Authentic Goal Setting

It’s this time of the year. The time when people become ambitious, are setting their goals and intentions for the new year – and sometimes have the intention to basically change everything. One place where this year after year becomes extremely visible is the gym. In the first weeks of the year, it can be a hassle to find available machines for your workout. In February, it already looks differently. People dropping all their goals and good intentions again.

Why?

Pursuing goals can be hard. Especially if the goals are not truly yours. They don’t inspire you, they don’t feel authentic, you don’t connect with the reason WHY you are pursuing them. Some people are better in achieving these types of goals, in “forcing” themselves to still go for it, and for some it is almost impossible. Either way, there is a big risk of burnout in chasing something that doesn’t reflect who you are, what you want to stand for, what motivates you, etc.

So here is what I call “authentic” goals:

  • Authentic goals inspire you, they stir your enthusiasm and keep you motivated.
  • Authentic goals are set based on what really matters to you. They align with your values and beliefs.
  • Authentic goals are what YOU want, and not what everyone around you expects from you.
  • They give you strength and courage to push your limits, to leave your comfort zone and to do things differently.

How to set your authentic goals

There is so much information on goal-setting out there, on “how to” do it. All the “technical” stuff. You might have noticed that I also wrote “how to” in the heading, and it is only half accurate. Because I don’t believe that there is an easy “how to” instruction about goal-setting. There is no quick fix. Someone telling you 3, 5 or 7 steps on how to successfully set and achieve all your goals. At least not if your desire is to set and pursue your goals with ease AND be happy and fulfilled while at it. (And yes, this is possible!)

Setting authentic goals requires you to know your motivators, your values, your skills, potential gaps to overcome, your individual obstacles – what triggers you to give up? Those are just a few factors. Summing it up in one word: to set authentic goals requires deep self-awareness.

Start with your big vision

I believe in starting with the big vision. The vision that provides you with your “Why”. The vision that functions as your North Star, provides direction and guides your decisions. In order to give your vision that power you need to be clear and specific on what that vision is.

  • What is truly important to you?
  • What fulfils you? What brings you in a flow, where you forget time and space around you?
  • What and who inspires you?
  • What do you dream about and long for?
  • What would your perfect day look like? From the morning when you get up to the evening when you go to bed?

Another way to get closer to your big, inspiring vision for career and life is to brainstorm in 3 different areas:

Experiences

What do you want to experience in life? Make a list of all the experiences you want to have.

Growth

In which ways do you want to grow in your life? Make a list of all the areas you want to grow in.

Contribution

How do you want to contribute to the world? Make a list of ways in which you want to make a difference.

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