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Have you ever had goal setting fatigue? That feeling you get when you set a new goal (or 6!) and then haven’t been able to complete it? Its frustrating. It can be totally discouraging. It can end with throwing the whole concept of goal setting out the window.
I can relate. Before I became a health and wellness coach, I hated goals. They were always the thing that pointed out my inconsistency. Failed goals highlighted my inability to follow through and made me feel like a failure.
Now well and truly into my career as a health and wellness coach, I can honestly say that I appreciate (and apply!) goal setting in a whole different light. Want to know how to avoid some of the traps we often fall into that cause goal fatigue? Read on!
4 reasons we get goal setting fatigue
1. We set our goals with too much ambition
When we set goals, we tend to want to jump to the nth degree, thinking we can conquer Mt Everest in a single bound. Think about it. Have you ever set a goal that in reality is a little bit too much of a jump?
Point in case: running every day for a month. My teenage son decided he was going to do a 3k run every single day for a month. I fully believe he is capable of doing this. However, it didn’t work out for him. Why? Well, in the lead up to this month, he hadn’t done any running. At all. He was fit, yes. Running wasn’t the thing he leant into though. So it made sense that goal didn’t turn out well for him because it was such a massive jump from where he was at.
Sometimes, we even push ourselves to complete the EXACT same goal AGAIN so we can achieve it (this time). However, this can lead us into a failure repeat cycle and that doesn’t really get us anywhere.
2. We don't differentiate between long-term and short-term goals
There literally need to be long term goals (3 month goals)- those bigger things we are trying to achieve. For example, being able to run 10km in 3 months’ time. Back that up though. You need to have some weekly targets otherwise you might get 2.5 months in and realise you haven’t actually been for a run yet (uh oh!).
This is where weekly goals come in. Its so important to make these goals SMART. KNOW what you are going to do this week. Also know that you have 12 weeks to make it to that longer-term goal a reality. 3 months is a decent amount of time, so you really can afford to break it down. In theory, into 12 achievable steps. Working with a coach can be a great place to start if the thought of checking in with yourself and creating new weekly goals feels daunting. Remember, I am only a call away- get in touch!
3. Our goals are too vague
So, you have set a 3-month goal. You have set out to achieve some weekly goals. However, there’s a hitch. You are not sure if you achieved your goal or not. Ever felt like this? Here is an example.
Goal: in 3 months’ time I will be more intentional in my relationships.
In 3 months, will you really know if you have achieved this goal? Honestly, the answer is no. The reason? The goal is really worded as an outcome, not a behaviour that you can quantify. A better version of the same goal (and this will depend on the individual):
Goal: in 3 months’ time, I will be spending 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with my spouse and children every day.
You can see this goal has a lot of specificity to it. Sometimes, this is the hardest part of creating goals. Drilling down to the details is going to really help you benchmark your way through the 12-week process to get there though!
4. We don't really know our 'why'
If you deeply feel connected to the underlying reason for committing to a goal, you will be much more set up for success. If your WHY is compelling, inspirational, and meaningful enough TO YOU, you will be well on your way. Your why will get you out of bed for a swim on a cold morning. It will help you stick to that eating plan when you walk past a bakery with freshly baked pies. It will help you look beyond the current circumstance and help you re-focus on the more important future vision you have defined. It means that even when (not if!) you fall off the bandwagon, you can pick up and start again because that WHY is still looming front and centre.
And…that is really where I believe coaching can help. Often, this is the trickiest part to do on our own. Being able to take some time out and really figure out why can really make all the difference to our ongoing success with goals. If you need some help in defining your WHY, reach out and book a free chat!
Goal fatigue is real. Most of us have been there at some stage. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water! Goals can be incredibly helpful in building forward momentum and helping us to define our future direction. We simply need to get a little but smarter when it comes to setting our goals. We need to make our goals irresistible! Wondering how? Find out more in this article.