Black Logo Wise Goals

Wisegoals - taking goal setting back!

-   James Stevenson (MSc, IEA) - Positive Psychology Coach

Introduction to WiseGoals - a.k.a THE RANT

Goal setting doesn't have to be about becoming a millionaire and driving a dream car. There I said it! It doesn't have to be about mansions and money and superyachts. That stuff is of no interest to me whatsoever. Who really cares about that? Sorry "the secret" but I'm right. You're wrong. End of argument. 

The dual_reality_of_goal_setting

Goals can be used for anything, yet too often they're not. Why is this?

They could be about inner harmony, kindness, happiness, and wholeness. They could be about listening well, creating equality, peaceful families and helping others. They can be about being there for a friend, working through an obstacle, and feeling healthier.

When I hear stories about people setting goals and winning the lottery or moving into their dream mansion I don't feel inspired. I feel frustrated that this is chosen as the "inspiring" story in the first place. The real "secret" is random one-off events are used to sell products that don't deliver the same results.

There is no connection whatsoever between the product being offered and the result in the "inspiring story". How do I know this? If it did work in general for the majority of people most of the time, there would be scientific studies showing that. Of course there aren't. So the same old story continues, using irrelevant anecdotal evidence to inspire people to become frustrated and desperate.

It's time to take goal setting back and return it to ordinary people with real life challenges. 

Changing the goal-setting narrative 

Many of the leading figures in the goal setting world talk about only 5% of people setting goals and them being the richest and most "successful". Do you see what's being implied here? I call bull-s***.

I for one have had enough of this tenuous connection. It's time to break free of this narrative once and for all. They perhaps think they're being encouraging, i.e. "you can join the illustrious 5% and become a millionaire" but what they're actually doing is keeping 95% of people out of some made up club.

Enough is enough. We're better than this. This is why wisegoals exists. We're a community of people who believe goal setting is for ordinary people who couldn't give a toss about being millionaires.

Emerson - to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishmentquote

In setting goals, the past matters just as much as the future 

Every person is born into a unique situation and set of circumstances. It could be said from the moment we're born we have a huge range of advantages and disadvantages. Everything that happens before we become adults is kind of happening to us, for no other reason than we were born in a certain place at a certain time into a certain family etc.

Have you noticed that the inner obstacles that come with such difficulties are so often ignored altogether? The millions of causes and affects in play through growing up is just kind of ignored and people are lumped together. What's that all about?

"Just look forward! The past doesn't exist" I mean I get it but it does. That's a fact. And it's very much there for each person in the present. Could it be that understanding the obstacles that exist in relation to the past, and the desires that exist in relation to the future could both be relevant?

The tendency to discard one for the other, is likely a lack of ability to hold the wholeness of life. This makes sense, as it's no easy task. It's easier to ignore it. But for some, it the past can't be ignored. It's call to be heard is too loud and important. It wishes to be heard, understood, and then positive approaches such as setting goals can be used. 

My 2024 review, published in Child Protection and Practice, looked at positive psychological variables that lessen the impact of Adverse childhood experiences (ACE's) on adults. It recommends a broader, more inclusive approach to mental health care... One that understands the negative and the positive, how they interact, and how they translate into personal change, the lessening of negative outcomes, and the building of positive ones. 

The wisdom of the greats of the past and present

At wisegoals, I love broadening the area of setting goals. For example, combining modern goal science with the greatest thinkers of all time, the likes of Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, Aristotle, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Their poetic and stirring insights bring much to the practice of intentions and goals. The quote below for example may suggest setting a goal to feel the wonder of things as if it were our last day on earth.  

Emerson - If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years, how men would marvel and stare quote

I've come to understand how activities such as goal setting, which can be so valuable and effective, are often also fraught with challenges that can make it emotionally difficult. Many people don't do it for excellent reason! The last thing they need is another person who finds it easy telling them how easy it is. 

I believe in your ability to understand and navigate such difficulties, to choose uniquely meaningful goals, to make hope-creating plans, and to grow positively. My goal is for you to be able to motivate yourself, coach yourself, and accomplish the things that matter most to you. 

Types of goal

When setting goals it can be helpful to understand that there are many types of goal that are used at different times for different reasons. They can all play an important part in your progress and success. 

  1. Performance vs Outcome goals
  2. Approach vs Avoidance goals
  3. Learning goals
  4. Long-term goals vs Short-term goals 
  5. Competing vs Complimenting goals
  6. Self-congruent goals
  7. Contribution vs Self-interest Goals
  8. Everest Goals

Having a clearer grasp of the different types of goals, why, when, and how you would use them, is a key skill in learning the art of setting goals. 

Emerson - The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall quote

Unsure about what to go for?

It's ok if you're unsure what you want at this stage. That's why I'm here, to guide you and support you until you find your way. 

Your goals have the potential to motivate you, empower you, and positively change you! I bet you've never heard that before ;-)

They also have the power to dishearten you, frustrate you, and make you wish you never started! I don't think that's said enough. 

Not many motivational speakers talk about that bit, do they! But I'm a psychologist, I'm interested in the whole picture.

We have lots of ways to get you closer to your goals. It might be some deeper learning, looking at examples, using a worksheet, trying an activity... Have a look around and see if you can try a few experiments that resonate with you. 

Tools and activities 

We have lots of tools and activities for you to try. For example, we have worksheets with powerful questions based on the psychology of coaching, and exercises from positive psychology shown to increase motivation and success. 

Learn more about Goal Setting

Do you think it might be helpful to learn a bit more about goal setting? You can choose from lots of articles. 

 area of Life

Want to explore a bit more about goals in different areas of life? 

Wishing you One more Step Forward

I hope you enjoy and find the website helpful. Let me know if there is any way I can be of further support. 

Best wishes!


Last Updated: 27/03/2024

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