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It’s February – How are Those Resolutions Working?

By now we’re well into 2015 and the question is out there ~ if you made yourself New Year’s Resolutions how are they working for you? Have you found them to be manageable or are they just frustrating you by now? Last month we started a discussion about getting tougher goals as a motivator for you based on the work by Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD. Specifically we’re talking about her work in the book, “Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals.” Today, as we look at those resolutions you might have set up for yourself I’d like to look at her work on how we frame our goals and how that in turn motivates us.

Halvorson talks about 2 ways we essentially frame goals for ourselves and this really struck me because coaching is frequently all about one kind of goal and business is frequently all about another kind of goal. And no, I’m not talking about those who aren’t earning money and those who do!

Halvorson talks about “Be Good” goals and “Get Better” goals. What’s the difference? “Be Good” goals are all about performance and how you’re doing; did you get the ‘A’ in that class or close that big deal. “Get Better” goals are all about what can be learned or what strides were made in pursuit of this overall goal. Care to guess which seems more coach-like and which one more business? That’s not to say they both don’t serve a role but when we’re talking about setting up a goal or finding our motivation its handy to known which kind of goals would be more helpful to us.

For goals that are more routine or not too far outside our current comfort zone we may choose to focus on Be Good goals. For example if you’re already a runner but you want to improve it might be best to focus on going faster, a Be Good goal. Focusing on time or improving distance are both very clear ~ you’ve either achieved the new, faster time or distance or not. Halvorson talks about it this way, “when you find something relatively easy to do, it’s very motivating to focus on giving the best possible performance and validating your goodness and it will probably pay off for you.”

All of this changes however when the task gets to be a bit more challenging, with bumps along the way. A Be Good goal under those circumstances frequently leads to frustration, anxiety and a general sense of discontentment. This is when Get Better goals are more helpful.

How? Get Better goals give you two advantages which, from a coaching point of view, are going to be helpful to you. First off when faced with a challenge or set back a Get Better goal keeps you from getting so discouraged. That’s not to say you won’t get discouraged but there’s more to point to as progress with a Get Better goal. “Second, when you do start to have doubts about how well you are doing, you are more likely to stay motivated anyway.” Even when things get rough you know you can still learn, you can still improve and get better. “So when a task is difficult, and persistence is the key to higher achievement, get-better mastery goals have the clear advantage.”

If this is an area you’d like help with because perhaps you’ve come to recognize that the way you’ve set up your goals is making it tough to get where you want to go, I’m all in! Let me know how I can help and together we can work together to set, frame and move toward your goals!

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