Goal Setting: The secret to follow-through

  • A common difficulty   Goal setting

Do you set goals, but find follow-through hard?

Maybe in the past you’ve put a lot of thought into your goals, written them down, thought you were clear about the changes you wanted to make, and what you wanted to achieve. And yet for some unknown reason, somewhere along the way your enthusiasm seems to wane and you start running out of steam. The determination that you possessed when you first commenced the journey seems to have turned into frustration and you wonder why you bothered setting those goals anyway. You think to yourself that it was such a pointless exercise. Has this ever happened to you?

Many people that set goals for themselves find it difficult to follow through and actually achieve them. If you are struggling in any way to stay committed to your goals, then you are probably searching for some insight into why!

  • So, what stops you ?

Some of the most common internal obstacles that can get in the way of goal achievement for people can include …..

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of success
  3. Lack of self-belief and poor self-confidence
  4. It all gets too hard, and the gain doesn’t seem worth the effort
  5. Getting side-tracked and losing focus

You might like to have a look at Positive Thinking which offers some good tips to address some of these issues, as well as a great article on Building Self-Confidence

Another common reason can be that the goal you set yourself doesn’t turn out to be what you were really looking for in the first place. This can be because you hadn’t quite clarified within yourself the “need” that the goal would fulfil.

  • A sense of purpose behind the goal is imperative

For example, imagine you set yourself a financial goal of increasing your savings by $5,000 over the next 6 months. So as part of your savings plan, you start working overtime, and also start cutting back on your discretionary spending. After 3 months, you find that you’re well on track to accomplishing your goal – having saved about half the amount of your target. But now you/re finding that the overtime is something you’re dreading, and you resent not being able to go out to dinner when you feel like it. In fact, you slip back into your old ways and no longer experience any desire or commitment to return to your savings plan.

This sort of story is reflective of someone who set a goal, but there was no purpose behind it. By that I mean, what were you going to actually do with the $5,000 that you saved. Put it towards obtaining a housing loan, or use it to fund an overseas trip. Without a driving purpose behind the savings goal, it was less likely that you could continue to persevere with sustained effort and sacrifice.

  • In summary

Keep up the practice of setting yourself goals, and writing them down by all means. It is important to have a sense of direction. But also ask yourself “Why do I want to achieve this?” and seek to crystallise the deeper need that will be met by achieving the goal. In doing so, you may also find this opens up your thinking to other ways this need can be satisfied. You may recognise the initial goal you set yourself is but one means to accomplish what you really desire.

About PerformanceDevelopment

I am a qualified psychologist, and established my corporate training business, Performance Development, more than twenty years ago in Melbourne, Australia. We focus upon Leadership Skills development and helping people to develop the capabilities and confidence they need to get the best out of themselves.
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