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How to Set Goals for Building Self-Confidence and Fulfillment


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Today we’re covering how to set goals for building self-confidence and fulfillment.  Because what’s the point of having goals if they won’t:

  • Build your self-confidence, or
  • Lead to a fulfilling outcome?

Goals should get you where you want to be (not where others want you to be or you think you’re supposed to be). Which is where many of us go wrong. Not only will that lead you astray but it will reduce your self-confidence.

There’s nothing worse than achieving a goal only to find yourself asking… Why did I want this? What did this actually get me? Or worse, ending up so unhappy that you no longer trust yourself.


The Relationship Between Goal Achievement and Self-Confidence

How do your goals build self-confidence?  Why talk about self-confidence with fulfillment?  And why do the two even matter when it comes to goal-setting for success?

It’s time to answer each of these questions.

The Interrelationship Between Fulfillment and Self-Confidence

Being confident doesn’t automatically lead to feeling fulfilled.  But feeling fulfilled does strengthen your self-confidence.

Whether you call it purpose, meaning, passion or fulfillment, it’s important to understand that you create it for yourself.  Purpose isn’t something you find or that others bring to you.  And the good news is that it’s not as heavy as you’ve been led to believe (or as hard to create as you might think).

Purpose is created by:

  1. Being useful in a way that makes a positive impact.  You do this by using your strengths and skills for others’ benefit.
  2. Connecting deeply with others (one way to do that is by serving others while using your unique strengths).
  3. Aligning your life around your personal values.

When you live in this way, then you’ll feel more yourself.  And THAT will increase your self-confidence.

What Is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is about trusting in yourself, your judgment, and your abilities.  It’s about being real about your strengths and your weaknesses (and how to leverage the former while planning around the latter).

Self-confident people don’t claim to be great at everything, yet know that they have the capability to learn and are willing to try new things.  They do this because they know who they are, what they can (and can’t do), and what they need to improve upon.

Goals and Self-Confidence

Obviously, the mere achievement of goals can boost self-confidence.  But the magic really happens during the goal-achievement process because that’s where you gain new knowledge, learn new skills, and grow the most.  But you need to be careful, because if not approached properly it can backfire and decrease your confidence levels.

Goal-Achievement Is Hard

While working to achieve your goals, you’ll be tested, will feel stress and will encounter self-doubt.  You’ll make mistakes and will sometimes feel like you’re failing.  Heck, sometimes you WILL fail (not every goal gets achieved 100%).

But just because you’ll experience these things doesn’t mean that you need get stuck in stress, worry or doubt.  And it also doesn’t mean that you need to fear feeling these emotions.

It’s all about the mindset that you bring to the table.

Why Your Mindset Matters

Your mindset is what determines how you go about achieving your goals.  You can either:

  • accept that it will be hard, that you’ll make mistakes and that you’ll need to deal with difficult emotions, or
  • push your feelings away and not deal with the hardships as they come.

The former is the better option because it’s what will enable you to learn as you go and leverage that to your benefit.  And it’s what will help develop a more confident, resilient mentality.  The latter will lead to more self-doubt and less desired results.

But how do you get started, especially when you’re looking to build your self-confidence levels (and might not feel as confident as you’d like at the outset)?  And how can you further set goals that lead to more meaning, purpose and fulfillment?

First: Adopt Proven Strategies to Build a More Resilient Mindset

You can develop a more resilient, confident mind more easily than you realize.  It’s all about using effective strategies that are designed to create a more stress-resilient and aware mind that’s less likely to be emotionally reactive (and hence will enable you to feel more emotionally in control).

I could write article upon article on this one topic – and actually have.  Although we’re getting into this below, if you’d like to go even deeper, I recommend that you start with 5 Mindset Strategies For Success And Prosperity.

Second: Set the Right Goals

Most people set goals based primarily on what’s expected of them or what they think they should want.  But that’s not going to get you where you ultimately want to be.

Instead, set purpose-based goals that align with your core personal values.  This is KEY to ensuring that you end up fulfilled while also building self-confidence, which is why we get into what this means below.


