The vast majority of the world is over-setting and under-achieving. Don’t hold it against ‘em though… just show them this post, give them a slap and then send them back on their merry way with a fresh perspective and a new tool in the box… okay? Here goes…
You see blog after blog, website after website and book after book droning on and on and on about setting goals. You’re probably sat there thinking “so do you”. Well you’d be right, except I focus more on goal achieving than on goal setting. Goal setting is easy; you think of a goal then you set it. Breaking down the goal into smaller more manageable goals is the more advanced version of this, but the main objective is obviously to achieve the goal… not just to set it, no matter how meticulously broken down it is.
Let me reiterate that – Setting a goal is good, yes, but achieving the goal is the ultimate result we’re after.
Too many of us set goals, then set more goals… maybe achieve one… then set more… don’t achieve them… set some more and blah blah blah. The term I use to describe this is ‘over-setting’ (generally followed by under-achieving, see the connection?). Before long, not only do over-setters convince themselves that they are not cut out for this ‘goal setting’ thing everyone bangs on about, but they get thoroughly pissed off and they give up trying completely. If this is the case for you, don’t worry, it’d seem you’re pretty good at goal setting to be honest. You’ve been pretty shit at goal achieving though. Sorry.
What I’m getting at is this; thinking about goal setting only, is the same as having the raw ingredients for a cake and no recipe, or at best, having the ingredients and the recipe but no cake. Goal achieving is putting the ingredients and recipe together and carrying out the instructions until you have not only made the cake, but eaten the damn thing as well. The setting of a goal is purely a track to run on and a means to an end. Most people are only focusing on half the job.
How do I know what most people are focusing on?
Go to Google Adwords Keyword Tool and in the Word or phrase field search for keywords on both ‘goal setting’ and ‘goal achieving’. The first row in your results shows the number of global monthly searches for that exact phrase. Right now the results are as follows:
- Ready… set… set… set…
- Ready… set… go!
As you can see from these images:
Goal setting = 201,000 global monthly searches
Goal achieving = 33,100 global monthly searches
Surely this should be the other way around?! Which category would you fall into?
What makes the difference between goal setting and goal achieving?
The difference is the ‘doing’ of the goal, so what makes us ‘do’? What makes the all important difference between action and inaction? The following list will help:
- The goal you set must be a goal you want to achieve
- The pleasure obtained from achieving the goal must outweigh the ‘pain’ of the process
- You must have, or be willing to get, the resources needed to carry out the process
- You must have the motivation to act
- You must have a reason to act
- You must believe it’s feasible
- You must believe it’s achievable
The process of goal elimination:
1. Ask yourself if you really want to achieve this goal or if it’s just something you think you should do. If you don’t want it, scrub it off your goals list immediately. The longer it sits there, the more you are convincing yourself that you are not a goal achiever.
2. The pleasure/pain principle. If you hate the process of achieving a goal, from which you get only a mild amount of pleasure, there is simply no point. Scrub it. You won’t do it.
3. Not having the resources to carry out the achieving of a goal will serve only to give you an excuse for not having achieved it. If you don’t have the resources, figure out if/how you can get them immediately or it’ll always be on the back burner, eating away at your goal achieving confidence.
4. The motivation to act is what makes all the difference. Surround yourself with things that motivate you. Remind yourself constantly what’s in it for you. Use videos, pictures, visualisation and whatever else motivates you.
5. Your reasons will vary loads. It might be that your reason is just for fun, or to get promoted and earn more money or to make life easier in the future or to build confidence and self-respect. What is your ultimate reason for wanting to achieve the goal? No reason, no motivation, no achievement.
6. Feasibility is a difficult one. When you look at the world today you see thousands of inventions and creations that would previously have been thought of as not feasible. Whether or not your goal is feasible, the thing that matters is whether you believe it is. It’s the belief which will inspire you to action. Don’t believe it? You won’t achieve it.
7. Is it achievable? It’s true that most people are capable of a hell of a lot more than they think. But it’s certainly not true that anyone can do anything, as so many ‘gurus’ say. If you have no hands, you can’t click your fingers and make things happen, fact. Look for reasons why you can succeed and reasons why you might not. Then take the reasons you might not and try to solve them. If you really can’t see any way of achieving the goal after intensive research, you need to find a similar, achievable alternative with similar benefits.
If you are a serial goal setter, try this:
- Have a list of all your goals in front of you.
- Run each one through the above seven goal eliminators.
- Scrub off any goals you have set which don’t apply to all seven rules.
- Don’t set one more single goal until you have achieved at least half of the remaining goals on your list.
Get mad. Get motivated. Get fucking busy. You need to convince yourself exactly what you’re capable of… starting now!