Setting goals is a big part of the creative coaching that I offer clients, and I know that it is a big part of the coaching offered by others too.
Whether we offer life, business, wellbeing, health or relationship coaching-goals are a pretty big deal and a core part of encouraging clients towards improvement.
I set them for myself and encourage my clients to set them too. After all-that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Setting goals, making a plan and achieving great things
One of my major goals for this year (when I reach 50!) is to get that damn book written! In fact-I have two book ideas on the go, both of which WILL happen this year. The reason they will happen this year is actually quite simple.
Firstly-one of the books HAS to be written because it is a handbook for a course that I am already delivering and the second reason is because I have actually already written them both….confused?!
Well the reality is that I have been so fixated (and exhausted) on writing the book, making plans, lists, mind maps and inspiration boards and creatively visualising my book signing…all leading to my ultimate goal that I have totally overlooked the very basic fact that I have already written hundreds of thousands of words over the last couple of years that would probably fill several books-let alone a meagre 2!
Let me explain….! (for my own sanity if nothing else!)
I am first and foremost a writer and a journalist. I have come to coaching in the last few years as part of my role as a university lecturer and as someone who works in challenging and hard to reach communities with vulnerable people.
I started using personal development tools to help my students, became very interested in the whole thing and then studied for a level 7 diploma as an accredited life coach with Curly Martin’s Achievement Specialists. I haven’t looked back and I am very fortunate to have a big client list and lots of workshops booked in for this year.
I have worked in the media industry for 30 years and during that time I have written a lot of stuff. My own coaching programme Write Your Life revolves around writing!

I have now realised (why it has taken so long is anyone’s guess!) that while I have been panicking and putting myself under pressure to write the book-I have actually been writing it anyway. The words are already there-they just need a bit of organising and sorting out. I have more than enough material to well and truly finish two books this year.
I feel slightly cheated that I haven’t taken time to stop and realise this before now! I have been so focused on the end game, that everything that has been happening in between has been largely ignored.
When I coach clients-individually or in groups-I am always keen to remind them that the goal is important but so is the journey and that we MUST celebrate every single step-no matter how small we think that step is. All those small steps make a BIG difference and if we don’t celebrate them all and acknowledge we are making progress then we will just arrive exhausted rather than energised and lifted.
We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives and for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.

It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.
As a coach, my goal is to help clients create the success they want in order to live a fulfilled and purposeful life. However, my system for helping them to achieve that is the strategy and planning tools that I share with them in our sessions.
As a writer, my goal is to write the book. My management system is the writing schedule that I now follow each week, and acknowledging the HUGE progress that I am actually making!
If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
Now for the really interesting question:
If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results? Well I can confirm that yes-you clearly DO still get the results because my book writing progress is proof of that!
I also find that goals can have a negative impact if not handled properly. Some of my clients comment that they are striving for success and change but that in doing so they feel not good enough because they have not yet achieved their main aim. It is far better to commit to and celebrate the success that a system or a journey gives you than to say to yourself that you won’t be good enough until you reach your goal.
Instead of focussing purely on the goal-put emphasis on the process you are going through and the progress you are making each and every day as you get closer to your goal.
Keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals.
When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
Goals don’t always keep you motivated over the long-term because they can be about the short-term result. Systems are about the long-term process. In the end, the process always wins. Goals also suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.
We try to plan out where we will be and when we will make it there. We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way. Goals are good for planning and organising your ideas, but increasingly I am encouraging clients to enjoy the way they are reaching their goal and celebrate all their successes along the way-in other words they are creating their own systems and processes that they are committed to following and that way they can truly appreciate and acknowledge ALL of their progress ALL the time-making that a BIG motivator.

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