The Secret of Goal Setting: Values Alignment

One of the first things we do in a coaching relationship — whether it is career coaching, leadership development, team coaching, or personal life coaching — is set goals. Like most coaches, I encourage my clients to (1) be very specific about their goals, (2) make them measurable (how will you know if you have succeeded?), (3) set a time limit, (4) identify what actions will move them toward their goal, and (5) relate their goal to their values, so that it inspires and motivates them.  It is the last element that is the true engine of achieving your goal. As an example, I will share a goal with you.

In nine days I will begin a two-day bike ride to raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis in the MS Waves to Wine Ride. I will ride 125 miles and am trying to raise $3000.  This goal is specific, measurable, time-limited and actionable. But what really makes it work as a goal is that it honors my core values and inspires me. I place a high value on health and fitness, and I go to the gym faithfully, but I have hit a plateau, so I was looking for a goal that would inspire me to work harder. Also, I like to cook and to eat well, and I want to maintain a healthy weight, which also means exercise. My upcoming ride and all the training rides leading up to it are well-aligned with these values, and I can feel myself getting fitter and stronger as a result of my efforts. This helps motivate me to keep at it. Another value of mine is service and generosity and it is important to me to be connected to family and friends. My father-in-law, several close friends, and hundreds of thousands of people I don’t know have Multiple Sclerosis. Raising money for the MS Society is a way of helping them. Finally, personal growth and development are important to me. The mental and physical challenges of this ride push me beyond my comfort zone. I have to prepare and train, and I predict that after riding the first 75 miles on day one, it will require both physical effort and mental toughness to get back in the saddle for 50 more miles the next day. But beyond the challenge of the event, I also find it edgy and uncomfortable to ask friends for money — even for a good cause — another area of growth and challenge. But because this goal is strongly connected to my values, I can overcome my discomfort and ask. Here goes: please donate now by clicking here. Whew, that was edgy!

I’m so excited about riding out on Saturday morning with my buddy Kate, who has MS, and my team, the Menstrual Cycles,  and biking through the city and across the Golden Gate Bridge and up into Sonoma. It’s a thrill and a privilege to participate with heart, mind, and body. Wish me luck. As Kate says:  Woohoo!