Achieving your goals – Start from where you are

Have you ever been frustrated because you are not making progress towards achieving your goals? You know what you want, but you keep sabotaging yourself and prioritising everything else over the actions that are really important to you. One reason for this is that we often over-complicate things and make up a lot of reasons why we can’t do what we think we want. A quote I love from Arthur Ashe is:

Quote by Arthur Ashe on achieving your goals. "Start from where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

If you are not familiar with Arthur Ashe, he was an inspirational black tennis player who broke through many barriers to win 3 Grand Slam titles, including Wimbledon. Tragically, he contracted the HIV virus during a heart bypass operation. He then became a prominent AIDS campaigner, creating a foundation which continued his work after his untimely death at the age of 49.

I love this quote because it reminds me that wherever we have been and whatever we have done – all that matters is now.

We spend so much time going over old mistakes, past successes and why we aren’t still being successful, why other people are better than us or why we haven’t done as much as we promised ourselves we were going to do when we woke up yesterday.

This never helps us. 

Tools to help you start achieving your goals

Whether we are focusing on achieving personal or professional goals, the tools empowering you to move forward are the same. 

1 – Start from where you are. Whilst it’s important to be clear on where you want to go, there is no point dwelling on where you have been. Today is all that matters. Focus on the facts of where you are and try and avoid judgement (especially from your own inner critic). It often helps to write down some facts as the act of writing can really focus the mind. 

2 – Use what you have. Whatever the challenge you are facing, you will already have all of the tools you need to overcome it. You will have a myriad of skills and experience that you can tap into to move yourself forward. If you don’t agree with me then try. Write down all of the skills you think you need to solve the problem. Then, think about anytime you have ever displayed that skill. If you are honest then you will be able to cover most of them. For example, if you need creativity then think about anytime you have had to pull together a costume at short notice for a child’s school play, had to fix a last minute presentation at work, or even just had to sort out some accessories for an outfit. 

3 – Do what you can. No matter how insurmountable a problem feels there is always something that you can do. The first step only has to be a tiny step. Even doing step 2 above is something to move you forward. Making a plan is a move forward. Allocating time in your diary is a step forward. When you have done the first step then ask yourself “What else can I do?” and repeat. 

Setting the right goals

If you find that you are still not achieving your goals it’s possible you do not have the right goals. I often work with people that have “should” goals. They may be the right goals, but they have the wrong reasons for doing them. Other clients have goals they have been carrying around for a very long time and, if they are honest, they no longer really care about them but they are struggling to let go as it feels like failure. If you are not sure if you have the right goal, use this worksheet to help you.

Remember you have the skills and ability to achieve your goals. I know you do. You may be lacking self-belief and confidence which can stop you moving forward. Or, you may need to adjust your goal or your beliefs and behaviours. Coaching can help you get clarity on your goals, create your action plan, empower you to believe in yourself and live your best life.

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