What Makes A Great Goal?


To be honest, up to even a few years ago, if someone asked me about goals I would have done an internal eye roll.  I'd come from a corporate world of Goal and Target overload. Setting SMART goals and measuring everything.  I found them restrictive, dull and quite honestly didn't see the point for the most part.


What I noticed in my coaching work was that so many people had resistance to goals. Either not setting them at all (like myself back then!) Or setting goals that were pretty much in the bag so they could tick a box and feel a few moments of satisfaction, or set a goal that seemed so far reached that they didn't really believe it possible and therefore it just became a "mmm, that would be nice " type of goal with no plan to get there.


So i'm not into the SMART rigid type goals, even though they maybe have a place in some instances.


As a first step to goal setting I recommend you check in on setting a Mastery goal, in addition to performance goals. Check out how here...

Mastery vs performance goals


I use an NLP process to check goals against. Doing this really ensures the goal is the right goal, and one you can believe in and therefore success is inevitable if you follow through with it.


So what makes a great goal? Or a "Well-Formed Outcome" Here are some start points


1)It is stated in the positive.


Our brains don't process negatives. Therefore stating what we don't want is likely to create exactly what we don't want!

If I said, "Don't think about Broccoli" I'm pretty certain broccoli is the first thing that will pop into your mind.

Therefore rather than "I don't want to be anxious when cantering" you would turn it into what you do want. "To be confident when cantering" 


2)It fits with who you are.


Check your goal is YOUR goal. Check its not a "should" based on what you think others think you should be doing. It needs to be aligned with your wants/needs and values. Doing "should goals" will create resistance. Its something that YOU want (to be/have or do)


3.  Its experienced in all 5 senses.  When you visualise yourself doing/having/being what you want, check in with what you can see, hear, smell, touch and feel (emotionally) Doing this tricks the subconscious into believing it already has happened. This will build belief and confidence and give a clear direction to your mind in seeking out ways to make it happen.


4.  Its a stepping stone.

What will it lead to? What will come after that goal?  The feeling of success is short lived and without the next step, motivation can drop once its been achieved.


5.  Its Win/Win.  How will it benefit those around you. (Think outside the box if you need to, think about friends , family and those around you) When things also benefit other people it increases our drive.


Once you have your Goal set and clear, then begin to make a plan on how what steps you need in place to make it happen.


Think about what, if done regularly and consistently would move you towards your goal.


To help with this I use AIM.

For the goal you have set, what’s the ACCEPTABLE MINIMUM (That’s the A in AIM) you need to be doing to start moving you towards your goal? It’s acceptable to you but won't have much of an impact. It’s the least you can do to make the change you want.

For example, lets say you want to ride a novice dressage test by x month.

An acceptable minimum might be to school your horse once a week and hack out once a week.


Then look at the IDEAL. (the I in AIM) What’s possible? The same goal, but now if the week went perfectly to plan, what’s the MOST you could do.

E.g. School your horse 4 times a week and hack out twice.  You might be able to keep this up...for about a month, then life happens and you miss a few days, feel pants and give up on the goal.


So you take AIM at your goal by keeping in mind the Acceptable minimum and the Ideal and add in the most important factor. MIDDLE. Not the minimum, not the maximum, its somewhere in-between and a little stretch from where you currently are. Its what is right for you today or this week?


So maybe schooling twice a week and hacking once a week feels like a good middle. Its more than you may currently be doing, less than what the ideal might be and most importantly its realistic for where you are right now.


Its important to review your AIM on a weekly basis, as things change, life happens and horses will be horses. What was your Middle, may become your Acceptable Minimum. Or one week it may become your Ideal, and you middle changes based on whats realistic that week.


For more help with hitting your goals and getting what you want faster, find out about working with me by booking a free call!