Should or should we not set goals??
You don’t need the beginning of the year to have good resolutions.
And how about your goals? Have you identified them a year upfront? Written them down?
** The myth of setting goals **
I have this love & hate relationship with setting goals.
I used to be afraid to even imagine big goals, let alone write them down, or even worse… say them out loud.
“What will people think of my big dreams and goals? What if I don’t reach them? What if I change my mind? ….”
There are so many consultants, gurus, coaches out there who claim we should have goals.
There is even academic proof (a Harvard study or was it a Yale study on the class of 1953 in which only 3% graduating students wrote down clear goals. 20 years, later, those 3% had a greater combined net worth than the other 97%) – if only it were true. Because turns out that this study never took place and it’s a myth.
** Why should we have goals? Let’s give an answer via 7 quotes **
- “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
- “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
- “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” ~ Benjamin Mays
- “Everybody has their own Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.” – Seth Godin
- It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t.” – Stephen Kellogg
- “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” – J.C. Penney
- “The important thing in life is to have a great aim, and the determination to attain it.” – Goethe
Ok, well a lot of ideas on why we should have goals. So, it gives you a sense of direction, it drives you forward, it gives you focus, it holds you accountable…
** All very well, but there are also 7 reasonable ideas on why you should not have goals: **
- It defines your limitations
If you want to run a marathon in 2h45 (like my father did – proud J) and that’s your goal, you might stop at 2h45 and you might not try harder, right?
- If you don’t reach it, you are a failure?
Image you run the marathon in 2h50 – does that make you a failure? Huh! Don’t think so!
- You might miss other opportunities
Focus is one of the advantages of goal setting, so they say. But doesn’t that mean that you might become narrow minded and miss great opportunities in your market that way?
- Is it the fault of the goal setter or the efficacy of goal setting itself?
Are we too ambitious in setting our goals? What about the things we have no control over?
- Achieving a goals just for the sake of achieving it?
That is something you often encounter in companies where there is a lot of pressure (and rewards) on achieving goals. Result of this behavior might be: lack of quality, competition between departments, deceiving clients, unethical behavior etc…
- Overemphasis on short-term thinking
This is typically something you see in politics, however also in business. As a business owner, you cannot just focus on the short term however. Building a business is more than find extra voters or achieving good quarterly results.
- Our brain doesn’t like it
Neuroscience research shows the brain is resistant to change and wants to protect us from change. However, setting goals often requires us to change (our behavior) and therefor the brain will resist it resulting in negative emotions. Thus, the goal setting becomes a de-motivator.
Ok Ok but what to do then?
** This is what works for me – maybe it’ll work for you too **
- What’s your purpose, your mission, your why?
When you read the quotes about why we should have goals, you will notice that these people mainly talk about your life goals, your mission.
For me it is important to know what my mission in life is. In short it is
“To enthuse and inspire people to grow and never be small again. Grow as a person and grow their business.”
So with everything I do, I will check whether it is in line with this purpose.
- Have some big long term goals.
If you set big goals, that might seem unrealistic, well that’s ok.
Because even do they might not be realistic, you will grow as a person trying to achieve them. The real value of having a big goal is not what you get by achieving it, it’s about who you become by achieving your big goal. I believe it’s Zig Ziglar who said this. Anyway I love it.
Two important things to remember here:
- First, the higher you set your goal, the more you will have to grow in order to achieve it.
- And second, even if you do not achieve one of your big long term goals, you will have accomplished a great deal anyway.
So, don’t underestimate what you can achieve in, let’s say, 10 years.
- Make your yearly bucket list
Write down the 10 things you wish to achieve in 2016.
I’m not fond of the SMART concept, however make it more or less concrete and realistic. Don’t overestimate what you can achieve in a year.
And don’t forget to focus on your business AND on other aspects in your life. No use of putting all your energy in your business and not seeing your kids grow up or finding out your best friend found another best friend (you get what I mean).
- How do you eat an elephant?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We all know the saying, but we often fail to apply this lesson in our lives. If you view the elephant as one giant goal that your whole life depends on, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Why not enjoy the bites along the way?
There is a difference between a Long Term Goal and Short Term Goals. The Long Term goals may be big hairy audacious goals, your Short Term goals should be realistic. That way you stay motivated, positive and enthusiastic. And be serious about your Short Term goals.
I translate my yearly goals into monthly, weekly and daily goals.
And after having read the book “The 1 thing” I am mainly focusing on 1 goal a day. I don’t do anything else before I have finished this Number 1 goal.
This works pretty well for me.
- Find yourself a system that works
It’s not only the goals that count, on the contrary. It’s mainly the system you set in place in order to achieve the goals. It’s more about the process to reaching the top, than the top itself.
To refer to the marathon again – the goal is running the marathon (in 2h45 maybe), the system is your weekly training schedule.
In business: if you want to earn 250.000 euro in 2016 (which might be your goal) then how will you get there? The system is your sales and marketing and (personal) branding process.
- Be flexible and open minded.
I don’t want to be too focused on my yearly goals, I want to keep an open mind. If a great opportunity knocks on my door and does not fit my yearly plan, I’ll consider it anyway (is it in line with my purpose and Long Term goals?)
Is my system perfect? NOT AT ALL! I am not the best planner in the world. This system works for me. Maybe for you too? Or maybe not. There is not a one size fits all when it comes to priority management and time management. I know, I’m shocked too 🙂
So how about you?
Do you have a bucket list yet? And a system? Let us know!
If you need help, call me! 🙂 or get yourself a Free Personal Branding Scan and find out how I could possibly help you achieve your goals and possibly your big hairy audacious goals 🙂