When setting goals quite often the most fundamental thing is left out… Values
Values are those ideas which we are willing to invest time, energy and resources into either achieve or avoid. They are our attractions or repulsion in life. Values will often change with context, for example, what you value in a relationship and what you value in a career are likely to be different. Values are what drive your goals. Being conscious of this enables you to adjust your goals to align with your values. The process of this causes you to become more motivated to achieve something.
Have you ever set a goal and not achieved it?
Has anyone ever said to you, well that’s because you didn’t want it enough?
Well, they are right. Most people set goals for what they believe they SHOULD want to achieve as opposed to what they actually want.
Let’s use a popular example
“I am going to start a new gym routine, 5 days a week without fail I will go the gym”
How often do we say this to ourselves, and how often does it actually last?
When I was younger, I had a high value of appearance…so going to the gym five days a week was easy for me to do, I was extremely motivated. I wanted a toned stomach, toned legs, toned everything! My goal and values were aligned which equalled success.
As I became older (I would like to say wiser), my appearance didn’t matter too me as much as it used to, sure like anyone I wanted to look good, but physical appearance just was no longer as important. My value had shifted into health. I wanted strong joints to avoid arthritic flare ups. However, my goal for the gym was still set in my old value structure of looking good.
How motivated do you think I was to go to the gym and achieve that goal? Not very.
It was so easy for me to talk myself out of going to the gym because my actual value of appearance was low. I would just tell myself I was happy with my appearance and then poof went the desire to go to the gym. Even when I tried to encourage myself, “come on lets tone those legs, lose some weight, summers coming” it wouldn’t work or it would have a very limited impact.
With the guidance of a mentor, I realized where my lack of motivation for the gym was coming from. Poor Goals! My value now, as I mentioned, was stability in my health and I found I no longer exercised to lose weight but to build strength in my joints. This meant my fitness goal need to change to building muscle, to having a stable gym routine and, to creating stability around my health.
Do you think that worked? You bloody bet it did. I was so motivated I used to drive a half hour to go to a better gym than the one near my house. By aligning my values and goals I was driven to achieve them. How could I talk myself out of wanting to create stability in my health, when it was what I wanted most in the world? If you want to achieve your goals, become aware of what you value.
As I mentioned before, values can change with context, so before any goal setting, write out your values for career, family, friends, leisure time, mind/body, health and any other category that is relevant for you. Think about what you value in each section, and then check your goal to ensure they are aligned. You may find your goal needs a little adjusting.
You may face one of two problems through the course of this exercise
- You may already be strong in your value set but you may find that your actions do not align as strongly with your values as you once thought. If this happens look at how to change your behaviours.
For example – a value of self is not achieved if you are not speaking your truth. If you default to others ideas to avoid conflict or avoid sharing your own ideas because you don’t feel smart enough/deserving enough. Then you’re actually doing the opposite of valuing yourself. Change that around and you will be amazed at how much better you feel.
- You may claim to not know your values, trust me, you do. They may just need a little teasing out. Ask yourself questions, What is it about my fitness routine that I value? What is it about my friendships that I enjoy, or wish to have? What behaviors make me happy? This will help guide you to what you value.
Sometimes it helps to have an outsider help you set these goals, and push you a little to find your value. I have had incredible results assisting clients in goal setting, both in person and over Skype.
Lauren Parker is an empowerment coach on a mission to teach every person she comes across how to stand in their own power, to own their worth, to acknowledge their abilities and lead a strong and abundant life full of love for themselves and for others. Lauren is the founder and head coach of Shape You Reality and works with clients worldwide to help them reach their potential.
To setup a goal setting session please get in contact.