Open mind


The Key To Setting Goals That Build Self-Confidence and Lead to Fulfillment (Your Mind)

Self-confidence comes from within.  And that means that it’s all about your mindset. This might seem daunting, but it’s actually great news because your mindset is one of the things you have control over.

Unfortunately, your mentality is also the most likely thing to trip you up when striving to achieve big goals.  You’ll inevitably hear a voice telling you that:

  • it’s impossible;
  • you can’t;
  • you might fail, so shouldn’t even take the chance; and/or
  • people might judge you (and think you crazy for even trying).

I could go on, but you get the point.  To help you be courageous and move forward despite this voice, learn to embrace a few mindset shifts.  These mental shifts will infuse within you mental strength and resilience (and will start to naturally increase your self-confidence levels).

Here are five mindset shifts that will help you more effectively achieve your goals while also building your self-confidence levels:

#1: Make Peace With Failure

Failure happens and will continue throughout your life.  Don’t run scared from it.  Otherwise, you’ll never try new things.

The best way to develop your self-confidence while strengthening your mindset is to accept that failure will happen.  It’s the easiest way to allow yourself to try new things (even stuff that you might fail at yet will reap big rewards should you succeed).

Besides, you’re not really failing if you learn from your experiences (making you better prepared to succeed in the future).

[Recommended Reading: Learn more about how to make peace with failure in How To Be Confident Again After Failure].

#2: Accept Imperfection and Go With Good Enough

Perfection is often used as an excuse for not trying (or procrastinating forever).  Even though you know that you’re not perfect (and that perfection is impossible), you likely use this as an excuse from time to time.  It’s time to acknowledge that perfection is acceptable and move on.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t try your best.  Instead of getting wrapped up in trying to do things perfect, accept good enough. 

#3: Let Go of What Can’t Be Controlled

It’s time to acknowledge that there’s much in life that can’t be controlled.  You can’t control other people, what they think of you, or much of what happens to and around you.

Trying to control things that are uncontrollable is one of the biggest reasons for unhappiness. And it only makes you feel more out of control.  Let go of these things and instead focus on you.  You can control your mentality and how you respond to things.  That’s what makes you feel in control of your life.

[Recommended Reading: for more about how to let go of the uncontrollable and to instead focus on what you can control, read How to Take Control of Your Emotions So They Don’t Control You (a/k/a I failed and I’m so sorry).

#4: Get Comfortable with Change (and the Unknown)

People fear change, usually because of fear of the unknown.  It’s easier to be comfortable with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know, right?

The problem with this is that it assumes that the future is known if you don’t change anything.  And that’s just not the case.

Life is messy and tends to throw curve balls.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had just had the best year of my life in my business and felt on top of the world.  To say that I was surprised by it (at the age of 38 with two young kids at home) is an understatement.

Besides, if you have the courage to act now then you will later on if you decide you want to again.  Nothing is set in stone.

#5: Be Curious

Being curious helps you to be more prepared for the unexpected and to roll with the punches as life gets messy.  When you’re curious, you’re more likely to get into action instead of feeling sorry for yourself.  Curiosity will increase your ability to be creative, which will help you come up with better solutions more quickly.

Start getting curious about what you can do when things go wrong.  You’ll quickly become a problem-solver who doesn’t allow mistakes, missteps, or roadblocks to get in the way but instead grows from these experiences (which will eventually lead to success).


Impossible becoming possible


How to Set Goals for Building Self-Confidence and Fulfillment

Now that we’ve covered the mental shifts that you need to make, let’s focus on how to set goals for building self-confidence and fulfillment (and also how to achieve them).  It’s all about setting the right goals and planning the right way.

Ever set a goal, work extremely hard for it over a long period of time, anticipate how happy you’ll be once it’s achieved and then once you achieve it… Nothing?  You feel kind of empty. Or perhaps you’re excited for a hot minute but it goes away quickly and you’re left wondering why.

That’s what happens when you set goals that don’t have a lot of meaning for you. When they’re not attached to your bigger purpose or overarching vision for what you want out of life, they end up falling flat (and can even kill your confidence).

