The reason we look to set goals is that we want something. This might be a want for change (a new job or promotion), to grow a capability or to feel fulfilled. Ultimately, we hope for something better.
Hope has an important role because it believes in a better future. It wants life to change, it believes in growth and the fulfilment of your potential. Even with hope we sometimes push it to one side and continue the status quo. If, however, we listen to the voice of our hope we can find a vision for how we want our life and career to be.
The hope you have has a specific end in mind. Psychologists call this journey with a specific end, Hope Theory. It is a process of thinking that translates into action. Focusing on hope in action has been attributed to improved performance and wellbeing because it promotes the success of goal achievement.
The goal must be authentic.
Demotivation occurs if your actions are not aligned with your values. This is because the outcome of the activity lacks meaning to you. This results in you feeling internally conflicted stimulating negative emotions. Additionally, if the actions do not play to and build on your strengths, your energy can become depleted.
Determine the steps involved.
To make a goal achievable you need to explore it in a little more detail. For example, if you see yourself changing jobs, what exactly is the job you envisage? Be specific about what that job is and consider what tasks you need to undertake to make it happen. Perhaps you need to mind-map job options, assess if there is a skills gap, update your CV and prepare interview questions.
Think about the practical things you could do that are within your influence. For instance, what actions could you achieve towards your goal this month, in the next 6-months, over a year? These steps become the steppingstones towards achieving your goal.
Prepare for obstacles.
For each step, you have identified explore what the potential obstacles might be. If you take CV writing, an obstacle might be procrastination because you feel that writing is not your strength. What could you do to overcome this? An option could be to get a CV writing professional to do the job for you. You might already know this will be a problem, in this case, plan to delegate this task at the outset. Obstacles will surface and having a plan of solutions will help you act quickly and not delay success.
Manage your goals in small steps.
From your list of activities, what do you think you can complete within the next 3-months? It is easy to get carried away and be ambitious and over-stretch yourself. Have self-compassion and decide what is reasonable given your job and other responsibilities.
Use the 3-month plan to help you list weekly activities. Give yourself a new list each week, perhaps choose a task a day to complete. There is a real feel-good factor in ticking items off a list. Once you come to the end of the 3-month period, go back to your goal, and assess what is achievable to complete in the subsequent 3-month period.
Authentic goal setting and maintenance is where Aim comes into play as the fifth step in the COURAGE Model of Change©. It answers the question “what do I want?” and sets the direction towards a meaningful career.
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