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Goal Setting with a Growth Mindset


Welcome to 2024! In our last newsletter, we ended the year with a reflection exercise.


The Power of the Pause

  • What did you do this year that you are most proud of? (This may be a work product or a relationship you’ve built, anything goes!)

  • What did you learn to do this year or get better at?

  • What, if anything, would you change about last year?

  • What are your work and/or personal goals for 2024?


Now that we’ve arrived in the New Year, let’s focus on the last prompt:

 

What are your work and/or personal goals for 2024? Or, asked another way, what does a successful 2024 look like for me?

 

We want to put our focus here because a prompt like this can feel overwhelming.

 

How do you know what your goals are? How do you figure that out?


 In a recent LinkedIn post, Dr. Amy Edmonson, Professor at Harvard Business School, challenged how we think about goal setting in this way:

“Make your goals hypotheses, not facts. This way, they can be tested, pursued, and modified as you learn.”  

What can get in the way of our ability to view our goals as hypotheses and not facts? In this blog post, we will dig into two key areas central to our work at Kane Learning: mindset and skillset.


 Mindset Shift: Curiosity

The goals we set are not all or nothing! All-or-nothing thinking is a fixed mindset and will certainly lead to abandoning the goal we set the second life gets in the way – the day we oversleep, a kid is sick and home from school, your calendar gets slammed with things out of your control – and suddenly, the deadline you set for yourself passes by and you let that goal go. An “unlock” in shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is leaning into curiosity. Instead of letting the “missed” deadline be the end of your goal, get curious! Sometimes our initial goals fail, and that’s ok! Amy Edmonson goes on to say:


“The purpose is not necessarily to succeed, but instead to gather information that can help you make smarter decisions in the future.”

Revisit your goals with curiosity: What’s a realistic timeline NOW? Is this still the right goal?

 

When we are curious, we open ourselves up to learning. This growth mindset allows us to get more comfortable with learning instead of always getting it right. Researcher Dr. Carol Dweck explains it this way:

“We no longer need to be know-it-alls. We need to become learn-it-alls, infinitely adapting and adjusting to new information, environments, and people. Learning is no longer the mark of a novice. It is a life-long practice.”

- Carol Dweck, Ph. D., Mindset, The New Psychology of Success


Building Our Skillsets: Get Practical

With a shift in mindset, we also need to get practical and build our skillsets around goal setting. Since the majority of New Year’s resolutions go unachieved, here are four practical ways to pursue your goals:


  • Get specific. The more specific and challenging the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. For example, take a goal for this year - running a half marathon.  While this is a challenging goal, until you sign up for one and create a plan to prepare, it won’t happen! According to Inc., “The more specific and challenging your goals, the higher your motivation toward hitting them.


  • Set goals you are passionate about! We don’t stick with things that we really don’t want to do. A TED Talk by researcher and professor Angela Duckworth explains the connection between the power of our passion and our ability to persevere. She calls it “grit.”


  • Phone a friend. Share your goal with a friend, colleague, leader, or mentor – someone you trust and who will also check in on you. This builds accountability, takes a good intention you are thinking about, and makes it a reality.  This can get even better when you both share a goal you’re working on and can provide feedback and accountability with a check-in cadence – maybe with a monthly or bi-monthly coffee or lunch.


  • Break down your goals into smaller goals. When we set a big goal for ourselves, it can feel overwhelming. Spend time figuring out what 4-5 smaller goals within that larger goal can serve as milestones toward that bigger goal. This can also help you adjust your goals if a timeline changes or something just isn’t working. 

 

If you haven’t had a chance to reflect on 2023 and want to build on The Power of Pause reflection prompts, here is a great resource: How to Create Your Own “Year In Review.”


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