Now’s Not the Time to Give Up on your Target

By Chester Elton|15-02-2022 | 1 Min Read
Source: Image by Sven Vee on Unsplash
It's A Long Road Ahead And You're Just Getting Started

The start of 2022 already feels so long ago!

What happened to those goals, hopes and resolutions you set yourself back in the glorious first days of the year? Have they slipped a little? Has reality come barreling back in?

Gratitude is the heart of everything here, so I’ve got news for you that might well cheer you up. Rather than feeling disappointed about having let some of your good intentions slip, you can celebrate that you’re in excellent company with the rest of humanity. A study of 800 million people discovered that most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned in January. Specifically, this past Wednesday, January 19, which is also known as “quitting day.”


Read More: Why Can't We Keep To New Year Resolutions?


I had a wonderful conversation this week with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit. He says focusing on habits can help keep you on track and is one of the best ways to un-quit. But habits are only helpful if you’re confident you’re building towards to best possible goal for you, and that’s not always the case, he adds.

Don’t I know it. When Adrian and I sit down to write one of our books, we know one thing to be indisputably true: the first draft is going to need work. It doesn't matter our experience, intentions, or brilliant insights about what the book should be about, the first draft is always—without fail—a little bit of a mess.

Let’s bring this learning to your resolutions. The first draft of your resolution is your goal, and just like our books is probably going to be sub-optimal. It’s most likely a fine start. You’re likely directionally correct. But you’re not there yet, and a common mistake is to think you’ve arrived. Nuh-uh. There’s more work to be done.

Says Michael, here’s how to build and draft a powerful goal:

First, forget the SMART goals, he says. It turns out SMART isn’t that helpful in articulating and fine-tuning your ambition. There’s no point in setting a goal that’s specific and measurable and achievable if it’s the wrong goal!

Rather, you need a Worthy Goal that’s Thrilling, Important and Daunting.

Infographic by Leaderonomics: Your worthy goal list should encapsulate 3 parts

Thrilling is a goal that lights you up, gets you excited, makes your rub your hands together and say: “Yes, this is for me!” It’s a goal that speaks to who you are now and also who you want to be. It’s a goal that aligns to your values but also in some way will amplify and burnish that value.

A goal also needs to be Important. This is a call to action that says, how are you giving more to the world than you’re taking? How are you serving the bigger picture? How is this not just about you, but about making the world a little bit better than you found it.

A goal that’s “Worthy” has the strongest possible combination of Thrilling (for me) and Important (for us). And that’s powerful indeed, says Michael.

But there’s one other attribute that’s essential: Daunting lays down the gauntlet and challenges you to pick a goal that will push you and will take you to the edge of your competence and confidence and sense of self.

Thrilling and Important without Daunting keeps you busy but also in a subtle way keeps you stagnating. And we all know that you’re far too talented and generous and full of potential to stop now.

Michael explained to me that a Worthy Goal doesn’t have to be huge in scope. It certainly can be: Some of us want to fly to the moon. But for many of us, our focus is on our family, community, team, or business. The magic of a Worthy Goal is that we unlock our greatness by working on small or large things, but always things that push us to be better.

I hope you accept Michael Bungay Stanier’s invitation to revisit your hopes and ambitions for 2022 and get reengaged and reconfigure them as Worthy Goals.

Read More: Struggling To Find Your Starting Point This New Year?


This was originally posted on Chester Elton's LinkedIn

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Chester Elton is the Author of "Anxiety at Work" & "Leading with Gratitude", an Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Founder of the #findyourgratitude Community. He has spent two decades helping clients engage their employees in organizational strategy, vision and values. In his inspiring and always entertaining talks, Elton provides real solutions for leaders looking to build culture, manage change and drive innovation. His work is supported by research with more than a million working adults across the globe, revealing the proven secrets behind high performance cultures and teams. Elton is co-founder of The Culture Works, a global training company, and author of multiple award winning, #1 New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, All In, The Carrot Principle and The Best Team Wins. His books have been translated into 30 languages and have sold more than 1.5 million copies.
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