Goal setting needs to be done properly if it is going to work. Statistics show that only five percent of people set goals. Those five percent earn more than the ninety-five percent of people who don’t set goals.
Many people believe they have goals, not written down, but ‘in their heads’. This is nonsense. Goals in the head are dreams, not goals. People who refuse to write their goals clearly, with deadlines for their achievement, are copping out. Because their goals are not written down, there is no evidence that they did not achieve them. This is a perfect excuse: nobody will know they failed.
The problem with this method is that it sets you up for massive frustration. When you think you want something and then don’t achieve it, frustration at not getting what you ‘want’ becomes strong and is a negative emotion to carry around with you.
It’s far better to decide what you want, calculate the income required to earn what you want, calculate targets that will bring that income, and formulate plans to reach those targets. From the moment you do this you will feel happier, with a sense of purpose.
When you set a goal that you have a 50 percent chance of achieving, you immediately feel happier. It’s a fact.
I have never seen a person who set a goal properly fail to either achieve it or come very close. ‘Properly’ is the key word.
Dare to dream, yes, but be careful – many dreams are not realistic. I might dream that I can fly like Superman ®, but no goal will see me achieve that fantasy. Goals must be realistic – you must have a 50 percent chance of achieving them – or you won’t expend the effort to achieve them.
In his classic book, See You At The Top, author Zig Ziglar talks about the importance of goals being realistic:
If the goal is unrealistically big, and you miss it by a ridiculous amount, the size of the failure would have an emotional impact for future accomplishments that could be extremely negative. It could even affect a person to the degree that he would no longer really make an effort of any kind. For this reason it is wiser to set the goal high but not out of sight.
Ziglar goes on to say that setting unrealistic goals is also an excuse. He says that people who set unrealistic goals believe that, when they inevitably fail, people will say, “Of course he failed – he set such a huge goal. He never had a chance!” Again, this is a perfect excuse.
Zig calls this “The Loser’s Limp“. Athletes compete in a race. Two of them are sprinting for the finish line, but one pulls out ahead. When the person coming second is sure he will not win, Ziglar says that it is here that the second runner starts to limp, feigning an injury to save face. “He hurt himself, no wonder he lost“, people will say. The Loser’s Limp is just another excuse.
So set big goals, yes, but keep them within the realms of realism. Write them down. Calculate the income you need to earn in order to reach those goals. Calculate the results you want, and prepare an action plan so that you achieve those results.
Next, and this is important, look at the actions you are required to do. Are they feasible? For example, if I had a plan that called for me to speak to 200 people a day, this is not feasible. I will NOT do that action. Therefore, I will not reach my goals.
Goals, plans, and actions must complement each other. If you do the actions competently, you reach the targets you set. Achieve the results and you receive the income. The income, after tax, should be sufficient to achieve your goals.
Goals should be high enough to stretch you. Scare you a little too. But they should not be so high as to be out of sight, that is, unachievable.