9 Questions to Ask Yourself About Goal Success
Goals energize us. They direct us and help us get going when the going gets tough. They represent our efforts to achieve personal change and gain an enhanced sense of meaning. They influence how we behave and experience our lives and they are linked to our well-being. It makes sense that they are often placed at the centre of a coaching conversation. However, one needs to be mindful of the perils of goal-obsession. Since the coaching process has been found to be an important component of effective goal progress, here are 9 questions to ask yourself about goals that will set you up for better success.
9 questions to ask yourself that will enhance goal success
1. Is this really my goal?
First things first. Is this really your goal? Is it what you want or following someone else’s desire for you? Are you doing this for yourself or are you finishing someone else’s unfinished business?
2. Is my goal personally meaningful?
Our goals need to be aligned with what we personally value, associated with growth, connectedness and autonomy as well as satisfying intrinsic needs (known as self-concordant goals).
3. Is my goal positively stated?
Ensure that you have stated your goal in terms of what you want to achieve rather than what you want avoid. You want to channel your efforts towards a desired goal rather than away an unpleasant one. Are you moving towards what you want or away from what you don’t?
4. Am I stating the beginning of the process, not just the end result?
Focusing on the end-state result is not telling you what to do to accomplish it. It doesn’t propel you into motion and it is action leads to success. Imagining yourself in a new job is not as effective as committing to sending 10 CVs and calling a specific number of people in your network on a daily basis.
5. Does my goal involve a sense of difficulty?
Achieving goals that we consider difficult increase our sense of satisfaction and success. Not only do we feel good but we’ll also face our next goal with added confidence. This is also linked to the importance of our goal promoting a sense of accomplishment and advancement.
6. Am I exploring and employing my strengths?
Strengths-use strengthens well-being, motivation, positive affect and persistence all of which increase the prospects of successful goal attainment. Obviously, your first step is to identify your strengths!
7. Am I self-disciplined?
Regulating your mind and emotions are an important aspect of goal success. Assess your self-regulation skills and if they are lacking, find ways to strengthen them. You need them to follow a daily regime and form habits that will lead you to where you want to go.
8. Have I planned for potential pitfalls?
Expect the unexpected and be prepared for the worst-case scenario. This has nothing to do with pessimism. On the contrary. You link potential pitfalls with actions that will surpass them and lead to goal attainment.
9. Am I assessing my goal progress regularly?
Last but not least, do not forget to assess your progress. Evaluating the results of each step will shape the next step you need to take. Turn goal process into a learning process and a future resource.
Keep in mind that achieving goals is not simply about performance, productivity or a fleeting sense of satisfaction. Goal attainment leads to gains in overall life satisfaction and well-being. And that’s one goal worth pursuing.
*Part of this article is based on my chapter “Improving Employee Well-Being: The Role of Coaching Psychology” in the book “Current Perspectives in Occupational Health Psychology” (Broken Hill Publishers).
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