I’ve find that many people have trouble setting and accomplishing goals. And it’s not just other people. I’ve experienced this too. When setting goals a number of things can come up. Here are a few of the more common ones.
Fear of failure and judgment can cause us to Set Goals that are too easy. We wonder if we set the bar high and miss, what will people think of us, or how will we think of ourself? Are we breaking our word to ourself?
So we set easily achievable goals. We set a goal to exercise one a month, or to read one book in the next year.
But these goals don’t stretch us and move us significantly forward in life. Even when we achieve the goal, we’re still in pretty much the same place in life.
It is good to set goals that stretch you and move you forward in life. We rarely regret going for stretch goals. Staying in place, on the other hand, is a common source of regret.
This is a common thing. People set goals like, “I want to make more money.” ‘More’, of course, is pretty Vague. I’ve Set Vague Goals for myself for the same reason I’ve set easy goals. If it’s specific, then everyone will know if I didn’t accomplish it, and I might be judged or worse I might feel like it let myself down.
With a word like, ‘more’, how much more? Does making $1 more in income achieve the goal? What time frame are you talking about? Wanting to make an additional $100 in the next ten years is very different than making that this month.
When we set vague goals, we often have a sense of not accomplishing because we can’t say for sure that we met our goal.
It is good to set goals that are clear and specific.
“Away from” goals are about getting away from something. Losing weight is a common “away from” goal. The trouble with an away from goal is that the closer you get to your goal, the less motivated you get. You are further away from it, so it isn’t driving you so hard anymore.
A better type of goal is a “towards” goal. With this type of goal, the closer you get to the goal, the more exciting it gets. Like a runner sprinting extra hard across the finish line, you redouble your efforts and push harder to accomplish it.
A better, alternative, goal than “to lose weight” might be “to fit into certain clothes”, to be able “to run with your grand kids”, or “to be able to bike 10 miles”.
It is good to set goals towards something rather than away from something.
Next time, we’ll explore 3 additional dynamics that get in the way of setting and accomplishing goals.
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