Simple steps to effective goal setting

We all know by now that one major key to success is effective goal setting. Here's a great strategy to start using now. Make it your immediate goal!

Before you know how to do effective goal setting, let’s talk the differences between external and internal goals.

External goals are the stuff we grow up thinking will form our cool future adult life—the job and car you want, the places you want to travel to.

These are all wonderful things to achieve.

Then there are internal goals, which are really important.

They are our mindset and our relationship with our thoughts and emotions.

A lot of us don’t focus on internal goals because they’re not as shiny as a beach house or a boat cruise around Positano.

We’re not taught much about how to set and benchmark them, so we have an over-reliance on external goals to bring us internal fulfillments.

Does this sound familiar? “I’m not feeling that good … maybe I’ll buy something.” “I’m not feeling that good … maybe I’ll change my career.” “I’m not feeling that good … maybe if I was in another relationship I’d feel better.”

So what we learn is that the way to change how we feel inside is to change something outside of us.

This is really unresourceful and quite negative—and actually doesn’t work, especially when it comes to effective goal setting.

The reason someone who has all the cars and houses they ever wanted is still empty inside is they are looking in the wrong direction.

They’re looking outwardly to solve something that is an inward game.

It’s an inward thing to be able to get our mindset working for and be able to have a great relationship with our emotions and ourselves.

So our three internal goals are:

  • Our mindset
  • Our emotions
  • Our relationship with ourselves

That last one also ties into our relationship with everyone in the entire world, because the relationship we have with ourselves is mirrored outwardly.

And one of the fundamental things that gives us meaning in life and fulfilment is the quality of our relationships.

I want to share how to set internal goals.

Our mindset is the first one. A lot of people live an unconscious life where their mind is chaotic and full of random thoughts.

The opposite is when we start to employ basic things like mindfulness. To focus on our breath, to learn to calm our mind then start to pay attention to the types of thoughts we have.

The next thing is to focus on creating a friendly and loving relationship with our emotions.

It’s important to know there are no negative or positive emotions.

Like body parts, all emotions are neutral. All serve a purpose.

A lot of people have a negative relationship with their emotions because they don’t like feeling sad or angry. We suppress our feelings and this creates major problems for our health and psychology and ability to get closer to other people.

Then there’s our relationship with ourselves—and a really great question is, what is that relationship?

Do you look after yourself or are you looking after everyone else because you were taught to be selfless? Most people get really good at it, but what happens is eventually their body collapses and they burn out.

I trust this will give you some awareness of how you can start to set some internal goals for yourself. When you start to prioritise yourself, everything else in your life starts to improve.

Matt Lavars is one of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend.

Matt Lavars
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute