We often set goals and aim to become better. When we achieve these goals, we can often be disappointed in that other people may not recognise how well we have done. There needs to be a shift in how we see our success.

In the past two weeks I have spoken a lot about setting goals and shifting your mindset. The main take-aways from the articles have been:

The last step is focusing on “mastery goals” rather than “performance goals”. When we set performance goals they are usually associated with external validation. This means that we experience rewards through the good feeling that comes with recognition from others. If we set a goal to do well in a test just to make our parents proud, that would be a performance goal. Trying to do well in a competition for recognition from fans is another example.

Performance goals are similar to outcome goals in the sense that they are limited by external circumstances. The weather may affect a race and make you run slower. The flu may affect your grades in a test. Your children may get sick and you may not be able to train as hard as others for a competition.

When we rely on external validation from others, we put our happiness in their hands. Their level of approval will also affect how we see our achievement. If we are really proud and share an experience with someone who we really want to impress, and they show minimal admiration? We will immediately feel less enthusiastic about our win.

This is why shifting our focus to mastery goals is so important

Mastery goals emphasise process over product. In this way, we appreciate every second we shave off of our personal best time.

Mastery goals focus on the intrinsic process of your progress. At the end of the day, only you know how much work you have out into learning a new skill. When you experience success with that skill, feel the pride – you have earned this.

When you achieve mastery goals, the gratification is separate from anyone else’s judgement. This form of goal setting does not allow you to place value on your own success based on what another thinks of the achievement. You know how hard you worked, you get to decide how proud and enthusiastic you can feel!

When you succeed with mastery goals, you will feel more motivated as you have done it for yourself and for the process. You are not doing it to please others.

How to set mastery goals

Let’s look at the difference between performance goals and mastery goals:

Performance goal: Beat my personal best time for a 10km race.

Mastery goal: Focus on running with good form and technique. Ask a trainer for tips on how to improve my running stride and gait.

Performance goal: Do more pull ups.

Mastery goal: Work on foundational muscles to avoid injury and to build up the correct strength needed for overall fitness.

Performance goal: Drop to 8% body fat.

Mastery goal: Become efficient in meal preparation and planning. Ensure my meals are healthy and well-balanced.

Performance goal: Score 85% on my upcoming exam.

Mastery goal: Carve out enough time in my schedule in order to understand the material that I am learning and apply it to my life.

It is clear from these examples that mastery goals are focused on long-term success, and are more holistic. They are focused on optimal health and wellness.

So let’s get to it

Write down a desired outcome.

Think about why you want to achieve this goal – what are your values around this? What does it mean to you?

Turn it around to see why you would like to master this goal and take validation out of the equation. What will this do for your health and wellness in the long run? How does it affect your happiness?

Write down two actions that you can do to master this goal.

Track your progress for your own motivation.

You’ve got this

True gratitude and appreciation for the self will only come through self-love. See what you can achieve. Love yourself for your wins. Other people do not know what you have gone through to be where you are. They don’t understand the process. They have not been there.

I write this with a full heart as I experienced this rather recently. I was competing in my first Spartan race. When I came to the monkey bars I was feeling pretty fatigued and my grip was worn out. I shook myself out for a bit and then began the obstacle. When I dropped down at the end I fell on my knees and burst into tears with gratitude. I thought of all the times I had ripped the skin off my hands preparing for this moment! Spectators were yelling at me to keep on moving but I was still for a moment to really appreciate myself and how strong I felt. True self love and pride!

I really wish for everyone to have incredible moments like these. Be real, be honest, be true. Then love and appreciate yourself for the process.

Lots of light and love xx

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