Why Do You Set Goals?
by Frank Mallinder
Here is a question for you, “Why do you set goals?” Most of you set goals such as losing weight, increasing sales, going to the gym, getting up earlier, getting better at organizing, etc. And the reason you set the goal? My guess is, if you are like most of the people I have coached over the last two decades, you want to fix an aspect of your life. You want to eliminate something that causes you some amount of anxiety. There is a tendency to want to fix those things we worry about frequently.
I invite you to take a moment and answer three easy questions.
- How many goals have you set and actually achieved?
- How long did you sustain your success?
- How bad do you feel about yourself when you either don’t hit the goal or hit it and then slide back?
Survey says the answers to the questions are…
What is it you are hoping for when you set a goal? Most feel that they will feel better about themselves when they achieve the goal. Their self-worth will be elevated. As you can see from the answers above that “feeling better” seldom happens, and when it does, it doesn’t last for long. For example, I recently set a goal of losing thirty pounds. I hit my goal in the time frame I wanted. As I approached the weight loss goal, I kept telling myself how great it felt and vowing that I would never return to my previous size. It is time to throw my fat clothes away. As you probably guessed last night, I had a severe case of “The Hell with the diet! I have the munchies, and I am going to eat all evening. Being thinner is not worth the price.” I am not sure how but I beat back the munchies. This morning I am asking where did that rock-solid commitment to not return to the portly version of myself. I dodged a bullet last night, but can I do it again? What is wrong with me?
If you have had a goal setting experience like this, say, Amen!
Here is my idea of what the problem is – hitting a one-off goal won’t fix your life.
Goals that are not part of a bigger picture to which we can make a clear and passionate link are likely to fail.
Achieving one-off goals is just tinkering with your life and can’t lead to a better version of the existing you. In order to set powerful goals that work, it is necessary to gain clarity on what the “new version” of you will be like and determine why that is important to you. Clarity on the person you want to be is the anchor that allows you to create a new version of yourself methodically. With goals that tweak the edges of the old, you are anchorless, and you will undoubtedly drift when things get tough. Goals that aren’t hit or have short-lived success tend to take us further down, and critical self-talk gets ratcheted up.
Successful achievement of goals is an integral element for leading a meaningful life. After all, goals are just another name for identifying things we want to learn and accomplish. Learning is mandatory for the overall health of the mind, body, and spirit.
There is a way to set goals that have the energy to propel you to the next enhanced version of your already talented self. In the coming articles, I will share:
- How you create an environment that encourages you to achieve your goals
- What you need to know about your brain and your mind in this process
- Why having someone to provide you feedback on your progress is important
- How to deal with incremental success so that it doesn’t feel like a failure
- Plus, I report on how I am fighting off the munchies
In the meantime, ask and answer the following question regarding your life –
What would life be like if I were a ______________ (fill in the word or words that describe an enhanced version of yourself such as a successful author, great painter, senior executive, successful entrepreneur, etc.)
When you have answered the question, you will have opened the door to powerful goals that fuel a meaningful life.