Tag Archives: goals

If Goal Setting Doesn’t Work, Try This


At this time of year there are hundreds of blog posts and articles from all sorts of people telling you how to set and achieve your goals. And hundreds of other articles outlining all sorts of reasons why you’re unlikely to achieve your new year’s resolutions.

I don’t know about you, but around this time of year I really enjoy spending time reflecting on the year that has just come to a close and making plans for the coming year. I am fortunate to have a great friend and accountability partner and we have spent several hours together discussing our plans for 2017.

What is really interesting (and quite frustrating to her I’m sure) is how different we are when it comes to goal setting. She is very structured and likes to set achievable goals with achievable time frames. She is the type of person who will beat herself up if she doesn’t achieve a goal.

I, on the other hand, like to be more fluid with my goals. I’m not saying it always works but it’s a better approach for me as I’m not driven in the same way to achieve specific goals. And I also like the idea of not limiting what you think you can achieve, because in my experience you can usually achieve more than you think you can!

As an example, I have a vague goal of improving my fitness and energy levels in 2017 so on Boxing Day I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I went for a run today?” I don’t consider myself to be a runner and haven’t actually ‘run’ for many months; however, I figured I would just get out the door and see what happened. As I was running I felt okay and started to think “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just keep running for as long as I feel okay?”

So I kept running. At around 3.5kms I noticed my legs were starting to hurt but I thought “Wouldn’t it be great if I could run 4km today without stopping?” So I kept running. Once I reached 4km I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could run 5km without stopping?” (5km is the furthest I have ever run without stopping and I’ve only done that twice in my life – once last July when running with someone else and once in a ‘fun’ run more than 20 years ago!)

So I kept running. Once I got it into my head that it would be a great thing to do, I actually ran past my house and did an extra lap around the block to bring the total distance up to 5km. I completely surprised myself at my ability to achieve this. And that’s what I love about this way of setting goals. If I had have set off with a goal of running 5km that day, I doubt whether I would have set off in the first place!

So this year I’ve decided to set out my plans for the year as a series of questions. For example:

  • Wouldn’t it be great if my book was published this year? Yes it would!
  • Wouldn’t it be great if I could learn to surf this year? Yes it would!
  • Wouldn’t it be great if I was booked for more international speaking gigs this year? Yes it would!

I took a similar approach when I stopped drinking alcohol for a year. I didn’t proclaim that I was going to stop drinking alcohol for a year, I simply thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I stopped drinking alcohol for a while?” As the year progressed I changed the question several times until I was at about 11 months and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could say I had stopped for a year?” And I did. I’m going to try the same approach with junk food this year!

So if SMART goal setting doesn’t work for you (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound), why not try a different approach?  What do you want to achieve or focus on this year? If you’re experiencing any resistance to your goal setting I encourage you to consider turning it into a question. For example if you want to get over your fear of public speaking, consider starting with, “Wouldn’t it be great if could speak up at a meeting this week?” Then you can move on to, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could visit a public speaking group just to see what it’s like?” And once you’ve done that, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could try out a short speech in front of a small supportive audience?” Yes it would!

Obviously, you also have to make the decision to do it and take action, but I find it’s so much easier to just take that initial first step with a more vague question pondering the possibility rather than a hard and fast statement of the goal. For me, this way of working towards what I want to achieve is far more appealing than specific time bound goals, and the great thing is that I never beat myself up for not achieving something because I always seem to be moving forward. Of course, you might think of this as a cop out, but I find that by using this approach I often achieve more than I would have originally thought possible.

So, if you’re like my friend who prefers to set and achieve SMART goals and that works for you, go for it. But if you want to try an alternative in 2017, why not ask the question “Wouldn’t it be great if… (fill in the blank)?”

Here’s to a year of exciting possibilities!

If you enjoyed this article, click here to access Mel Sherwood’s ‘Top 5 Tips for Public Speaking Success’

Mel Sherwood is a pitch and presentation specialist who prepares ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals to take centre stage, embrace the spotlight and present with more confidence, credibility and conviction. She is a multi-award winning speaker, trainer and coach and the founder of Grow Your Potential, which specialises in supporting individuals and organisations to design and deliver winning pitches and presentations.

