At Canary Coaching we often support clients on goals, from setting realistic ones, to putting in milestones, to achievement…and setbacks.

I am always looking for strategies that successful achievers have, which I can share with those experiencing setbacks. Most recently I asked a previous client who had lost half of his body weight over the past two and a half years, going from morbidly obese to a healthy BMI, “what advice would you give other people attempting to achieve that goal?”

His answer was a brilliant, easy to share strategy for setbacks. He explained that he still ‘fell off the wagon’ having the odd binge, but instead of thinking ‘I’ve ruined it now, there’s no point’, and giving up (and worse, punishing himself for doing so), he decided to get back on the wagon the next day. Simple.

He concluded by saying that the cumulative effect of all the days ‘on the wagon’ far outweighed the setbacks, and therefore no binge, or break in training is worth deleting the goal for. He is happier now than I have ever seen him.I love this outlook and have talked it through with clients who have a variety of goals, be it to ignore social media during working hours, run the marathon or do internet dating. Initially we talked about going to bed being the ‘re-set’, to ‘start-again’ the next morning. But then I brought it forward, what if you ‘re-set’ straight after the set-back?

Food for thought…

If you’ve got a goal that you’d like some coaching and support with in order to achieve, contact us.


Er...isn’t it a bit early for this?
It may seem that way to some people –resolutions are very often formed out of the carnage that is Christmas – hastily made plans to convince ourselves that all that has been done can be undone now that a fresh new year is upon us.

Let me ask you a question. How many of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 will you have achieved by the end of December? How many have been let slide for various excellent reasons? what am I supposed to do?
A bit of planning is all. The reason that so many resolutions get shelved is that they’re either not that achievable in the first place, or they didn’t take into account the various aspects of life that tend to get in the way. They were ‘dreams’ rather than ‘plans’.

That makes talk me through it.
Well here’s a quick tool you can use to make your resolutions a lot more likely to happen. Write answers to each of these sections.

  • Positive. Talk in terms of what you do want rather than what you want to give up. I want to play the guitar, I want to be a size 10, I want to be a non-smoker, I want to speak Italian.
  • Evidence. What will be evidence that you’ve achieved the goal – what will you see and hear? ‘I’ll see my family singing along with me, ‘I’ll hear people say ‘you look well!’. List as many as you can.
  • Context. Frame the context in which you want to have these things – ‘I want to play the guitar in the evenings with my family’, ‘I want to be a size 10 in July and for the rest of the year after that’.
  • Self-Achievable. This is probably the most important. If you’re relying on the behaviour of someone else, then you don’t have control over whether you do it. So rather than ‘I want to have a published novel’, how about ‘I want to have finished writing my novel’. 

  • Advantages and Disadvantages. Consider these carefully. What will be the benefits of being able to speak another language? What will be the drawbacks of training for the marathon – especially in the winter months? Considering these and acknowledging them means you’re much more likely to achieve as you’re going into the goal knowing about the hurdles you may face.
  • Worthwhile. A final check. What will achieving do for you? What will it help you to avoid? What are the benefits?

And you really think this will work?
Yes. Using this tool makes ‘dream’ seem real and turns it into ‘well-formed outcome’. You might want to go on from this into making a more solid timetable or timeline and get buy in and support from members of your family and friends. Why not have a think about next year now, while you’ve got time, before the Christmas craziness is upon us – that way you can know what you’re looking forward to. 

If you'd like some coaching to get you ready for the new year, or even to handle the stress that Christmas may bring,  feel free to get in touch.

We are offering a *Resolute Resolutions* coaching package - a great gift for you or a loved one to ensure you reach your goals in 2013. Click here for more info.