Published August 30, 2019

Imagine having just reached a coveted and desired goal. How will you now move on from there?

Summer is drawing to an end and thus begins a new period of intense work for many of us. It is now that we take on new challenges and set ourselves bold goals for the foreseeable future. A lot has been written about how to best reach our goals and you probably already know some of the smartest strategies: thorough planning, one step at a time, set realistic and measurable goals, set yourself a deadline, and so on.

But when you have reached your goal – what then? Very little research can be found on the best way forward after we have reached our goals. Until now! According to the scientific internet site Research Digest, researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business have studied this important step and seen some interesting results linked to our mindset.

The researchers conducted six studies on more than 1,600 subjects who had all either reached a business goal, an academic goal or a training goal. The participants were divided into three groups, where the first group was asked to see their achievement as having “reached their destination”. The second group was asked to view their achieved goals as having “completed a journey” and the third group were given no instructions at all on how to view their accomplishments.

The scientists followed up each and every subject to find out what happened afterwards. It turned out that the subjects in the “journey group” were much more motivated to continue working hard after they had reached their goals and did so. For example, there were many more participants in the ”journey group” who carried on training after having achieved their first training goals than those who were in the “destination group” or in the group given no instructions. This was also true for the subjects with business goals and academic goals.

The author and Instagram poet R. M. Blake captures the essence of this movement quite well in the following lines from one of his poems,

“(…) and like all journeys,
she did not end, she just
simply changed directions
and kept going.”

And perhaps this is how we ought to view our work and the goals we set ourselves, as we now enter into autumn with all its kick off events and new goals and business plans:

We will never be ”done”, there will always be new challenges and new roads to explore!

And you are welcome to explore them with us. Welcome to a new season of The New Leadership blog!