Mel’s background includes over 20 years’ experience in public, private and not-for-profit organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom and she has also worked as an actor, presenter and singer. To find out more about Mel’s talks and programmes go to www.grow-your-potential.com or for public speaking and pitching tips follow Mel on Twitter @MelSherwood_



Feeling the Fear and Making A Difference To Last Year

Mel Skydiving

This is a guest blog post by Philippa Linane of Decision Happy. Philippa’s work is based on the best-selling book ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, which had a significant impact on my life when I first read it in the early nineties. I implemented the principles as I pursued my dream of becoming a professional actor and singer and have used affirmations and other empowering techniques throughout my life to overcome my fear, step outside my comfort zone and help achieve my goals (including jumping out of a plane – yes, that’s me in the photo!) 

We are now three weeks into January and I wonder how you’re getting on with your plans for 2014. How is this year going to be different to the past? Have you made plans? Are you moving forward with them? Or are you letting fear hold you back? 

Philippa’s blog post will provide you with food for thought and some techniques for feeling the fear and making a difference to last year – enjoy! 

Mel x


As we enter another year full of good intentions and plans to get more out of this year, I wonder how you are going about doing it. What is going to be different this year to last year?  I am not necessarily meaning huge life changing events; I am talking about day to day things that could be working better for you, the small steps that can lead to a bigger life. For example, we could pay a bit more attention to our thoughts and actions and put some practises in place that become a way of life as per the principles of the book ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. These techniques can enable us to better handle whatever life throws at us.

Fear keeps a lot of us from doing many things, whilst for others it is the driving force behind them doing it. It can hold us in a place of pain or a place of power. I once lived in a place of pain and nervous energy, until I came across ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ and practised the tools and techniques. Gradually I gained in confidence and self-belief and my life started changing. From choosing a pair of glasses for myself to getting a new job and travelling alone to and around Australia. It didn’t stop there and it will continue as it is a lifelong process.

Everything we do and achieve is born out of how much confidence and self-belief we have. Understanding how we hold fear is the key to pushing through it and growing each time. You see, the fear doesn’t go away, we just gain a little more confidence each time. Quite often another fear arises, which we have to overcome if we want to grow.

So how do we push through our fears?

Whether you believe in yourself or not, act ‘as if’. The more you act ‘as if’, the more you become the person you want to be. Whatever your limiting belief is, identify the opposite of that and affirm it. For example, if you are having a troubled time, use the affirmation ‘it is all happening perfectly’. If you are feeling weak and unloved, use the affirmation ‘I am powerful and I am loved’. If your relationship with money needs to improve, use ‘I have a great relationship with money; I am responsible and I manage it well’. If you are afraid to speak up, use ‘It is safe for me to speak up; I am clear and speak kindly’. Ensure that the statements are in the present tense and keep them positive. Repeat these affirmations like a mantra – write them down, stick them on doors, mirrors, desks, etc – until they become second nature and actually come up as positive thoughts when you need them. Choose and use whatever affirmations work for you.

Get in touch with your inner chatterbox; start catching your negative self-talk and turn it round by asking yourself ‘what if’. What if it could work? What if the negative belief isn’t true? What would I be doing? How would I be behaving? And see what comes up for you.

Look at the pay offs for staying stuck. When you are in your comfort zone nothing changes – life may not get any worse but it is unlikely to get better. Think about the pay offs for you. Are the pay offs for staying stuck bigger than the pay offs for moving forward?  Or not?

Are you taking full responsibility? I am not talking about working and paying the bills; I mean for everything.  Try spending a week being blame free, of others and of yourself. If something isn’t working, ask yourself where you are not taking responsibility. Think about how else you could look at this issue and gain another perspective. Attitude is everything, change your attitude and you can change your life.

Philippa Linane
Life Coach and Licensed Trainer – Decision Happy

For more information about Philippa Linane, click here.

If overcoming your fear of public speaking is one of your goals for this year, click here to find out how easy it is to go from fearful to fantastic!