Goal Achievement – Get Unstuck and Figure Out Your Challenges

You have set a goal that feels authentic and inspirational. You have refined it down to your short-term SMART Goal so that your goal feels manageable. You are taking your weekly actions. And then something happens. You get stuck. 

This is extremely common! If goal-achievement were merely a matter of setting the right goals, we would all get what we wanted all the time. Now we need one to go one step further and figure out the challenges that might be getting in the way of your accomplishing your big goal? This is a critical step to successful goal achievement and one that you need to master so that your goals do not get sabotaged by those obstacles!

Let’s return to the goal of getting to Carnegie Hall. You have broken down your vision and you have a 3-month goal that feels manageable: to learn a specific piece and ideally to perform it. Somehow, you can’t seem to motivate yourself to practice as much as you know you need. What now? You know you want this goal so you are not about to quit. What can you do to keep the momentum going and jump-start your goal-achievement?

The first step is to making any meaningful change is to become aware of what is getting in the way of your goal. So let’s figure out what your challenges might be.

It helps to break down your challenges into the following categories:

o Skills & Education 

o Money 

o Professional Experience 

o Personal Development 

o Career Development 

o Other

Our young musician’s list might look something like this:

o Skills & Education: the piece I am working on requires a greater level of technical proficiency than I currently possess. 

o Money: I constantly worry about how to make money as a musician. 

o Professional Experience: I need more performance opportunities and do not know how to get them.

o Personal Development: I have a nagging feeling that I might not be up to the task of achieving this goal. 

o Career Development: My career is in its infancy and I don’t know what my next steps are. 

o Other: I have so much on my plate that I do not know where to begin.

No wonder you can’t practice! Between worrying about your technique, your finances, your level of professional experience and state of your career, your raging inner critic and your time management challenges, who would be able to find the peace of mind to sit down and master a new piece!

What can you do about this? Let’s figure out your strategies and the actions that you can begin to take right now so that those challenges do not prevent you from achieving your goals-the subject of my next article.


(C) Astrid Baumgardner 2010




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Astrid Baumgardner, JD, PCC is a professional life coach and lawyer, Coordinator of Career Strategies and Lecturer at the Yale School of Music and the founder and President of Astrid Baumgardner Coaching + Training, which is dedicated to helping musicians, lawyers and creative professionals take charge of their lives and experience authentic success.  In addition to her work at YSM and her individual coaching practice, Astrid presents workshops at leading conservatories and law firms on topics including Career Planning, Goal-Setting, Time Management, Dynamic Communication, Conflict Management and  Personal Branding and Networking.  She is the author of numerous articles on the various aspects of how to achieve and live authentic success.