Recently we have been exploring how to create new habits with our Executive Coach, Louise Otton. But before you can create a new habit, it’s important to set clear, actionable goals around what you really want to achieve.
September is a great time for change and putting into place new goals. Even as adults, we often still associate this with the return to school, a new term and new beginnings. So why not start today?
What are meaningful goals?
When it comes to goal setting, some of us can be left feeling a little cold!
Perhaps, in the past you have had to set work-related goals around performance objectives that are not aligned with your own vision and values. Or you maybe still carry around a feeling of dread, from having to work towards an academic goal that was put upon you, rather than it being something you choose to do.
We call these extrinsic goals, which are goals that are put upon us by external factors and may have little meaning to us. If goals are forced upon you by extrinsic or external circumstances and you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should do’ them, the motivation to achieve them will be much lower. Of course, we cannot avoid external pressures in our personal or professional lives, but we can look at how to reframe them to find a way to make them more meaningful to us.
When coaching clients Louise encourages them to explore what their intrinsic goals are. Intrinsic goals are goals which come from within us and are something which we desire and understand the purpose and meaning behind it.
We know that behaviour change and creating new habits takes time and dedication, so in order to commit to your goals the motivation behind them needs to come from an internal desire (intrinsic). Following that, the actions need to be realistic and achievable.
How to create meaningful goals
At Law 365, Louise has taken us through a simple goal setting exercise, to help us think clearly about our goals, the motivation behind them and how they align with the factors that stimulate action and maintain well-being.
- Write down your top three current goals
- Read these goals back to yourself
- Are your goals extrinsic (i.e. things you should or must do) or intrinsic (things you want or love to do)?
- Where would you rate them on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extrinsic and 10 being intrinsic?
- If your goals are more extrinsic, how can you rewrite them to make them more intrinsic? E.g. I want to / I would love to….
- Think about what is the real intent behind your goals that make them more purposeful for you.
- Also think about whether your goals are working towards a desired outcome rather than away from an undesired outcome. If you work towards a desired outcome it is associated with much greater performance, greater optimism and success.
- Re-write your goals so they are more intrinsic and purposeful to you
Refer back to these goals regularly to check-in and to see how much you have achieved. If you have not achieved your goals, can you reflect on what might have got in the way? If you have achieved them, reflect on what went well and how can you do more of this?
Setting goals is the easy part, actually showing up and taking-action towards your them every is the challenge. This is where a coach can play a valuable role in holding you accountable for your commitment to action.