Turn Insight Into Action : Proactive-Coach - Self Knowledge & Self Motivation

goal-setting strategies:
driving forces & restraining forces


There is a simple way to describe what you need to set relevant, obtainable goals:
- assess the driving forces and the restraining forces
- stregthen the driving forces
- weaken the restraining forces.

Now, this may sound like mumbo-jumbo. Let me use a purely physical example, where these “forces” will be readily apparent. Think about what happens when you drive a car. The driving force is the engine’s power; you strengthen it by pushing the gas pedal. The restraining force is the brake. It doesn’t make sense to drive with the brake on, so the car is designed to not allow you to push the foot brake while pushing the gas pedal.

Now, you will say: This is an interesting image… but what does it have to do with the problems I’m struggling with in my personal life… my relationship… my career… my business…?

If you’ve been struggling with a problem for a while, chances are you’re kind-of stuck in the way you’re dealing with it. You keep coming back at it, and you end up in the same frustrating place. It’s as if, the more you think about it, the deeper the groove of the vicious cycle. For this reason, it makes sense to try to see things in a different perspective.

The perspective I’m inviting you to try is that of looking for the driving forces and the restraining forces in the situation you’re dealing with.

Ask yourself: what are the driving forces and the restraining forces? And notice what happens.

Maybe, what comes up for you is a sense of diffuse frustration: these questions seem meaningless.

If so, ask yourself to state what it is that you’re aiming for. If you’re not clear about where you want to go, it’s going to be difficult to think in terms of “driving forces” or “restraining forces”. Driving towards what? Restraining from what?

In other words, the first thing that happens when you think in these terms is to remind you to clarify your goals.

So, now, you have a sense of where you want to go. As a result, it’s easier to see what can help you get there, and what may be blocking you. What are you going to put your efforts into, driving forces or restraining forces?

Let’s go back to the car analogy. A car without an engine or gas will simply not move. To go where you want to go, you need to strengthen your driving forces. Build your strengths. Keep reinforcing what works for you. Keep experimenting, trying for other ways to build your momentum.

Of course, you also need to watch out for restraining forces. But chances are it’s going to be easier to do as you have more of a sense that you’re going somewhere you want to go.


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Serge Prengel


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