Goal setting guidelines – running shoes optional

In previous posts I’ve shared frameworks, models and concepts around goal setting. I have another process-oriented framework to share in this post. This utilises elements of other concepts and adds to them.

As I’ve said in previous posts, there is no silver bullet, no ultimate goal setting process that works better than any other. Research into goal setting indicates there are some basic principles that help with successfully setting and achieving goals, but there are many ways of actually getting there.

No doubt I will keep ‘reinventing the wheel’ in the years to come. I will do this partly to keep my thinking and goal setting fresh, and partly because it prevents me becoming complacent and falling into a ‘best-practice’ trap.

So, here is my latest offering. I’ve previously described my Four-Plus-Three Personal Development Framework. In this framework I introduced the acronym RUN. This stands for Review and Recognise, Unravel and Understand, and Nurture and Negate.

In setting goals, it is worth creating some reflective space. In this space we can Review our sucessess and failures, and our strengths and weaknesses. We can Recognise (acknowledge, see for the first time, say hello to, etc.) those aspects of our journey, personality and skills set that are helping us or might be hindering our progress.

We can then Unravel and Understand the belief systems, values and underlying journeys that got us to where we are now.

Finally, we can Nuture belief systems, habits and skills that help us move forward. At the same time we can look to Negate those belief systems, habits and behaviours that might be holding us back. You might want to review my post on positive affirmations. They can be very useful in helping nurture or negate belief systems.

I now have three more letters to add to our acronym: FAR. So, we have RUN FAR. See what I’ve done there?

F is for Future Focus.
A is for Aligned Action
R is for Relax and Rejuvenate

Future focus is a fairly obvious aspect of goal setting, after all what is a goal if it isn’t something to be achieved at some point that isn’t right now? I put this forward as an element of this particular model because I find too many people focus on the past when setting goals for the future. They look to past achievements to gauge future potential. This can be useful in setting realistic goals, but can also be limiting if you have only just started to tap into talents or opportunities.

Look to the future with an open mind and dare to dream big. Use past experiences to indicate where your strengths lie and what might be holding you back, but don’t let it limit you. Future focus means potential, opportunity and new horizons.

Aligned Action keeps us grounded in our values. Knowing what is important to us and what boundaries we will not cross in the pursuit of our goals helps us set the right goals. It also helps with the daily decisions that need to be made as we progress towards our goals. Stay grounded in your values. That’s probably the most important advice I can offer in goal setting.

Finally, when the goal is achieved, don’t forget to rewared yourself with some down time. Relax and Rejuvenate. This may be 5 minutes sitting back in your chair and reflecting on the achievement before getting on with your work. It may be a glass or two of your favourite tipple, or it might be a more expensive treat. Whatever the goal, whatever the reward, take time to savour the moment. A goal once achieved no longer motivates, so recognise the passing of what has been an important part of your life before moving onto the next adventure.

I hope you find RUN FAR a useful acronym in your goal setting. Just remember it is not the only one. There is no ‘right answer’.

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