Clever H
Mid-Winter 2017 - Womens' Health

Goal Setting: Why It Works and Why It Doesn’t


Goal Setting: Why It Works and Why It Doesn’t


Female hand holding a pen and writing a plan in a planner


I am not a real sports fan. I vaguely know the names of hockey and football teams, and somewhere in the recesses of my brain lives an understanding of how the games are played (sort of). But I do enjoy watching athletes when they are in their Zone, and there have been many opportunities to witness that glory in the recent snippets I have seen from the Olympics.


Perhaps the most inspiring part of watching anyone in “their Zone” (athlete, poet, actor, singer, doctor, lawyer, zoologist…anyone!) is knowing that they have, deep within them, this Knowing that they are fulfilling their purpose and have reached their GOAL of Doing What They Set Out To Do (and doing it well.)


Sometimes these moments, when I witness them, bring me to tears. I can just FEEL that “thing” — whatever it is — that emanates from a person when they are in their Zone. And it is quite glorious to behold.


And undeniably it is that same feeling that I wish to achieve as often as I possibly can.


That is one of my my number one goals: To be in my Zone as often as possible, doing what I set out to do, and doing it well. For me, this is the ultimate freedom, the greatest gift I can give myself and those around me.


But when people ask me what my goals are for the rest of 2016, for 2017, for the next 5, 10, 15 years and I tell them that, it leaves some people a bit perplexed. And then when I ask them about their goals, it’s quite likely that I look at them with that same look of confusion. And here’s why…


We are not all the same.


(Shocking, I know! LOL)


And so it stands to reason that what drives and motivates me will not be the same as what drives and motivates you.


Some people are number people. That’s just Who They Are. And you’ll recognize them because their goals include things like increasing sales by 15% next quarter, or reaching a net income of $16,000 each month, or selling 5200 widgets by year-end.


Some people are more service-oriented in their goal statements.They’ll say things like, “I want to support 100,000 women to leave their corporate jobs and become entrepreneurs.” Or “I want every client who comes into our office to experience the highest-level of customer service they’ve ever had.” Or “I want every person who stays at our hotel to feel like they are at Home.”


Some people are more “feeling-dominant” in their goal statements. “I want each and every day to feel the freedom of exploring Who I Am in relation to my work.” Or maybe they’ll say, “My deepest desire is to feel secure in the knowledge that I am serving my highest good in all that I do…and the highest good of all those whose lives I touch.”


Some are driven by money, some by fame, some by the desire to show the nay-sayers that they were wrong.

Some will do whatever it takes to make the cover of the Rolling Stone…and some just want a gold faucet in their bathroom…others simply want to feed their kids.


Some people set SMART goals, and some use goal-setting sheets. Some use affirmations, and some use Post-it Notes. Some people have vision boards, and some stick their Profit and Loss statements on the walls of their office.


But here’s the key to this whole goal-setting “thing:” Whatever you do, your method must work for you, and you must, in turn, work your method.


Long-ago I determined that I am a bit of a mix of different types of people when it comes to setting my goals. I have “feeling” goals, and I also have “number” goals, and I also have “service-based” goals. I even have “things” goals (I really do want to reno my kitchen!) So for me, the key is not to fall into any one category of “goal-setter,” but to embrace all of these types of goals and incorporate them into one large Goal Statement.


I also determined that I am not particularly driven by “time.”Because it is one of my core beliefs that time is “bendable,” I don’t really like to pretend otherwise. So to set a goal that is bound by time doesn’t work for me. Instead I prefer to go with the idea that the goals that I set will be achieved in the shortest time frame and in the most efficient way (vs “by year-end.”)


I have also discovered that I achieve my goals best when I keep them in my awareness, but don’t fixate on them. So while I have several vision boards, and a giant Post-it note on my office wall with a key affirmation on it, I find that I do best when I simply allow those pieces to be within my awareness, within my sights, but not in my focus day in and day out. This applies also to my financial goals. While I review my income and expenses every week, I don’t spend hours and hours pouring over the statements every night in the hopes that that will make my goals be realized sooner. That simply doesn’t work for me. Instead, that leaves me feeling anxious and afraid.

But it may work for you! And that is what I want most for you to take away from this note today.


Goal-setting, and, ultimately achieving those goals, is a very personal pursuit. You must find what works for you and then work it!


It may be that looking at your financial statements every night is the single best way for you to feel confident and secure about reaching your goals. So do it!


It may be that setting goals that speak to how you want to feel each and every day seem wishy-washy and slightly ridiculous to you. So don’t do that!


You may be the sort of person that loves to leave notes around the house for yourself so you can repeat your affirmations regularly throughout the day whenever you see one of them posted about. Then grab a ton of Post-it notes and get to it!


And if you’re motivated by reviewing the number of clients you have by reading their names to yourself every morning, then make a list and start reading.


The more ways in which we can welcome and embrace Who We Are and How We Function In The World and incorporate those into how we run our businesses, the better off we will be, for trying to fit into someone else’s way of being and doing simply doesn’t make sense (and ultimately wastes a lot of time and energy.)


So I encourage you to try some different ways of setting goals and working with them. Find what works for you! And share it with others, too. This is how we all learn of different methods in our search for the ways that will work best for us, and it keeps us all inspired along the way! And if you’d like to learn more about how to make your practice profitable (from a retired homeopath no less!) feel free to pop over and download the free audio, “Seven Steps for Making Your Practice Profitable.”  






About the author:

20141004li (36)modRebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients include CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit to find out how!




  1. Pingback: Introducing our CLEVER H. authors: Rebecca Liston | Clever H. - Series - 04/03/2017

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