Goals should be set with care.  Instead of setting goals merely because it’s something you “should” do or think is expected of you, be intentional about them so that they:

  • take you somewhere you want to go;
  • develop new skills or bring new knowledge along your journey;
  • leverage inherent strengths and satisfy core values that provide meaning to your life; and
  • provide motivation and excitement as you work to achieve them.

Goals that have this type of intention behind them will create motivation and momentum.  They’ll be more fun to achieve. Moreover, the journey itself provides fulfillment because there’s meaning behind the goals.

Here’s how to be intentional about setting goals for building self-confidence and fulfillment:

  1. Understanding your core values so that your goals are aligned with them perfectly and you don’t end up unhappy with your end result.
  2. Being clear around your inherent strengths so that you can leverage them to better achieve your goals (and also feel like you’re adding value).
  3. Getting honest about your weaknesses so that you can anticipate potential pitfalls, and plan accordingly.

All 3 of these need to be part of your goal-setting process. Let’s go through each one.

Key #1: Know Yourself

Your personal values define who you are. They give you your identity and affect how you perceive everything (yourself, the world, and the people in it). Effectively, you are your values.  If you believe in a soul (as I do), then you could say that your values are a window into it.

What this means is that your values are a guide to making decisions that feel right, as well as a road map to feeling fulfilled.  If you ever find yourself second guessing-yourself, then you might want to have a quick check-in with your values because it’s likely that you’re not in alignment with one or more of them.

That means that living your values will increase your self-confidence naturally. 

For more about how to identify and align around your personal values, read my article about How to Redefine Yourself Into Happiness.

Set Values-Based Goals For Building Self-Confidence

Given how important your values are (and how they’ll help bring you purpose, plus serve as a guide for decision-making that you can be confident in), the starting point is to set values-based goals.

I go in-depth into how to do this in my article about How to Set Personal Goals for Work and Life That You’ll Actually Achieve (so please be sure to read it).

Note: don’t just ask how your goals align with your values, but also look for potential values conflicts when it comes to what’s needed to achieve your goals.

Key #2: Know Your Strengths (and Leverage Them To Your Benefit)

Remember that using your strengths helps build self-confidence and gives you motivation.  So, be sure to know your strengths and use them to your benefit when working to achieve your goals.

Not sure what your strengths are?  Ask yourself what you find easy to do that others don’t and why people might come to you for advice.  Then, ask your family, friends and colleagues (they’ll know your top strengths).

Note that strengths aren’t the same thing as skills, but natural talents that come easily to you.  Some examples of strengths are:

  • Being able to quickly see simple solutions to complex problems (this is one of my main strengths),
  • The ability to bring people together (a big strength of one of my clients), and
  • Thriving within stable routines and processes (a strength of another one of my clients.

For help with determining your strengths, consider using the Gallup CliftonStrengths (I’m not affiliated with them, but do use this with clients).

Key #3: Be Honest About Weaknesses (and Plan For Improvement)

Self-confident people understand and plan around their weaknesses. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to initially be all that confident to do it.

You just need to start getting more honest with yourself about your weaknesses so that you can plan around them and identify how to improve upon them.

This builds self-respect and naturally increases your self-confidence.

When doing this, it’s also important to anticipate what could get in your way.  Especially when it comes to your internal weaknesses (such as when you tend to react emotionally or procrastinate).  And then identify the steps you can take to navigate your way around these potential pitfalls.

This will help you be more prepared, enabling you to more confidently navigate around these potential roadblocks as they pop up along your goal-achievement journey.

Get Started Now

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to get started.  Work on the strategies discussed herein to adopt the right mindset and stay consistent with them. Then set purpose-based goals while considering your strengths and weaknesses when planning for them.

And check out the following Life & Law Podcast episodes for goal-setting and confidence-building help:

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Hey there, I’m Heather

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I’m here to help purpose-driven lawyers and other professionals (like you) build your ideal career to support the life you actually want. Because you shouldn’t have to choose between professional success & personal happiness.

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