We love talking about goals. But, as the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
And when it comes to self-coaching, putting too much emphasis on the goal can lead to disappointment, frustration, and giving up.
The problem with our goals is that we feel really good after setting them. But setting goals doesn’t take us anywhere.
For example, think about a weight loss goal. Let’s say that a client named Suzie want’s to lose 20 pounds in 2 months. No problem. Right? It’s specific. It’s time-based. It’s realistic.
But just imagine that every single day, Suzie focuses on her goal of losing 20 pounds by her deadline of 2 months.
A week goes by. Each day, she thinks about losing 20 pounds.
Seven weeks to go until her deadline.
Then another week goes by; seven more days of thinking about losing 20 pounds.
Six weeks until the deadline.
You can see where this is going.
Just focusing on the goal isn’t going to get Suzie 20 pounds lighter.
What does she need?
She needs a system of daily actions that she can focus on.
If I were coaching with Suzie, after setting her 20 pound weight loss goal, we would immediately move into designing the system which would get her moving toward her goal.
Then Suzie could focus on the system every single day and not the goal.
Sure, we would plan some check-ins to assess her progress and make sure the system is working. Then adjust it, if needed, and keep going.
The lesson: Focus on the system, not the goal.
Setting goals is super important. But let’s be real: you already knew what you wanted.
The system is the most important part.
Here are some self-coaching questions I’ve designed for you to use to create a system to support you in reaching your goal.
When I reach my goal, what will I be doing differently which will have led me to reaching the goal?
Between now and that date, what are the big things that I must accomplish and when will I have to have those big things done?
What are the daily things that I must accomplish?
What might be some of the best ways I can hold myself accountable to taking those daily action steps?
What is a reasonable amount of time for me to start to notice concrete progress toward my goal?
When and how might I best assess that progress?