Why achieving your goals doesn’t have to feel hard!

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“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

Have you ever set yourself a New Year’s goal and by the second or third week in January, your motivation is starting to wane, and by February/March, normal life has resumed?!

Have you ever wondered why setting a clear goal, then achieving it can be hard?

For change to stick, we need to appreciate a number of key factors.

  1. Our levels of motivation to achieve the goal.
  2. How much we believe in ourselves.

Motivation. According to Cherry (2016), motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that drive behaviour, and are frequently described as extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic involves something ‘external’ to the person: for example, a reward, or a push to achieve something, whereas, intrinsic is driven by an individual’s pleasure – they love doing what they are doing, so are highly motivated by it. Running for the love of it, is intrinsically motivated, whereas running to lose weight is extrinsically motivated.

Goals need to motivate us. We need to be inspired enough to truly focus on the goal and achieve it. Creating a visual goal board with inspiring pictures of the goal as well as inspiring quotes is a great way to visualise success. They also help to stir up the emotions that we will feel when we achieve the goal. Fabulous feelings of joy, achievement and success. Who wouldn’t want to feel like that?

Break the goal down into bite sized chunks. Once the big goal is defined, break it down into bite-sized chunks, so it becomes very achievable, then put the plans in place, and take action to start achieving the goal. The process of ‘how we get things done’ relies on willpower. Over recent years, scientific discoveries have found that willpower is not a finite resource, and in any given day, is limited. So focusing on our motivation and willpower is key.

We need to believe in ourselves. Transformational change occurs when we change our inner beliefs about ourselves. If we set a goal, but don’t truly believe that we can achieve it, then we won’t. Henry Ford’s famous quote sums it up brilliantly:

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”

Eliminating our self-limiting beliefs is key. These are the thoughts and beliefs that we hold true about ourselves; they are so deeply stored in our unconscious mind, that we are often not aware that they exist at all. They are so powerful, that they drive the way that we act and lead our life.

“I could never do that” is a typical example of what I hear when I am coaching clients.

For many years, my inner critic told me that I couldn’t achieve certain things…but reframing my own thoughts has meant that 2016 was  different. Transformational, in fact.

In 2016, I set myself two big, scary goals. While I was highly motivated to achieve them, I still needed to focus my mind and think positively about achieving them every day.

  1. Study for another postgraduate qualification.
  2. Set up my own business to support others to achieve their business or personal goals.

The following ingredients enabled me to achieve these goals.

  1. I have been coached. A lot!
  2. I have recognised the power of goal setting and my own self belief.
  3. I have surrounded myself with some truly amazing people.

If we ever doubt ourself, there will be reasons WHY. Uncovering the reasons will allow us to address them, step over them, and leave all self-doubt behind.

As 2017 has now begun, I am excited and positive about what the future holds. I know that with the same positive mindset, my next goals will be achieved, just like those of 2016.


Please feel free to contact info@release-the-potential.co.uk if this has resonated with you in any way.

Reference: Cherry, K. (2016) – Motivation: Psychological factors that drive behaviour.


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