have you been conditioned to think that you want something other than what you really want?

Or, if you have set goals that truly reflect what you want for yourself, have you scaled them back because you’ve been taught to believe that dreaming big is arrogant. Have you made your goals small because you believe that if they’re too big then you’re more likely to fail?

When setting our goals, it’s so important to consider all the possibilities but to consider them based in reality and not in the limiting beliefs that we have carried with us for so many years. Doing an exercise on your limiting beliefs will help you get real clarity on what you want and on how capable you actually are of achieving it.

It’s easy to say let’s sit down and identify your goals. But the reality is more complex as there are many facets to it; what do you want, why do you want it and how will it make you feel? Then, of course there’s the implications and consequences and what holds you back.

But firstly why set goals?

You wouldn’t set out on a journey with no idea of where you are going right? Wouldn’t you have more success in getting to your destination if you knew where that destination was? And wouldn’t you have a less stressful time trying to find it if you had a roadmap with turn by turn directions?

This is what goal setting gives you; a destination and the beginnings of a roadmap to get you there quickly and with ease.

Your subconscious mind is incredibly powerful and it will help you achieve any target you direct it towards. Try to see your mind as a tool.

Here’s a thought, something to keep in mind, when you get carried away with reactive thinking.

You are not your mind and you are not your thoughts, any more than you are your thumb. You can move and utilise your thumb in the same way that you can move and utilise your mind. Your subconscious is constantly working away, always looking for opportunities, people and information that will help you achieve your goal but you do first need to know what your goal is.

Consider this

Think about the last time you couldn’t remember the name of something; a person, a place, a film or a book and then it suddenly comes to you later, when you’re in the shower or walking down the street but why? This happens because you’ve given your brain a command.

There’s an incredibly small but incredibly powerful little nugget in the brain physiology called the Reticular Activating System. It’s found at the top of the brainstem stem. The sole purpose of this little gem is to filter information. It filters thousands of pieces of data every hour of every day. Everything we see, hear, touch, smell and taste is registered and filtered. Certain bits of information are registered as important and stored and or connected with other bits of data.

Essentially you’ve told the brain that this information is something you desire. So the Reticular Activating System or the RAS goes to work. It’s started looking for clues and information to uncover that specific piece of data in your memory. The sudden lightning strike moment when that piece of information finally arrives will have been triggered by something filtered through the RAS.

Another great example that I think we’ve all experienced is when you’re thinking about buying, let’s say, a red BMW and suddenly you start seeing that very same car everywhere you go. And you never ever noticed it before! This is the RAS working its magic. You’ve told the brain this particular colour and brand of car is important to you so it now filters out anything that may be connected and relevant.

And it does this with no conscious input from us other than to decide that it’s important. So by identifying your goals and writing them down or by creating a visual stimulus like a vision board, you’re telling your brain that this is something you strongly desire.

That’s not to say that your subconscious is now going to do all the work, you still have to make the conscious decisions but by giving such commands to your subconscious you’ll find that you start to ‘see’ or notice more and more things that will help you get there.

STEP ONE | Identify your Goals

This is the fun part. I want you to be as crazy, grandiose and unrealistic as you like here and brain dump everything you want in life. The big dreams and unrealistic ideas will give you insight into what you really want, when you look hard enough.

So identify your goals and write them down. Even better, create a vision board!

Think about;

  1. Personal Goals
  2. Experiences you want to have
  3. Emotional experiences
  4. Personality or personal growth goals
  5. Places you want to go to
  6. Objects you would like to have
  7. Career goals
  8. Relationship goals
  9. Anything you want for yourself

STEP TWO | Ask yourself ‘Why do I want to achieve these specific goals?’

Have you ever set a goal and then not been motivated enough to follow it through? Been distracted by every little thing along the way? Or fallen at the first hurdle?

