Need to know info: 

  • Reaching a goal is the result of considered and thought out journeys. 
  • Set achievable and dream goals - preparing for adversity along the way. 
  • Don’t be afraid to move your goalposts and once you’ve reached your goal take pride in revelling in it. 

Ever looked at an entrepreneur, athlete, artist or friend and think ‘I could never achieve what they have’. Yeah us too. We often chain it down to opportunity, talent, confidence or luck when the reality is that you’re only seeing the final step of a long journey. And with this lack of transparency comes a blindspot - where do we start, how do we push through the tough moments and ultimately achieve what we’ve always wanted? Whether that be in our careers, relationships, finances, fitness or health. To help us through every step we’re giving you access to someone who is no stranger to smashing goals: world record-breaking marathon runner Paula Radcliffe. 

Your training plan

In our PepTalk with Paula Radcliffe, she likened the journey of change to training for a marathon. And, of course, the first step of this is to set the goal you’re trying to achieve. When you’re in the mindset for change, it often comes from a place of self-judgement. By definition of setting goals, you have to want to change something in your life. So to keep you on the right track and to start from a point of compassion rather than judgement, Paula suggested keeping a few pointers in mind. 

  • When setting goals, do so on two levels: achievable and dream. Set small goals which you’ll hope to hit at set points of your journey and a dream goal too. You can’t strive for more if you won’t even allow yourself to think that it could be possible. 
  • Compete against yourself no one else. Self-motivation and striving for your own happiness (however that may manifest itself) is the most powerful tool in keeping connected to the outcome. 
  • Don’t put limits on what you’re trying to achieve. Go into this with the mindset ‘Let’s see what I can do’ rather than being tied to only going as far as your goals permit. Paula highlighted that if she was ahead of her planned pace in a race and was feeling good why would she slow down? 
  • Strive to master your craft and find passion in what you’re doing. Rather than just looking at a linear progression from point A to point B, access the aspects of this journey that excite you and find passion in them. 
  • Make a plan for yourself.  Set timeframes in line with your goals. Use them as a guideline to consistently check in with yourself. 
  • Create a team of people around you who have a diverse range of skills and support. 

Running the race

No strategy that will guarantee a smooth road. But in those moments of difficulty how do you overcome adversity and prevent yourself from completely giving up? Paula shared how she’s made it through some of the toughest times in her athletics career and personal life: 

  • Have trust in the plan. When you’re struggling to see the point in continuing, your plan can help you to put one foot in front of the other. Almost like monkey bars across rough waters. 
  • Don’t take adversity personally. Life throws us curveballs, it’s what we do with these challenges that defines who we are. 
  • Remember that on the road to mastery there is as much to learn from the losing as from the winning. 
  • If you find yourself falling into comparison traps, replace them with compassion. Remember success, happiness or progress is not a finite resource. There’s enough to go around. 
  • Don’t hold onto the setbacks or defeats, learn from them and move on. The key is not allowing that negative mindset to permeate past the present moment. 
  • Change up your surroundings. If everything is too overwhelming and you’ve lost motivation change your scenery. Go away for a few days, get out of your routine and do something for yourself. 
  • Look at the bigger picture. Focusing on one dip in your journey prevents you from seeing the progress you’ve made overall. 
  • Roll over your goals if you don’t achieve them. There’s no shame in taking longer than expected to reach them or re-evaluate. Accepting your weaknesses and working on them comes from a place of strength. 
  • Consistently recognise your achievements on a daily or weekly basis. Not just a big well done at the end. 
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By the very nature of having goals, we see the point to achievement as the endpoint. Taking time to reflect is essential to acknowledge your journey and see how far you’ve come. Once you’ve reaped the rewards, you can evaluate where you want to go next. As we grow, what makes us happy will change and so too will what we want for ourselves. For Paula, her goals were previously centred around athletics, but now her focus is on her family and the relationships that surround it. 

Setting goals in line with your development is one of the most self-compassionate things we can do. The very act of wanting more for our future selves allows us to see that we deserve and believe that we can reach success in all aspects of our lives. Feel inspired to start your own self-development journey? Why not check out some more content from experts who can help you on the right track - from finance to fitness, careers to relationships. Take a look here. Or if you're on the look out for a private PepTalk with one of our experts (including Paula) get in touch with our team to find out more.

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