The second half of the year is a good time to evaluate how to achieve your goals for the year. By this time, you have an indication of what’s working and what’s not working. Also, if you completed a mid-year review, you have a clear idea of the changes you have to make.

Going beyond goal setting, have you ever prepared for what will happen after you achieve your goals? Or do you simply handle whatever comes with the achievement of your goals? Have there been times when something caught you off guard once you have achieved a goal?

Some goals I’ve achieved over the years came with negative consequences. I was not prepared for these repercussions and some made me wish I had not achieved the goals.

Examples of goals gone sour

1. Weight loss

A few years ago, I wanted to lose weight so I shed off 22kg in 6 months. I looked and felt 10 years younger.

At that time, I was studying outside the country and you can imagine the shock on people’s faces when I came back home! Some people couldn’t handle the new me and this brought a lot of challenges.

I also couldn’t handle the attention I was getting, especially from men. I was in my late 30s and getting the same attention as I did in my early 20s. So I freaked out…and gained back all the weight, and more, in a short while.

When setting the goal to lose weight, I didn’t think of how I was going to handle living as a new person. This experience made me empathize with people who become anorexic after losing weight because they still ‘see’ themselves as fat and ‘feel’ fat all the time.

2. Moving to a new town

I moved from Mombasa to Nairobi in 2009, but I really wanted to move back to Mombasa. So I set a goal of making the move in December 2015 once my eldest son completed primary school.

Events unfolded in such a way that I achieved this goal one year in advance and I moved in December 2014. However, I had underestimated the changes I would have to make in my life and business after the move.

2015 ended up being a very challenging year, especially in my business, as I made the mental and physical shifts.

3. Getting my dream car

I had this dream car that I thought of every day. The picture was on my Vision Board and it was my screen saver on the computer and tablet. My children and I would also count the number of similar cars as I dropped and picked them from school.

The car landed in my hands without much effort, but I hadn’t thought of the expenses it would incur. It came with costs for insurance, fuel (it was a guzzler), maintenance, and repairs. I also got warnings from people about the potential of being carjacked – which put me on high alert.

Within a year of getting this car, I was very tired of it and rarely used it. There were times when I found myself thinking nostalgically about my previous car, a Toyota Vitz. The reality of getting my dream car didn’t match the feelings I had when dreaming about it!

Achieve your goals by going beyond goal setting

I could give more examples, but I’m sure you now get the drift.

Looking at your own life, can you see similar examples? Are there goals that led to more distress instead of the positive vibes that you thought would come with achieving them?

As you work on your goals, take a step back and look at the negative repercussions or side effects that could come from achieving these goals.

Look at each goal you’re currently working on and ask yourself, “And then what…?” so that you identify what could possibly happen after you achieve it.

Some common examples to work with

1. You want a promotion

The money, recognition and prestige that comes with the promotion are very appealing. However, are you ready for the changes that will happen in your all areas of your life?

  • What if being promoted takes you away from your family and other social activities?
  • Are you prepared to spend extra hours working or travelling as part of this promotion?
  • What if the extra stress that comes with the job leads to health issues for you?
  • How will your family, friends and other colleagues handle the growth you’ll get when you rise in your career?
  • What will happen to your relationships when you rise way above the people you hang out with regularly?
  • If you’re married or in a relationship, how will your partner handle this growth, especially if you earn more than him?

2. You want to get married this year

You desperately want to have that lovely wedding that you’ve planned for for years. All you need is for the man to ask for your hand in marriage.

Love stories normally end with the wedding and people forget that marriage is what happens after the wedding. What will happen after you get married?

Will you want to be with this person if they:

  • no longer look supuu (great) and their body has changed for the worse?
  • lost their sight, hearing, or some of their limbs?
  • lost their job or business?
  • were unfaithful to you?
  • caused you pain?
  • stole all your savings or gambled family money?
  • got publicly implicated in some shady dealings?
  • turned into their (or your) mother or father?
  • …?

Can you look into the future and say, “Yes, I’d still want to be with him no matter what”?

I wish pre-marital counselling included a visit to the divorce court where the soon-to-be-married couple is shown worst-case scenarios before they get married! Maybe people would take marriage more seriously after that.