You’re not alone in this. But when this becomes a repeated pattern, it can have a detrimental effect on the self esteem. Essentially when we set these types of goals, we are setting ourselves up for failure, repeatedly. But when we set meaningful, attainable goals then we set ourselves up for success. And what it comes down to having a big enough reason why.

You need to have a big enough reason to follow through on your goals. The reason has to be a significant driving force, something that really pulls you towards it. This is so, in those moments, when you feel you might falter you, instead, feel a drive to carry on.

So I would love for you to look back through your goal setting brain dump and pick out the five most important goals to you. Write them on a separate piece of paper.

Really consider what it is, about these specific goals, that you REALLY want. What is the value in each one? Is it to feel more secure financially? Is it freedom that your crave? Do you desire a sense of status with that snazzy new car and big house or is it to feel like you and life have value. Is it a sense of purpose you’re seeking? Really think about what it is that’s important to you in achieving these goals and write it down.

STEP THREE | Think about how you want your goals to make you feel?

The idea of a goal is that it moves us from one place to another. This new place is often a place of happiness or, at the very least, it’s an improvement on where we are right now. We have goals because we want something better for ourselves and whilst we may say that the goal is purely pragmatic; I want to have a nicer car. There are always emotions involved. The nicer car may represent status which can elevate our perceived value of ourselves.

So write down all the ways you want to feel once you’ve achieved your goal and imagine yourself feeling that way. Visualise your life as you want it to be and imagine yourself there now. What can you see, hear and smell? How does it look and feel, what emotions does it stir? Does it make you smile to think about your life, exactly as you want it?

Now there are those who have resistance to achieving their goals and this is a whole other route of exploration but it’s an important one so if you find you have any uncomfortable feelings when visualising your future then I’d love to hear from you.

This can be down to; lack of self belief (I will never get there, it’s not real), lack of self worth (I don’t deserve that life) and even lack of self empowerment (I will never make that happen because I don’t have the resources, money, people, opportunities). But these are all mindset blocks rather than being real, objective reasons why you cannot achieve your goals and so they can be worked on and overcome.

STEP FOUR | Make a Plan

One of the bigger reasons why we don’t follow through on our goals is that we have no clear process and no roadmap. This is why it’s vital to make a plan of action. It will need to be well thought out and realistic about what’s possible so you aren’t setting yourself up to fall at the first hurdle.

You’ve done the big dreams exercise which allowed you the freedom to uncover what was really important to you. This is the more practical aspect of goal setting where we look at the reality of what’s achievable and when.

It’s not about poo pooing the big dreams. This activity is about balance and grounding. The big dreams are equivalent to building the structure of the house you’d like to live in, in your mind’s eye. These, more realistic goals, provide the tangible substance of the house.

So the next step is to make a plan, so in this final part you’re going to start plotting a timeline for the goals you wish to achieve. Plot a timeline from now to three years time and plan out your most important goals. Set your three year goal first and describe it in vivid detail (lots of exciting describing words). Then plot the rest of your goals back from that point. Think about your two year goals, your one year goals, your 6,3 and 1 months goals and plan them out in an achievable timeline of events.

This entire process works for career specific goals too so you can do the whole process again with goals that are specific to your business and I recommend you do this. The reasons I start with the bigger picture is because it’s important to understand the goals you have outside of your work as this creates the framework within which your career goals nestle.

Knowing what you want on a larger scale, understanding what’s important to you will create perspective and get you in closer touch with your values and your deepest desires. Once you’ve identified these factors you’ll find your careers goals will become more aligned and more meaningful.

Remember, a life without goals doesn’t get you very far.

I hope you’ve found this incredibly useful and that you now feel like you have a clear way forward. If you’d like more help identifying the right goals for you so you set yourself up with success to achieve them then hit the contact button and book in a COMPLIMENTARY DISCOVERY CALL

Interesting resources

“Why the secret to success is setting the right goals” TED Talk by John Doerr

“The most powerful way to reprogram your subconscious mind to get what you want” Marissa Peers