How to make your business goals more meaningful without lowering your sights

As the end of the year arrives, it is a time of reflection personally and professionally.

In business, it is a time to look back on results achieved and visions accomplished, whilst also looking forward, preparing yourself and your teams to deliver your business goals for the new year.

The fatal flaw

In my experience as an executive coach and a business leader for the past 15 years, I know how notorious we can be at finding the flaws. The annual year-end analysis is often based on targets missed (even though they were likely to be stretched multiple times!), failed projects and unmet expectations. We search out the gaps, remember where we missed the mark, and regret opportunities not taken.

It’s rarer for leaders to look at what went well, identify where they excelled and recognise where their teams stood out. Instead, accomplishments are dissolved on the basis that it was all just part of the job. Whilst this can be positive in some respects it largely leads us to feelings of failure, and desperation for things to get better in the future.

So if you’re feeling a little disheartened because you think you’re off-track, I’m going to outline a way that you can make your business goals feel more meaningful next year – without needing to lower your sights.

A radical idea

To do this, I have a radical suggestion…

I am going to suggest that you stop setting goals.

I know this idea goes against the grain, so let me explain more.

Part of us (usually an insecure or frightened part) wants to control future outcomes. We want certainty, and to protect ourselves from the unknown. Goals are a way of doing this. When you set a goal, you are saying you know how things should turn out. What is also being expressed is usually fear and uncertainty that you don’t actually know how things are going to turn out. Tricky eh?!

An advanced perspective

Whilst it is possible to have premonitions or experience intuition about the future, it is not possible to control future outcomes. This is a misleading, man-made idea, which goes against the natural principles of life. A more advanced perspective is to understand that the future cannot be controlled and that life will have its way! This is not to say that you are powerless though, in fact the opposite is true. You lose power when you try to control others or life (that usually ends in a fight!) and you gain confidence and strength when you respond to the way life is.

An alternative to goal setting

In the past, you might have experienced that your goals restrict outcomes by creating a narrower focus (which on occasions, for some people, is helpful!) However most leaders who are trying to bring about significant change want their teams to be curious, experiment, make mistakes, expand, innovate and create.

With that in mind, an alternative to setting goals is to create meaningful intentions.

If you are a leader who wants a different way to create your goals next year, here are some simple steps to help you do that:

  • Step 1 – Consider the change

Have a perspective on the change you want to create in the year ahead. What is the big game you want to play? Know why it matters to you, the business and the team.

  • Step 2 – Discover deeper meaning

Now contemplate the values that underpin this change? What contribution would this change make to you, the organisation, the team, and your broader community? Find a meaning that is yours not the organisations, and make it bigger than making money.

  • Step 3 – Articulate your place

Once you have connected to the deeper meaning of the change, it is time to understand your place in this change. What strengths will you have to draw upon? What qualities are hiding in your shadows that need to be made visible and be expressed? What insights do you already have about this change? Where would more information be useful to you?

  • Step 4 – Set your intention

Now, you can create some meaningful intentions. An intention is more than a mind based goal, it comes from your heart and will feel aligned within your body. Breathe it in. Feel it deeply.

When life leads you on a merry dance that goes in all directions (which it will!), you can come back to your intention as your point of reference. Knowing what mattered most to you about what you were trying to deliver, and discerning if that is still true and real today, will keep you grounded and guided without ever having to lower your sights.

If you are interested in learning more about new ways to consider old ideas, join me and the Pause team for our monthly MIND MATTERS webinar.

Register for free here



Be well,



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