Stop Setting Goals and Targets

Are you becoming the type of person you want to become?

I have always set goals. Endless goals and targets. Throughout my life. For work, for the gym, for my personal life. I used to set them physically with a number and an obvious end point. So, for example, to lose 2 pounds per week, to do 10 hours of cycling per week, to achieve £1 million in sales this year.

I used to set very high targets for myself, thinking this is what “successful” people did, and this is how I would fulfil my ambitions. This thinking and high bar goal setting led me to feel a lot of anxiety, constantly feeling like I was failing/missing my goals. I was putting myself under loads of pressure. I now believe that this approach, rather than helping me reach my goals was hindering my progress. So, what am I doing now?

I have changed the type of goals I set and most importantly how those goals are framed. Now my goals are based on defining the type of person I want to become and then making a commitment to working towards it. Let me illustrate this with two examples.

I want to get fit again. Before this would have meant setting some arbitrary goal about going to the gym every day and running 10km for example. Now my goal is framed differently. I say to myself “I would like to become the kind of person who does physical exercises every day.” Notice that I don’t specify what physical exercise or for how long only that I do it every day.

The second example of this new method of goal setting concerns writing this blog. Before I would have set a goal like “Write five well-researched, informative blog post of 750 words each week.” See how much pressure I would have put myself under. I would have been setting myself up to fail.

So instead, I frame this writing goal as follows. I want to become the kind of person who shares what I’m learning to help others reach their goals by writing about my journey towards my own goals. The way this goal is then articulated is that after breakfast, every day, I sit down at my desk and write something about my journey that I think will help my readers reach their own goals. Its simple easy to do and nothing gets in the way as I’m giving it a top priority by doing it first in the morning.

The most important lesson I have learnt through changing the way I set goals is counterintuitive. Weirdly it is, to stop setting goals. Instead, make commitments about the kind of person you want to become. By doing this, you are holding yourself to a standard for the way you live your life. It becomes a journey towards your vision of who you want to be rather than some physical goal with a known summit.

I hope you will give this a go. Remember we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

Thanks For Reading!

Hi, I’m Luke Bream, the author of this blog, one of the co-founders of Valentte, hillwalker, cyclist, dreamer and an eternal optimist! My writing is focused on learning how we create the life we have always imagined, become the person we have always wanted to be in order to fulfill the dreams and goals we have set ourselves. I believe there is a power within each of us to achieve whatever we commit to mastering. Want to hear more? Read my full story. (coming soon…)

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