3 Myths About Setting Goals That Might Be Holding You Back In Life

Personal Development

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us” – Jim Rohn

If you have ever read any personal development book that discusses goal setting – ever — you will have read the 5 magic things you must do when setting a goal.

  • ·         Choose something achievable.
  • ·         Write it down
  • ·         Be specific – give it some kind of measurable number
  • ·         Create a deadline for accomplishing it.
  • ·         Review it every day (preferably more than once, and out loud)

Indeed, these suggestions are useful. You should do them. But don’t mistake them for actually setting a goal.

Setting a goal is about two things. Deciding what you truly want and deciding to take the action necessary to achieve it. Everything else is execution.

The 5 point goal setting exercise above is simply a technique that helps you clarify what you want and how to get it. If, however, you haven’t chosen a goal that you really truly deep down inside want, then no magic formula will (POOF!) help you.

So let’s get clear on the misunderstandings many people have when it comes to this common goal setting formula:

Myth #1 — Writing Down Makes it Real

In spite of what “The Secret” says, there is nothing about writing something down that causes something that doesn’t exist to suddenly spring into reality. Achieving goals is not about pulling rabbits out of hats.

Instead, writing simply helps you to clarify your thinking. If forces you to stop being fuzzy and indistinct about your goal. When your thinking is focused and sharp, you make better choices and decisions that move you in the right direction.

Myth #2 – Creating a deadline automatically motivates you

Deadlines are about creating a scarcity of time. At root, this is establishing a fear based motivation.

While fear can create a kind of motivation, it is a double edged sword. If your goal isn’t something you really want, or if the obstacles seem too difficult, a deadline increases the sense of hopelessness. That is not good goal setting.

Stop expecting a deadline to start your engine. Instead, use a deadline the same way you use writing – as a sort of Jedi mind trick you play on yourself to focus and sharpen the feeling the goal creates in you.

When you set lots of small deadlines then hitting them becomes more of a game than an all or nothing gamble. The desire to score high in a game is much more motivational than fear of failure.

Myth #3 – Repeated Review turns up your desire meter

Too many people use goal setting to select a goal based on what they think they should want rather than what they actually do want.

When they don’t really feel passionate about it, they blame themselves, thinking that they aren’t trying hard enough.

What they don’t realize is that if you don’t want it, no amount of repetition will make you want it. Think about it…

Motivation isn’t about logic. It’s about how you feel. It’s about emotion, and you can’t artificially manufacture emotion.

Goal setting isn’t about creating a goal, it’s about finding your goal. When you discover the goal that you truly want – the rest of it just falls into place.

Techniques are only Tools

Don’t mistake the technique for the actual thing itself. A goal isn’t what you write on paper. A goal is the desire that you hold in your heart. The value in a goal setting technique lies in their ability to help you clarify and focus your desire. First, you must be truthful with yourself about what you want. Then you can follow the goal setting steps to obtain it.

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