The Goal Behind Your Goal
Get clear on what's missing in your life.
Have you ever set yourself a goal and become demotivated because the finish line is too far away? Maybe you achieved a goal only to discover you still felt unfulfilled, and your brain asked, "what next?". Do you catch yourself saying phrases like "I'll be happy when...(fill in the blank with your list of expectations)."
These situations are prevalent with goal setting. We set ourselves tasks with the expectation that we will feel a certain way when we accomplish them. As a Professional Coach, I regularly have discussions like:
Coach - "What does happiness look like for you?"
Client - "I'll be happy when I have the big house in the country, the car of my dreams and money in the bank."
Coach - "Ok great, how long is that going to take?"
Client - "Probably another 15 years."
Coach - "So you're not going to be happy for 15 years?"
Client - ...(silence)...
Goal setting is super important, but if we blindly assume something will make us feel a certain way for the sake of it, we may get a hollow victory when we cross that finish line.
Too often have I spoken to high fliers, and they've got the job, the car, the money, and they still feel lost, miserable, unpurposeful, unfulfilled, and they don't know why! On the outside, it looks like they're crushing life, but on the inside, they feel crushed.
So, where do we go from here? Are goals pointless?
Absolutely not. It's fantastic to drive towards goals. However, what's important is breaking down why you're setting the goal in the first place and using it to your advantage. When we set a goal, we're trying to move towards feelings, and these feelings are ones we currently aren't experiencing enough of... otherwise, why would we set the goal?
Let's jump into an example coaching conversation:
Coach - "Tell me more about your goal."
Client - "I want £500k in the bank in 5 years."
Coach - "Great! What will that money bring to your life?"
Client - "I'll be able to take some time back, do some travelling, feel secure, feel like I've achieved something, and all this will make me happy".
For this client to feel happy, they wish to experience freedom in time, location and finance. They want to feel secure. There is also something around their self-worth, purpose and legacy as they want to make their life count for something.
The advantage of knowing these feelings or "the goal behind the goal" is that you can then address how to bring them to your life sooner rather than waiting to achieve the original big goal. People can also find that the initial goal loses impact as you've identified and fulfilled these missing feelings in other ways.
We dived into what "freedom", "security", and "legacy" really meant for this client. In a short time, they were making time for what they wanted to do, permitting themselves to spend on travel experiences and had clarity about their legacy (which didn't revolve around money in the bank).
These actions moved them towards happiness and fulfilment in a matter of months rather than five years.
So, in summary, when setting goals, get curious about the intention and the feelings you'll hope they will bring to your life when you achieve them. Hone in on those feelings and then look at "quick wins" where you can start to feel them now. You don't want to cross the finish line and find out you still feel unhappy.
Let's change the dialogue from "I'll be happy when..." to "I can be happy now!".
Please visit the following link to clarify what's missing in your life and how to take action.
Here's to your journey,