Questions to ask yourself when you’re setting goals

Whether you already have a clear idea of your goals, or you’re still working them out, here are some helpful questions and pointers to keep in mind as you set and work towards them.

1. Why do I have this goal?

It’s important to question why you have decided on a specific goal, so that you can understand if it’s really authentic to you. Your personal goals should never be based on what will make someone else happy, or how you think you’re supposed to act. A goal that doesn’t feel true to you will always be harder to reach – and easier to lose interest in.

2. How do my goals support my values?

In the first module of a Mastered accelerator, we asked you to identify what you enjoy doing and what’s important to you. You should keep these values in mind, because they’re a crucial part of who you are. If your goals don’t allow you to live these values, they won’t make you happy.

3. How do I feel about this goal?

Your goals might shift as you and your career change. This might be because you’ve reached it, or you decide it isn’t right for you anymore. Think about your ‘energy’ around a certain goal. If your energy and enthusiasm for achieving a goal dips drastically, it might be time for a different route.

4. What sort of person do I want to be?

Rather than imitating someone else’s career, look to people whose work you admire. Reach out to those people and ask them what their goals were. Their insight might inspire you – or you might realise you have a totally different outlook. Either way, you will learn something that will help you define your personal goals and path.

5. What are the steps that will help me with this goal?

A helpful way to think about achieving a goal is to consider the steps that you need to take in order to reach it. Ask yourself if those steps will make you happy. Keep these steps realistic and achievable, so you can enjoy small wins.

6. How can I stay motivated about this goal?

Everyone has different techniques for motivation. You could track your success by noting down the small wins on your route to success. You could use goal-setting apps like Google Goals or Momentum, for regular motivational reminders. Telling other people about your goals and asking them to check in on you also helps keep you accountable.

7. What techniques can I use to motivate me?

You may find you respond well to structured techniques to motivate yourself. There are various apps you can try out. At Mastered, quite a few of us like using Trello. Or you could borrow a tip from the corporate world and have a go at the SMART technique, a popular tool used to assess whether a goal is right, and to track it. Have a look at the different tools and structured techniques out there, you never know what might resonate with you.

8. What are the negative feelings stopping me from moving forward?

We engage in ‘edge behaviours’; emotional, physical or mental behaviours which we experience as you come up against change, uncertainty or growth. Being aware of how your behaviours change is important because it impacts your mood and your ability to move forward. Check in with your edge behaviours by recording, assessing and adjusting them so that you can adapt to change effectively.

9. What is the one action I can take today?

Taking any steps towards your goals makes you feel better and more productive. Aim to do one thing each day which moves you closer to them, no matter how small, and keep them in mind as you work. What can you take away from each person and each job that will get help you achieve your goals?

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