Goal setting is an art

Goal setting has proven to help people to achieve more. At the start of a new decade (hooray and how scary how time flies) it makes sense to a lot of people to spend some time on goal setting. The question is how helpful that is. Does it expand your horizon, invite adventures into your life or does it make the mind narrow and the focus daunting?

Focussed goal setting

Georgie is an entrepreneur, who set up her own business a few years ago. She is doing well and attributed part of her success to goalsetting. She was the queen of it: goals for 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, monthly, weekly and daily. She thrived on the sense of direction it gave her and of course the moment she achieved her goals. That glorious moment of ‘yes, I did it’.

She had also set goals for her exercise in 2019: 5K in July, half a marathon in December. She planned her gym and running sessions in advance and was absolutely clear she would achieve what she set out to.

Georgie’s keywords are focus and organization.

But…. Life got in the way.

Her business was affected by personal circumstances; her mother got ill and after three months of care at home, she died. Georgie lost focus for at least a quarter of the year and it reflected in her business numbers.

While she kept up the running during the difficult times, she was faced with an ankle injury that took forever to heal. She managed the 5K but had to put her exercise regime on hold for the last bit of the year.

Georgie didn’t achieve her goals. Does that make her a failure?

Intuitive goal setting

Frankie is also an entrepreneur, who has been on the scene for a few years. Being successful and attributing part of her success to intuition. Whenever decisions needed to be made, she went into a meditation and connected with her heart. Whatever felt good, was the next step. She loved the way her business had naturally developed and all the surprises that had come her way.

Frankie had also set personal goals for 2019: she aimed to build more upper body strength, learn to swim and cycle more. She wanted to go to the gym at least once a week, booked a swimming course and planned a few cycling weekends with friends.

Frankie’s keywords are flow and imagination.

But…. Life got in the way.

Frankie lost her business partner (he moved abroad) and wasn’t able to continue her business in the way she used to. She had to find another way and it was hard to be on her own. It was challenging to keep trusting and following her instincts. But she did and set up a new organization in a totally different way.

During those difficult months, she made sure she channelled her frustration in the pool and the gym and after a few weekends of cycling, she felt good enough to put her name down for a mini-triathlon in December.

Frankie had to change her tune and focus. Is she a success?

Having met both of them, I thought about their attitude and perseverance. Could they have done better? Would there have been a way that might have helped them?

There is no doubt that Georgie’s focus and organization helped her, but it is all a bit practical. Thanks to her imagination and going with the flow, Frankie managed to completely change her business, but it took her a lot of time. How would it have been if she had had more structure and practical focus?

How to set decent and balanced goals

In describing your goals, apply SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) and then consider how the elements below fit into it. If you are just going for SMART goals you can become very rigid and practical, where the natural flow of ideas or life can really help you to reach the next level up.

SMART plus the 4 key elements:

  • Focus – what is your end result?
  • Flow – how could it be affected by the natural flow?
  • Organisation – which actions do I need to take?
  • Imagination – what else could I do?
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