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Achieving your Goals

What is the difference between people who set goals and people who set AND achieve their goals?  The answer is those that achieve their goals are more FOCUSED.

You see, just having a SMART goal written down is not enough, although it is a great (some might say, essential) place to start!  As time goes on the great intentions we had when we wrote our SMART goals start to wane as we encounter obstacles along the way.

Sometimes those obstacles can come from the external world around us, such as changes in the market in which we are operating, environmental changes, finances, family commitments and so on.

Much of the time, however, the biggest obstacle is ourself!  Sometimes we get in the way of achieving our own goals!  We see barriers where they don’t exist, we invent reasons why we can’t achieve our goal, we let other things take priority, we lose confidence, we procrastinate and so on.

Having worked with many people who have found themselves in this position, we have been able to identify a certain mindset and approach that sets apart those people who achieve their goals from those who don’t.

The secret formula (which we are sharing with you!) is that the more FOCUSED you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.


F lexible and responsive to a changing environment

O pen to the journey and to learning along the way

C ongruent with your values and non-work goals

U nderstanding and kind to yourself if things don’t go the way you’d planned

S elf-disciplined to stay on track

E nergised about achieving your goals

D edicated to putting in the right level of effort

Easier said than done!  But keep reading…


No one says your goals are set in stone and can’t ever be changed once you have committed them to paper.  The world around you is changing (just in case you hadn’t noticed!), so you need to be prepared to adapt to keep up.

Take time to review your goals regularly and make adjustments to ensure they are still in line with where you want to go and that they reflect the new insights or factors that weren’t there before.



The danger of setting goals is we become so focused on achieving them that we miss the journey along the way and that can be the most valuable part of the whole experience!

Be aware of what you are learning as you move towards achieving your goal, even (and especially) the difficult times. Write it down and refer back to it regularly.  Dealing with a challenge can often present us with the most valuable and rich learning experiences, if we are open to them.



Have you ever considered that one of the reasons that you are not achieving your goal is that it is in conflict with your values, your beliefs or goals you have set in another area of your life?  For example, if the professional goals you set yourself are not compatible with your personal goals (e.g. about spending more time with your family) then it will be impossible for you to achieve them.  You will always feel pulled in 2 different directions. Similarly if you set a goal that goes against one of your values (e.g. setting a goal you don’t believe in when one of your values is integrity).

Set goals with a holistic attitude…how do they fit with the bigger picture of who you are?


It won’t be a smooth path!  There are so many variables at play, some of which are not in your control, that it is inevitable that you will encounter the odd bump along the way.

Have a sense of understanding that this is what will happen and be kind to yourself when you come up against a challenge.  This  will give you the strength to carry on.


It is so easy to get distracted when you are working towards a goal.  Depending on how motivated you are to achieve your goal, it is amazing how many other tasks and activities you can find to keep you occupied!  The key is to take a disciplined approach to achieving your goal.  Even if you are not usually a structured and organised person you can still develop a disciplined approach.

Make sure you do one thing that takes you a step towards your goal every day.  Stick to it and reward yourself when you reach key milestones to keep your discipline, and motivation, up.



Or you could say Enthusiastic.  If you feel energised about your goal you are considerably more likely to achieve it.  Think about something you feel really energised about…how much effort do you put into it?  How much time do you invest in it?  Imagine if you could put the same energy and time into achieving your goal?

If you don’t feel energised or enthusiastic, revisit your goal and decide whether it is truly the right goal for you.


This is about your drive and persistence.  How much do you want to achieve this goal?  Rate yourself 1-10, if your rating less than 8 then you may not have the level of determination that will help you deal with the obstacles we have previously discussed.

What would move your rating up one point from where it is now?  Ask yourself this question however many times you need to until you get to 8 or above.

Good luck on your journey to achieving your goals in 2012.  This is such an important starting point for your personal and professional development.  As the Cheshire cat told Alice, “if you don’t know where you are trying to get to, it really doesn’t matter which path you choose”.  However, if you want to be able to choose the right path for you, take time to be clear on your destination and stay FOCUSED on it!

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