What’s the one goal you’ve left on the shelf? The goal you think is out of your reach; that you’ll never be able to achieve. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, do something better or perhaps you’ve set a goal and you’re not making the progress you’d like towards it. Two of the critical benefits of coaching are self-reflection and perspective. But, with the right focus and determination, you can coach yourself to achieving goals.
This weekend, book some time on your own. Grab a pen and paper – and a hot cup of tea helps too – and work through these six steps.
Step 1: Define your goal
- What is your goal and what would it feel like to achieve it?
- How would you know when you’ve achieved it?
- How would you measure your success?
Make your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). It is a good idea to think about scaling your goal to enable you to see progress. For example, if you want to get fit and you will do that by walking you might scale your goal – a target of three times per week which you’d be happy about and a stretch goal of five times per week.
Step 2: Be clear about your motivation
- Why is this important to you?
- What difference would it make to you if you achieved this goal?
- On a scale of 1-10, with ten being the most important – how important is this goal to you?
Ditch the goal if your score is less than 8!
Step 3: Assess your current situation
- What are the gaps between your future ideal state and now?
- What progress have you already made towards this goal?
- What made these things work?
- What have you tried before that hasn’t worked? Why didn’t it work?
Leveraging your strengths has been proven to help you achieve complex goals, and it is much more enjoyable than patching our weaknesses. If you’d like to learn more about your strengths, click here for a free assessment.
Step 4: Brainstorm your options
- What options do you have to achieve your goal?
- Imagine you are someone who you respect – what options would they give you?
- What’s the craziest option there is to achieve this goal?
Consider what criteria you will use to assess your options or even do simple pros and cons to decide which option to action.
Step 5. Build your action plan
- Build a specific, time-framed action plan that is realistic and motivates you.
- Plan for how to overcome barriers that arise.
- Leverage your strengths in achieving your goals.
- Small steps can make a huge difference – it creates positive momentum.
If making an action plan seems too hard, what small actions can you take towards this goal? And, set yourself a reward if you realise your goals – even consider having rewards for achieving specific milestones – some progress is better than no progress! Ask a friend or colleague to hold you accountable – you’re more likely to achieve your goal if someone is asking you about your progress.
Step 6: Relapse and get back on the horse
- If you stall or fall, use this as an opportunity to review your goal, reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t; refine and recommit.
Research says that we can relapse up to eight times before we make a lasting change. Now that you know, you can plan for what you’ll do when you stumble.
Be compassionate with yourself; there’ll be days when you’re on fire; they’ll be days where you wonder if you’ll ever achieve your goal. That is normal. If you start to doubt yourself, ask yourself this: what is the one small step I could take towards my goal? This will always keep you heading the right direction and will give you a burst of motivation to keep moving forward.