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Coach Viv on being a goal getter

Tip Published Wednesday 30 March 2022
Goal Getter tips from Coach Viv

Why we abandon our goals (and why it's not too late to keep trying)
By Viv Fantin, Next Act Coaching

I’m prepared to bet that some of you reading set some epic goals at the start of the year — to level up your music career, launch a podcast, maybe network more or set up collaborations. Get healthy. Get fit.

Maybe you chose an exciting ‘word of the year’ and made a vision board or bought a shiny new planner. You were so ready to make 2022 THE year that things take off. And now it’s almost April and you can’t remember your word of the year and those big goals seem like a distant memory.

So many of us start goal setting enthusiastically and then bail on those goals when the process starts to get hard or real.

We say we’re going to achieve this and that. But when it comes down to it, we don’t do it. We get distracted and procrastinate. We start comparing to others. We let perfectionism get in the way. We make excuses. We are afraid of putting in the work.

We have a long history of breaking promises to ourselves. It’s not intentional, it’s not necessarily laziness or even unwillingness as such, but a lack of commitment or follow-through. And a reticence to dig a little deeper to figure out what’s really going on.

Add to all of this a global pandemic. Covid has many of us feeling pretty unmotivated – everything keeps changing so what’s the point? Choosing to set big goals in the midst of such turmoil might seem like the last thing you want to do. Fair enough.

But there are many benefits to having a set of goals or plans to work towards. Even in a pandemic. Setting goals can help trigger new more helpful behaviours and habits, they can helps guide our focus. They can create some momentum in our life and career. They allow us to feel progress. Goal setting is a process that promotes purpose and motivate us.

If you find yourself in a loop of goal setting where your goals don’t quite pan out, consider these common blocks:

Feeling negative energy around past failed goals.

Maybe things haven’t gone to plan, you may not have processed what’s gone wrong or learned from mistakes. Maybe you feel like you’ve failed. Which might have you in a certain mindset around goals.

Not putting the goal in writing so it just spins around in your head.

This sounds so simple, but the act of writing a goal down makes it feel more real. Even better if you put it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis.

Not checking out the foundation of the goal to make sure it's powerful and SMART.

SMART = Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timebound.

(Too) great expectations

Are you guilty of setting too high goals and then feeling bad when you don’t reach them? Setting realistic expectations will help you achieve those goals of yours. Be optimistic but realistic. If you set an unrealistic goal, it may well discourage you from continuing with your plans. Keep it simple, keep it doable.

Creating a goal around a "should" or an "ought to" rather than something that you really want.

SHOULD thinking is a massive demotivator. Does the goal belong to you or someone else in your life?

Being afraid of change.

Change is usually at the heart of goal setting. Most of us set goals because we want to see some kind of change or improvement in our lives. That seems exciting. But when we set out to make change, even one that we know will benefit us greatly, it’s normal for our mind to throw up “negative” thoughts: I’m too busy, I can’t do it, I’ll fail, It’s too hard, and so on.

This isn’t a problem if we can work out how to detach from those thoughts, but if we fuse with these thoughts, they can prevent us from moving forward. And that can keep us trapped in our comfort zone,

Change can give rise to uncomfortable feelings. It can make us feel afraid. It can also make us feel ambivalent. This is NORMAL. If we don’t work through that discomfort, it’s really hard move forward.

Not aligning with your values.

Does this goal really matter? Why are we bothering to put in all this hard effort? Your values = what matters most. If we lose touch with the values underlying the goal – if it doesn’t seem meaningful or important – then we quickly lose motivation.

Being clear on our values helps because they give us a framework for how we would like to live. You gotta have skin in the game.

Remember: goal setting is a skill that can be learnt. And as with learning any new skill, starting small and building capability through practice over time increases our chances of success and motivation. As we become more confident and better at setting goals, we can increase the level of challenge. The more we practice, the more likely it is we will default to goal setting as a strategy to leverage purpose and agency.

Goal setting can be a positive, powerful practice when it ignites enthusiasm and provides clear direction.

Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move forwards. If you find yourself getting stuck, ask yourself:

"What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"

Remember, you can start anytime it doesn’t have to be in the new year or spring. If those time cues are helpful go for it. But they don’t have to be the ONLY times.

If it feels right, share your goals with trusted people. It will help with accountability but also gives you an opportunity to share your success and have encouragement you when you need it.

Acknowledge your effort. If you don't meet a goal one week, think of it as a good opportunity to practice positive self-talk. When you achieve your goals, no matter how small, celebrate! Tell your community, and they can celebrate with you.

Make a pact. With a trusted friend, colleague or family member. But most importantly make a pact with yourself.

Viv Fantin
With over 25 years in the Australian music industry as a tour, festival (Big Day Out, Livid, Homebake, Splendour in the Grass) and Awards (ARIA and APRA Music Awards) publicist and communications coach, Viv is an accredited personal coach who specialises in helping people in the music world set boundaries and manage self-doubt, stress, self-care, perfectionism, procrastination, time management and impostor feelings. She also helps people cultivate resilience, to uncover their strengths, skills and values and set realistic goals. Viv is currently a Counsellor-in-training and plans to focus on helping people in the music industry manage their mental health.

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