Updated: Mar 30
When all of us were busy setting goals for 2020, A few associates indicated that setting goals is harmful. The thought was, if you don’t set goals then you never let yourself down. Being a highly motivated individual, I struggle with that philosophy. If you are planning your family vacation, you don’t just say, “We’re taking a trip, but I have no idea where we are headed.” If you don’t plan your destination, you may never arrive at your destination. A goal is similar to a destination. A goal gives you a target, something to aim for and provides structure and direction that, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us don’t naturally possess. In other words, a goal is a destination which is one component of our life’s journey.
If we want to excel in this adventure called life, we need to set goals, and, more importantly, set goals that will enable us to achieve. But how do we create effective goals? Despite my disagreement with the idea that eliminating goal-setting from our lives is ridiculous, not all goals are beneficial. Some, in fact, are quite destructive, potentially making us worse off than when we established the goal. Is your goal effective? And if so, what specific steps can be implemented to improve your chance of reaching those goals with minimal time and minimal resistance?
Bad Goals, Bad Goals, Whatchu Gonna Do?
Take a moment to analyze your 2020 goals. If you haven’t documented any yet, jot down five to ten goals that you would like to achieve. Look at your first goal. My first goal is:
Read or listen to ten books by March 31st
This has the components of a good goal because it is a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. I won’t break down the components of a SMART goal for you, but the key is, the goal is anything but vague. If my goal was:
Read 100 books during 2020
then I’d be setting myself up for failure.
Sure, the goal contains some specifics. But the specific portion of that goal, reading 100 books during 2020, is more harmful than good. For one, I know that I’m just at the point of reading a little over 52 books a year. Almost doubling that number signals an instant message of fear to my brain. Second, I set myself up for failure because I don’t “chunk” the goal. As someone stated, “by the yard it’s hard, but inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.” Breaking the goal out across quarters or months makes it more digestible and sends more of a success signal to my brain than a stress signal. Here's a silly but fruitful exercise: when you write down a goal sing the "Bad Boys" song to yourself (or out loud if you're so inclined): Bad Goals, Bad Goals, Whatchu Gonna Do? It may challenge you to ponder if this goal is really a SMART goal to begin with and if that goal is "gonna" generate results or "gonna" frustrate you.
The reality is, many of our goals are dreams, nice-to-haves. To convert those dreams into reality takes more than jotting down on a piece of paper. It also requires visualization, thus, the push every year for creating vision boards. Beyond the vision boards though, constant and consistent visualization of what we want to occur and articulation of what we want is a must.
In her book, “You Are a Badass at Making Money,” Jen Sincero expresses how important words are, “Our perception of reality is greatly influenced by our words. Words bring our thoughts and beliefs to life and help anchor them into our realities through repetition.”
When doing so, we must inculcate all of our senses to truly make our dreams real. For example, if you want a new vehicle, don’t just say you want a new car. Speak what car you want, what it will look like, cut out photos of the car, imagine yourself driving the vehicle down the highway, stopping by to pick up your friends, think of how the car smells, what the leather feels like when it’s hot and when it’s cold, is the color dark, charcoal gray, or a silvery grey, what will it feel like when you have the keys in your hand, what’s the cost of the vehicle you want?
You have to do more than just think and write down your goals and dreams, take them on as if they are real or soon will be your reality. Then, take it a step further and tell your goals to others. The reason for this is simple: once you’ve told someone, you are accountable for achieving that goal. Think about having a personal trainer. Upon communicating your goals to your personal trainer on how much weight you want to lose, you’ve become accountable and committed inside because you’ve conveyed (and more than likely paid someone) to ensure that you will achieve your desired results.
At the outset of 2020 you were so hyped up about your goals and achieving your vision through all the photos you placed on the board. But what happened? Why didn't you work towards them? Stay tuned for the next article on identifying a vision and forming an effective plan.