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.
- You don’t achieve your goal – triggering your fear of failure
- 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…..no 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:
- Write it down
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”
- Take a leap
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.
- Make yourself accountable
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.
- Be kind to yourself
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.
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.