Nearly at your goal and you stop? Sometimes it will be the best way forward

Women Potential -A mural by young women who see their potential and who have goals - Located on the wall of the football stadium in Dili, Timor Leste depicting a face with various art profession equipment and a young woman reading a book - taken 29 feb 2020

I set goals and last weekend I set a goal to climb Kristo Rei in Dili, Timor-Leste.  It is a big statue on top of a cliff just like the one in Rio de Janeiro.  I made it to the platform from where the stairs zig-zag to the top.  Despite my plan to reach the statue, I decided not to. The reason? My recent tummy bug and the heat, they made me think twice.  

The feature image in this blog is of a mural by young women expressing their belief in Women Potential and their goal is to make it a reality. It is one of several painted on the wall around the national stadium.

Most people in Timor Leste are entrepreneurs. Just like me, if they do not work, they do not earn.

Goals for the entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur I only earn when I work.  Even now, when I do receive paid sick leave as an AVI volunteer in Timor-Leste,  my entrepreneur mindset is strong.  My performance is dependent on my health so I make that a priority focus and set goals for my work, diet, hygiene, exercise and relaxation.

When I get stuck close to a goal my options include stop, return or divert. This does not mean I give up on my goal, it means I prioritise. I ask myself the question “how critical is it to achieve this goal now”.

Four ways to manage goals

1. Select the ones important to you

2. Categorise them into dreams, priorities or goals

3. Cut them up into sub-goals so you stay motivated along the way celebrating achievements

4. Include time frames and deadlines so you establish a routine

How do I know which goals are important to me

Every goal is set in context.  Some are business related, others are personal. Some relate to skills, others to values or interests.  Some people have the same goals, others have totally different ones. 

Key to all my goals is that they help me develop and improve myself or others. So, when a goal is real for me in my life, it is much easier to work towards it.  

My plan was to climb the cliff to the statue but after thinking about, it was really more about the exercise.  And by doing exercise that day, I achieved a sub-goal of walking at least two hours every weekend.  Add to that the steps I did manage and it was a definite ‘Well done Carina” for achieving what I did.

At work and in my networks, my goal is not always the outcome of a meeting.  Building up the team so it works well together is also a goal.  Achieving synergy across different circles of influence is an achievement and worth celebrating.  

If I am learning how to effectively work together in a team it is a personal achievement when I succeed, a goal reached.  For someone else it could be a sub-goal in their education journey. 

Weight-loss is for some a personal goal, others may need to because of medical reasons.   

All goals are relative to yourself.  So the next question is…  

Is this my dream, priority or goal?

These three concepts interact inside you and together they drive you forward.

You may have a dream that is pushed out of the way by a priority, but it never disappears. You may reach only a small goal but it does take you one step closer to your dream. Sometimes unexpected events turn things around and shift the priority of your goals and your journey may be a little longer.


‘something that you want to happen very much but that is not very likely’


‘something that is very important and must be dealt with before other things’


‘an aim or purpose’

Sometimes things do not go as planned. Read more on how to build resilience when you feel stressed and stuck in my blog here.

With the dynamics of dreams, priorities and goals, how do I build up confidence to reach my goals?

Every goal requires action to reach it.  When you know how many steps it takes to get there, every step taken is then an achievement.  This builds confidence in your ability as you know it shortens the journey to reach your goal. 

Like at school or in a training environment, learning is structured.  It is step-based and builds on the knowledge and skill you gain along the way. The premise is that to take the next step you have to first take the one before it. This also applies when you work towards reaching your goals.  To improve commitment, build a routine and break the journey down in manageable sections that build and connect with each other. 

When I plan what I need to do to reach my goals, how much time do I give myself to reach them?

Every goal is different. Some will have many action steps, others only a few.  Some are simple, others are complex.  Some you do by yourself, others in a team.  Maybe you only want to focus on it a few days a week, or you may want to take it on full-time. 

Achieving a goal is about will-power and determination. A ‘new’ daily routine is achievable with consistency. A goal to unlearning something that is addictive takes longer. A goal such as giving up smoking or drinking for example, requires not just will-power and determination but also support.  These three factors working together give you a high success rate of reaching your goal.         

Learning a new skill takes a lot longer than learning a new routine. A time frame to achieve such goals depends on your existing knowledge, skills, learning preference and opportunity to practice.  Apprenticeships which require certification at the end to meet industry standards take longer than a typing course for example.  

Goals that take the longest to achieve are outcome goals as they involve a journey to get there. Some take years or even a lifetime to achieve.  Setting sub-goals and celebrating small achievements are essential to stay focused and on the path towards reaching goals.  

SMART goal setting techniques

Be Specific – I use who, where, when, why and what – “I will walk outside 2 hours every Saturday”

Make the goals and steps Measurable – I use quantities – “ In Dili [with its tropical climate] I will drink 3 litres of water per day”

Believe that your goals are Achievable – I set goals that I believe I can do – “To join mountain treks in Timor Leste I will build up my fitness over 3 months with weekly lower grade walks, weekly climbs of the Kristo Rei steps and 3 days a week a walking circuit to the market or supermarket carrying my shopping in a backpack”

When they link to your ability they are Realistic– I set goals that are practical –  “To maintain a balanced nutritional intake of food I cook at least 4 times per week at home with fresh ingredients”

So you can see progress they are Time-related – I set goals with a time-frame and frequency – “I set at least 1 hour aside after work twice a week for yoga practice including a 15-minute relaxation exercise”

Find more useful information on Goal Setting here

What a goal means to you

Set goals that mean something in your life.  Make them relevant to you and you will reach them.

When my goals are not clear or I feel a little lost for inspiration and direction, I think about where I am at now, say out loud “Well done Carina” and feel much better.

Carina – February 2020
Nearly at your goal and you stop? Sometimes it will be the best way forward

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