Why Goal Setting Fails

Why Goal Setting Fails

written by Derek Weber

I don’t know about you, but the whole “make a list of 101 goals and then go accomplish them” doesn’t really work for me…and believe me I’ve been told to do it and tried about a half a dozen times.  I think this is because when I make a list of 101 things, I don’t have a list of goals, I have a combination of “I-want-tos”, “wouldn’t-it-be-cool-ifs”, with a few sprinkles of “one-in-a-million-dream-shots” to go off of.  For some people, this might just work.  This list-o-dreams might provide a framework that they can model what they do and how they live their lives…me, not so much.  Each and every time I have tried this exercise, I worked through my list for a few weeks and every once in a while, even a few months, but the same thing ends up happening…that list that I am supposed to direct my life around and carry around in my pocket every day ends up in a drawer, on my dresser, or in the trash can.  Now does this mean that I am against setting goals to push myself to accomplish things, absolutely not.  If anything, I owe much of what I have done in my life to effectively doing just that…but just not in the format that I had always been taught.

In order for me to be effective, I have to pare down that list of 101 things done to just a handful of things that are truly important “have-to-dos” and “need-to-dos”.  When you take out all of the fluff from the 101, you’ll boil your list down to what is truly important to you and give them the attention necessary to accomplish them.

What I do is sit down and really think about what things if I did, would really make a difference for my business or in my personal life.  Before I add a goal to my list, it has to be something that I am willing to truly commit to accomplishing and not be just another line item on the docket.  Once I am prepared to add a goal to my list, I prioritize the list in order of importance, and now for the important part, I focus on only one, maybe two each week.

Often times, my goals are ones that I can’t accomplish in a matter of a couple of weeks, so I break it down into smaller pieces and ask myself “What can I do this week to move closer towards accomplishing this goal?”  and use those actions as the dictating factor of how successful my week was.  This ensures that even if I don’t arrive at my destination that week, at least I am taking steps in the right direction, which over time will inevitably get me to where I want to go.

For example, we are currently working on a turn-key touch marketing program targeted at mortgage brokers.  Now, this is a program that I have been working on for the last two months, but each week, I move closer and closer.  My goal for this week is to finish the brochure we’ll use to explain the program to our prospects.  The point being, if I just had the goal of “launch the program” I would probably have gotten stuck and shelved it a long time ago, but by breaking it down to bite size pieces, I keep moving forward.

What it really comes down to, is that you have to find what system works for you.  If the list of 101 dreams in your pocket works for you, then rock it, but if it doesn’t, give this system a go and see if you have a little better success.

Derek Weber
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