Goals, goals, goals

Leo Babuta from Zen Habits doesn’t believe in them.

But most motivational self-help, life coach gurus will tell you they are necessary.

Cecil Alec Mace was the first to study and document goal setting. It was Edwin A. Locke who developed the goal setting theory we all use today.

If you’ve read any self-help goal setting books you may have seen that goals need to be SMART.

specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted.

I recently was reading through Michael Neil’s blog of coaching tips and I stumbled across a post about our inability to judge how long it will take us to do something (and I submit: or how much effort it will take us).

Once George pointed out this “hidden factor” to me, I began to see it everywhere. Actors who give up on their dreams after not becoming stars in their first 6 months in Hollywood. Coaches who can’t understand why they’re not making 6 figure incomes in their first two years in the business. Employees who aren’t getting promoted on their time schedule and entrepreneurs who think if the world hasn’t beaten a path to their door the day they opened it they must be doing something wrong.

I have also read somewhere or heard him say (but I could not find a link) that people who strive for what they want are more likely to get what they want then people who strive for what they think they can get. Which makes the saying “Reach for the moon, if you miss at least you’ll land amoung the stars,” to be very sage advice.
Reaching your goals  might also depend on why you set them. The Preacher’s Pen warns against setting goals for other people.
People set goals based on someone else’s expectations – Some will set goals based on what others think they should do. There are many people who have lived their life because someone else thought they needed a certain career. For instance, I know people who were told they should be engineers and they are, but everyday the hate their job. They are only there because someone else said it would be good for them. Are the goals you are setting for yourself, your goals?
On the side of goal setting we have Jack Canfield who wrote many of my first self-help motivational books, Dare to Win and Aladdin Factor. He’s also one of the giants behind Chicken Soup for the Soul.
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want — so they don’t even let themselves want it.
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2 thoughts on “Goals, goals, goals

  1. I’m a fan of setting goals. It seems to help keep me on track. I do find that it’s true it always takes more time than planned though. If I think I can accomplish something in an hour, it inevitably takes 1.5 to 2 hours. And by then my schedule is off. I’m working on being more realistic :)

  2. Setting goals for others, wow, that sure is an eye opener. I became a court reporter because my dad thought it would be a good career. And it was a good part-time career for raising our 4 kids, but it’s a stressful job and I never really liked it. I like some of the attorneys I worked with, but not the job, although listening to all that testimony from witnesses for 25 years gave me an education I couldn’t have received anywhere else. I learned so much. I’m a creative person and need that outlet, and being creative as a court reporter was a big no-no. So now I’ve set goals for my writing, and thanks to Bob Mayor’s sound advice about going for the long haul, I’m being patient and just keep working toward my goals. Nice post, Asrai!

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