Five steps to take the fear out of setting goals

Five steps to take the fear out of setting goals

Published: 14th of March 2021

The thing about setting goals is that there are generally two outcomes. 

  1. You don’t achieve your goal – triggering your fear of failure
  2. You achieve your goal – triggering your (sometimes greater) fear of success 

So, what often happens is that you: 

a) Set a goal which is within your comfort zone that you know you can achieve (eg. read a book about leadership) 

b) Set a vague goal with no intention of following through (eg. try to find time to think about my career) 

c) Do nothing 

And this feels safe because you won’t get hurt… one will judge you, you won’t disappoint anyone and you won’t regret the decision you make.  

You’re also likely to spend hours/days/weeks of your life feeling frustrated, thinking ‘what if?’ and feeling stuck in your current situation.  

Here are 5 tips that could help take the fear out of setting challenging goals: 

Often our thoughts go round and round in our heads and it’s difficult to make sense out of them. Get a pen and paper and keep writing for 10 minutes about what you want to achieve. This could include your career, family life, friends, wellbeing…..whatever is important to you. Scope it out as big as possible, with multiple options. Don’t judge it or think too deeply, just get it all down  

Focus on one or two particular areas that feel the most important to you. Write down what you’d like to say about yourself with regard to that topic. For example: 

“I am a present parent around my children” 

“I have clarity over the direction of my career” 

Do something now. Find something that you can do this week, or even today, that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s having a challenging conversation with your manager or recording a video for social media. It’s likely that whatever you have been procrastinating about for a while will be much more terrifying to think about than actually doing it. Once you’ve done it, you’re likely to feel energised and ready to take on the next challenge.  

Talk to your partner or a friend about your goal and ensure they keep you on track. Put a regular accountability catch up in the diary and ask them to support you, as well as making you accountable to your actions.  

A coach can also fulfil this role and can offer the benefit of a non-judgmental space to clarify your goals and talk through any actions which feel particularly terrifying to move forward on.   

If you don’t manage to complete a task you set yourself, be curious rather than self-critical. It’s often in these circumstances that we learn the most about ourselves. 

What stopped you achieving your action? Were there external factors out of your control or are you wrestling with issues around confidence or self-belief? Or does the action not feel relevant to your goal anymore?  

Take a deep breath, remind yourself of how you’ll feel when you achieve your goal and get back into action.   

Get in touch with me if you’d like help with taking the fear out of goal setting on or book a FREE Career Strategy Call with me to take the first baby step forward.

P.S. Have you joined my FREE Career Clarity for Working Parents Facebook group? It's packed full of top tips to keep you motivated and on track for moving forward in your career.

I help parents like you to get clear on what they want from their career

Parents who want to be challenged in their career, but still have headspace to be present with their kids. Here are 9 baby steps you could take this week, to clarify you career direction



I returned to work after maternity leave and felt a lack of confidence in my ability to juggle home and work life successfully. Jenny helped me to see that I was already doing what I feared I couldn’t do. Talking through my thoughts really helped me to relieve my worries and stress. I have also been working towards a small business venture. Jenny helped me to break down the steps needed to achieve my goals and motivated me with targets. Jenny is an excellent listener, who instantly made me feel comfortable. I would definitely recommend her services as a coach.

Amy Talbot, Funds Officer at University of the West of England

Trusted, safe, caring. Like a really excellent and progressive manager at my work....but for my life

A dad working as a Strategic Director

Jenny is calm, respectful and discerning. During my coaching sessions I felt that I was being coached in a safe space with a real person who was non-judgemental and had the intellect to understand how best to challenge me. She always showed immense care and emotional intelligence. I would not have started to move forward without her consistent and careful input.

Senior Female Higher Education Academic

Let's Get In Touch!

Book a FREE, non-obligatory call with me to find out more about coaching and how it can help to clarify your career direction.