Friday, August 5, 2016

1 Big Mistake You're Making Setting Goals

Are you mad yet?  Are you thinking what I would be thinking if I saw a blog title like this one?  "Who's he think he is to tell me my goals are wrong?  He doesn't even know what my goals are!"  So, before you string me up or burn me at the stake, hear me out.  I know your goals are wrong for the same reason my goals have been wrong.  I'm no goal-setting expert (if there is such a thing).  I've just made the mistake and I know what the consensus is out in goal-setting land, so I know you've probably made the same mistake when setting your goals.

So, what's the big mistake?  

The mistake is, quite simply, making the goal the goal. Remember, we don't set goals just to reach them.  We set goals to propel us toward a preferred future.   Instead, you should be making the habits that will lead you to the goal, the goal.  Sound like I'm splitting hairs here or like they're the same thing?  Well, I'm not and they're not. Think about it with me.  "I want to lose 30 lbs in the next six months" may sound like a good goal - even a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).  But it's not really the right goal.  Why?  Well, you tell me.  What happens when you reach it?  What happens after you change your eating habits and bust your butt in the gym for six months and meet your goal?  You celebrate by eating a whole cheesecake and sleeping in past gym time.  The roller coaster ensues.  

What if you adjusted the goal to, "Over the next three months, I'm going to implement a sustainable system of tracking my nutrition and exercise, with personal accountability built in."  It's still a SMART goal, but this one serves you for life and still leads you to lose those 30 lbs and probably more.  The only difference is that this one changes your habits so you keep the weight off and stay healthy.  

One more example.  "I want to get promoted to general manager at work by December" could be re-worked into "I will work with a mentor or coach to learn and implement new personal growth habits and new habits at work by December."  Version one might get you the promotion, but then what?  Version two transforms you into a person who's promotable for the rest of your life.  

Of course, this assumes you care enough to take the time and make the effort to set goals in the first place.  If that's a problem for you, you can read this article I wrote a while back.  It may be a good start for you.  Hey, I hope you've got goals and I hope you're making daily progress building the habits that will get you there. You can do it.  Nothing, but you, is standing in your way.  Go!

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