What is your answer to that question? How important are your goals? Really? How do you know?

I ask these questions of my clients often. Sometimes, you can tell from their body language and the excitement in their voice how committed they are. Other times, not so much.

There is a simple exercise you can conduct to test your commitment to goals. I call them pleasure and pain statements.

The process is simple.

Pleasure Statement

Pick a goal and write down why it is important to you. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Write as much as you can.
  • Describe in as much detail as possible the benefits of completing this goal.
  • Use emotive language. Don’t write clinically. Express the emotions you will feel if you achieve your desired end state. Use words like ‘amazing’, ‘essential’ and ‘fantastic’. ‘Good’ just doesn’t cut it.
  • Link the success of this goal to others you feel are essential. How will achieving this goal positively impact the achievement of others?

Pain Statement

For the same goal repeat the process for how you will feel if you don’t achieve it. Remember:

  • Write as much as you can.
  • Describe your disappointment in as much detail as you can.
  • Be as emotive as you can.
  • Detail how failure impacts other aspects of your life.

Things To Look Out For

If the goals indeed are of great import, you will notice you can write efficiently, in detail and the process will be energising. Crack on and work towards that goal. You will feel motivated to do so.

If you are unable to articulate why you’re working towards that particular goal, and the process leaves you feeling tired and deflated, it’s possible this goal is not crucial for you. If this is the case, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I achieving this for me or someone else?
  • Am I doing this because I genuinely want to or for some extrinsic reward?
  • If I didn’t achieve this goal, what would be the worst outcome? Can I live with that?

Of course, we often have to achieve goals we don’t want to; however, this process will help you with your insight into how important it is for you.