3. Your biological clock is ticking…

…and you would do anything to get a baby.

I’ve met women who are so desperate to have a child that they would do anything to get one. Some trap men into marriage and others just get pregnant to fulfil this wish.

Relationships get broken. People feel trapped and react accordingly. There’s a lot of resentment associated with the child.

In all these scenarios, the person behind the scheming (or goal) ends up losing. They never expected their bundle of joy to be so much work, expense, and/or pain.

4. You want to start a business

Dreaming of starting a business is exciting. The reality of owning a business, especially during the startup phase, can be very challenging. When setting a goal to get into business ask yourself:

  • Do you have the time to handle the business?
  • Are you willing to go without an income from the business for the next 6 months or 1 year?
  • How would you feel or react if this business failed?
  • What if someone conned you and you lost your business or money?
  • How will you handle lean months when you have few or no customers?
  • What exactly will have to happen or change once the business is up and running?
  • If you’re starting the business while still working, will your family and friends be willing to put up with your absence and lack of availability?
  • How will your relationships change?

This doesn’t mean that you should not start your business now. I’m asking you to evaluate the potential challenges that will come with the business.

5. You want to buy a new car, home, or other large purchases

  • Is the purchase the right thing to make now or are you doing it to match your friends?
  • Do you have the money to make the purchase or will you have to take a loan?
  • What are the implications of making the purchase through a loan? Are there some basics that you’ll have to give up in order to service the loan?
  • How much will it cost you to maintain that purchase?
  • Do you need to buy extras together with this purchase?
  • What kind of a person will you have to become and do you need to change your image and lifestyle too?
  • Will there be additional stress when you worry about security?

Some large purchases will move your life forward. But there are others that will make your life a nightmare when maintaining and servicing them.

On a lighter note, a close friend got into credit card debt because she wanted to be like her friends. One day in a chama meeting, she noticed that her friend’s wallet had many cards. And so she set a goal to have as many cards as she could in her wallet.

She got a number of credit cards because she wanted people to admire her when she opened her wallet. Years later, the cards in her wallet had become a big burden and headache. Servicing these cards was expensive and she was losing a lot of money in the process.

We laughed about it when she finally owned up. But, her story emphasized the fact that many people are breaking under debt they incurred so as to be admired by others.

What next?

Goals – whether written, voiced, or just deep in our hearts – can come with responsibilities or unexpected after-effects.

As you work on your goals this year, go beyond goal setting and evaluate:

  1. What it means to work on that goal – giving it your all and nothing less.
  2. What comes with the goal.
  3. How you will handle any responsibilities or negative situations that accompany the goal.

You may not know exactly what comes next, but you will have a clearer picture of what to expect and how you can handle it. You’ll also be able to build in some extra cushioning into your goal, just in case.

For example, if I was to work on my dream car today, I’d state my goal in such a way that:

  • It takes care of getting the car,
  • It provides me with all the resources I need to own and maintain the car,
  • The goal creates a positive and enjoyable experience with the car.

Maybe if I had done this before, I would have gotten comfort and security too. Or maybe, looking at all the extras that would come with it, I would have realized that I really didn’t want that car anymore!

Over to you now…

What do you think of this process?

Do you normally plan for what will happen after you achieve your goals? Have you worked hard on some goals and then not enjoyed achieving them? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the Comments.

(Image credit Unsplash)

Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

    2 replies to "Going Beyond Goal Setting to Achieve Your Goals"

    • Ronni

      This is so true! I can relate having gone through the same a number of times. The one distinct memory was wanting a certain promotion so bad, I prayed, worked, did the affirmations and yes, no surprise there, I got the job. Exactly one month after I was miserable and wondering how to get out of it. It really is true what they say, be careful what you say – you might just get it (and hate it afterwards!). Powerful post and I’m happy to say that I now deeply evaluate my reasons for settings goals and also try to factor in as much as possible, the “what happens after” part.

      • Caroline Gikonyo

        Wow Ronni, that must have really sucked! Makes me think that info about affirmations needs to come with a ‘buyer beware’ warning that reads, “Use with caution. Results may not be as expected.” Turning things around after you get what you’ve been affirming can be really hard. Thanks for your feedback and for sharing your experience.

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