Goal Setting; Part II

Goals are not commands but rather a commitment to excellence and pursuing the unlimited potential you have inside of you. They are not fate but instead provide an opportunity for you to draw on the talents and resources to create your future.

While I’m sure that you would undoubtedly agree with what I just said would you believe that less than 5% of the population set goals. In 1953 Yale conducted a study of its graduates. For twenty years the subject were interviewed and followed. The results showed that the top 3% earned more money than the other 97% combined. The only difference was that the top 3% had written goals AND a plan of action to achieve them. Harvard did a similar study of its business school graduates in 1979. They found that other than “to have fun and enjoy themselves”, 84% of the class had no goals at all. 13% had goals but had not created a plan. The remaining 3% had written goals and had created a plan of action. The results showed that the 13% earned more than the 84 % without goals and the three per cent earned more than ten times the 87% combined. It is obvious. Having written goals with a plan of action will make you very successful. So why do so few of us set goals? There are a myriad of reasons but here are some of the top ones:

Fear of success.

I know it sounds strange but some people are afraid of succeeding. They just don’t value themselves enough to feel that they deserve success. Some of them think that it is wrong, maybe even sinful to pursue their dreams and desires so they engage in self sabotage so that can be like every body else rather than a stand out even if it means sacrificing their own success and happiness. Many people drop out of college or never even enrolled because nobody else in their family went. I exhort not to forgo your sense of accomplishment, self worth and happiness because someone else, probably someone who you trust, respect and love clearly forfeited theirs.

Fear of failure. This is the most common obstacle to goal setting. Most people don’t set goals because they fear what others will think of them if they don’t hit the goals. They figure that if they don’t try, they can’t fail which is true but it is equally true that they can’t succeed either. As Roosevelt said “Better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twighlight that knows not success nor defeat. In other words it is ALWAYS better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Don’t live your life saying “I could a, would a, should a”

Lack of personal responsibility. It is so much easier for us to blame some one or something else for our lack of success. It’s our parents, our neighborhood , our boss, the spouse or kids….the list goes on endlessly. Remember that as human we have been given free will to create our destiny and so therefore we must take 100% responsibility for our lives. Sure there are things that we will have no control over…., we can’t determine the weather , we can’t control the stock market and we cannot control other peoples attitudes…however that doesn’t give us the excuse to think that since we have no control over these few areas of our lives we should give up responsibility for the rest of it. No matter what excuses you have …somebody else already thought of it especially the ones that talk about life not being fair.

To paraphrase Tommy Newbury . …The prizes of life do not go to those who have been treated fairly, but to those who have maturely accepted responsibility.

Its hard work. Setting goals is really hard work. It requires time and soul searching and most people are unwilling to do it. It is a sad fact but people will spend a lifetime working harder on their career than they do working on themselves not realizing that the more they work on themselves the more they would excel at their career. They will spend more time planning a vacation, a wedding or some other social event than they will spend planning their lives…again oblivious to the tremendous benefits they would derive from planning their lives.

Action Step

Lets pick up where we left off in the last issue:

1. Once you’ve completed your list spend the next few minutes identifying the four most important ones. Of all the goals you have written down, which four when accomplished would have the most significant impact on your life?

2. Once you’ve done that, take the first goal and write it at the top of a clean sheet. Draw two lines down the length of the page making three columns.

3. On the left side of the page list all the activities that will enable you to reach that goal…list them in order of importance. In the next column list what or who can help you accomplish that step. In a third column write a target date for accomplishing each activity.

Keep on Pushing!

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