Let’s get personal. Really, it’s the only way this is going to work.

Because here’s the thing: we all want to do what we want to do, right? It’s no fun being told what to do. So why should goal-setting be any different?

If you’ve ever wondered why you fail to reach your work-related goals, it may very be because they’re not your goals – they’re your boss’s.

A key attribute of a brain-friendly goal is that it has to mean something to us – not to our bosses. That’s why, more often than not, when we’re given a goal to achieve, we’re less than motivated to tackle it, let alone reach it.

Having to reach a goal and wanting to reach a goal are two very different experiences for your brain. The former may feel like a burden; you have no choice. You’re told to achieve something, and it can feel very stressful.

The Right Chemistry

However, when you want something and truly feel pulled and inspired to go after it, you create a brain chemistry that propels you into action. It’s how a lot of great inventions and discoveries came about: the desire to find a new solution, create something new, make something happen. It’s also how we learn, how we better ourselves and in some cases, how we transform our company and even our world. We have to really want it.

A goal pulls on us when it’s meaningful to us, which is usually when it’s our goal and not someone else’s. Choice is very important to our brain’s sense of safety. We tend to lean away from problems, especially complex ones, that we have no choice or influence over.

The best way to ensure we achieve our goals is to create ones our brain loves. That means making them meaningful to you.

So the next time your boss gives you a goal to reach, just tell them it’s time to get personal…

Noesis delivers neuroleadership consulting and training to organizations handling everyday change and major transformation initiatives. We help our clients scientifically improve leadership.