This box is out the back of the Coburg Town Hall as a smokers ballot box, it asks if people prefer reading or TV. It’s obvious that there is a stronger preference for reading, but I wonder how many of us actually read more than watch TV.

It’s probably a bit like smoking, most people who smoke will tell you they prefer not to smoke. The difference between what we prefer and what we do can be a gap we struggle to face.

Reading and TV is perhaps more innocuous than smoking or not. But it highlights something about how humans work. We often know what’s good for us, or what is a better choice, but what we actually do or how we behave in relation to that, might be different. It’s very human.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was a smoker, I set goals to stop year after year. Finally, I had a different kind of incentive. Pneumonia. It stopped me from smoking because my lungs were too damaged and I had a cough or bronchitis more often than not the year following pneumonia. It was also related to burn out and just not taking care of myself.

A few years later I valued my health more and wanted to take up a yoga practice. Again, took me years of having the intention to actually doing it and for the past 5 years, I can honestly say I’ve yoga’d most mornings. Just simple sun salutations, but it’s become a habit that my body just does when I get up. Besides setting goals, it took commitment and persistence.

After a while, I started to think new years resolutions and goal setting were just pointless. I was at a stage in my life where I was questioning a lot of things. One year I didn’t set goals at all and I actually accomplished a lot that year. I can see now that the past goals and my purpose-driven nature contributed to what I accomplished and that I was still working toward pursuing my dreams, despite not setting goals that year.

I’ve also set very specific goals for myself and been bitterly disappointed despite my best efforts. Some of it was out of my control, and in retrospect, changing industries is much harder than I expected.  So was starting a business. But one of the mantras that is keeping me going at the moment is “We can do hard things”.

After last year we know that we can get through difficult times. It makes our resilience palpable. We’re reminded that anything we pursue that’s worthwhile is rarely easy or simple.

With all I’ve learned over the years, it feels time to share what I know about goal setting and how it relates to purpose. Part of my purpose is to support others on their leadership journey and change the face of leadership, also inspired by the idea that I teach best what I need to learn most. 

For information about the RePurpose and Goals webinar, click here.  What has been your experience with goal setting and pursuing what’s important to you?