Setting Better Personal and Professional Goals
Stretch out of your comfort zone to achieve more than you thought possible.
Setting better goals in your personal or professional life really comes down to actively choosing to stretch yourself.
Now this doesn’t mean ‘stretch yourself thin’ – no no no! It’s more about pushing your mind and your actions just that little bit further than normal. Stretching to the point of discomfort.
Why? Because that’s how the most transformative achievements are made. Where the magic happens. Where we give up the good for the great.
It’s about setting yourself up for success by working towards a goal that takes you beyond the safety of the everyday.
Stretch out of your comfort zone to achieve more than you thought possible
When you set goals, do you choose those that will stretch you outside your comfort zone, or are you playing it safe?
It’s incredibly easy to settle into a self-limiting cycle, working only towards ‘safe’ self improvement goals that you know you won’t have trouble reaching. But those easy wins are doing you a disservice. If you really want to feel the heady success of climbing to new heights of personal or business achievement, you need to push further.
Don’t be completely unrealistic (it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fulfil a goal of piloting a plane next month if you’ve never had a flying lesson!), but do think consciously about the intentions you’re setting.
Your comfort zone may be a beautiful place. But nothing ever flourishes there.
You’re only confined by the walls you build yourself
Take a minute to examine your goals.
Are they things you’d eventually do anyway in the course of your life or work? Or are they ‘stretch goals’, things you really want but have discarded the idea of achieving because you don’t think you can get there?
I have a friend who watched her brother complete an Ironman event, the most intense of all triathlons. She secretly wanted to do the Ironman herself but figured she’d never be able to get fit enough. After all, she wasn’t an athlete!
But a few years later, after much commitment to her training, she qualified for the same Ironman event. Immediately, the ‘elders’ in her training club pulled her aside to have a talk. Surely she had to realise she wasn’t ready? She wouldn’t be strong enough to finish. She should withdraw.
My friend went to her coach in tears. His only question was: “Do you think you can do it”? When she replied in the affirmative, his answer was simple. “That’s all you need to know”.
Two things came from this. The first was the knowledge that it was down to her mindset – no one else’s – to determine what she did and how well she did it. The second was that her coach developed a training plan that stretched her, building her skills and endurance with the end goal in mind.
The result? My friend is now a proud Ironman. Well, an Ironwoman. But you know what I mean.
Your stretch goals are the ones to examine more closely: what’s stopping you from achieving them? If it’s a complacent or fearful mindset rather than genuine logistical or physical barriers, set yourself the challenge of working towards one or more of those goals.
Because in all honesty, the subconscious mind can’t distinguish between what is real and imagined. So the simple act of repeatedly telling yourself you’re going to achieve a goal and taking active, committed steps towards it, can start you on a higher path – even if it feels risky or unattainable.
And of course, a committed coach will provide support, offer invaluable tools and strategies to move beyond any limiting beliefs, and call you out on any baloney.
Embrace difficulty and discomfort
Using obstacles and discomfort as learning tools rather than emotions to fear will take your goal-setting to better, more emotionally intelligent places and bring deeper satisfaction to your achievements.
Traditionally fear has been interpreted as a ‘warning’. But that’s all it is – an assumption, a belief system we’ve created (and continue to create) for ourselves.
Comfort zones are overrated; it’s where we leave opportunity on the table. It’s only when we move beyond our assumptions and embrace our difficulties that we find our best self.