Building resilience through goal setting

Resilience, the ability to bounce back in the face of challenge and adversity, is essential for personal growth and development.

Resilience provides us the capacity to accept challenges and manage the impact of adversity. It promotes survival in the most trying circumstances and promotes wellbeing under better circumstances.

The absence of resilience can predispose us to conditions that may become overwhelming, resulting in feeling helpless and hopeless. Under these circumstances we may perceive we lack agency, feel like victims of circumstance and, ultimately, may lose hope. This type of experience can be extremely debilitating.

Resilience is developed through experience.

When we are challenged, we learn to adjust and adapt to the changing circumstances. We then apply this learning to similar future circumstances. Practising resilience under a range of circumstances over time strengthens our capacity to demonstrate it consistently.

Central to the development of resilience are purpose and agency.

A sense of purpose creates motivation and commitment to act. When we act in ways that demonstrate purpose, we experience empowerment and deep satisfaction. When we join people with a common purpose, our potential for impact increases exponentially.

Agency is the capacity to influence.

When we experience agency, we feel that we make a difference. When applied to our personal circumstances, we feel like we have some level of influence, and sometimes control, over the present and the future. We become more confident, optimistic, self-directed and self-determined.

Goal setting is a process that promotes purpose and agency.

Through setting goals we prioritise what is important, clearly establish what we would like to achieve and identify the benefits we expect to experience. We then plan and demonstrate purposeful actions aligned with achieving the goal. Finally, we establish accountability measures to ensure our progress is tracked and celebrated.

Goal setting is a skill.

As with learning any new skill, starting small and building capability through practice over time increases our chances of success. As we become more confident and adept at setting goals we can increase the level of challenge. The more we practice, the more likely it is we will default to goal setting as a strategy to leverage purpose and agency.

Goal setting can begin at any age. Young children can be introduced to goal setting by significant others modelling the process with them. They can then be supported to set and achieve small, incremental goals that build confidence, capability and resilience.

Why wait any longer? Build your resilience through goal setting.