The issue of feelings is a frequently overlooked aspect of goal setting. When thinking about what we want to achieve it is vital to consider the benefits that will come from accomplishing the goal, not just the actual goal itself. When working with coaching clients I have found that several people may come up with the same target to aim for, but their reasons for doing so can be quite different; and those reasons will sometimes predict whether or not their plans will have a successful and satisfactory outcome.
‘Getting fit’ or ‘losing weight’ are common short-term goals for many people, however the underlying motivation may be very different for each person. Some people may just enjoy being fit, finding it gives them more energy and stamina. Others may have the incentive of improving their health and even their life expectancy. Some might be seeking the ‘perfect’ body or want to look more attractive. And yet others may think it is something they ‘should’ do to please others in their life or live up to a social standard.
All of these reasons tap into different emotions. Feeling fit may make a person feel vital and vigorous; taking control and improving their health may make others feel more hopeful about the future; and getting to a certain weight might improve a person’s confidence. On the other hand, setting out to work towards a goal that is fuelled by pressure from someone else or by the idea that you ‘should’ be doing it is more likely to be linked to negative emotions and less likely to lead to a happy conclusion.
It’s important to get in touch with the feelings beneath the goals. Having a clear idea of what we want to achieve is important, but even more important is the why.