Amazingly enough, in all my research on goal setting, it is stated that only 3-4% of people actually set goals for themselves.
What does that tell us? Well, if we were to put this simple practice in place, we would be ahead of 96% of those who we are probably competing against. And even more important, you will see a drastic difference in the focus you have in life, and the excitement you feel in striving to go after what is important to you. Goals are important to give you direction in life, ignite you into action, and create a wonderful balance in your life.
So, why is it so hard to commit to setting goals?
One of the main reasons is the fear of criticism. When we have a new vision or dream, often our co-workers, colleagues, friends, or family members are quick to extinguish our hopes of a new venture. But, the main critic that you have to be aware of is YOU. We must protect our confidence! We can never lose hope and confidence in ourselves.
In a study conducted at UCLA, it showed that during any given day, our mind is filled with 73% of negative “self talk” conversations. In other words, almost ¾ of the time we are telling ourselves that we can not do something.
My friend, Dr. Less Parrott in his book “Love the Life you Live” elaborates on this study and the process of turning negative self talk into a positive attitude.
How often do you catch yourself saying: ‘I know I am not going to get that job or promotion’, ‘There is no way I can make this deadline’, ‘I just know I will not be able to get everything done that I need to….’
Sound familiar? Well, if we are constantly telling ourselves that we “can’t” we will condition ourselves to believe it and live it.
Some of the other common reasons goals are not set are:
- The fear of failure. Successful people should remove this word from their vocabulary. In my opinion, lack of trying is the only failure. We all started out crawling as toddlers, we all had some challenges and slips and falls, but we didn’t give up or the world would be full of crawlers and not walkers.
- We become complacent. I like to use Tiger Woods as an example here. Even though he was the number one golfer in the world, he decided to change his swing. All the critics and doubters went after him, but he simply stated that I am not where I want to be, or where I need to be for the long term. What an example. Maybe he did not finish as high as he’d like in a few tournaments while he was working to improve, but look where he is now.
- It’s easier not to take responsibility for yourself. We all need to be held accountable; we might as well hold ourselves accountable. Setting goals puts us in a position to be more successful, to do that it requires pushing ourselves more. Some people unfortunately just choose to shoot for average and do not want to be responsible for motivating themselves to succeed. They choose to drop out or give up rather than embracing the talents they have and taking responsibility to utilize those gifts and talents.
- Lacking inner desire to achieve something great. This is where if comes full circle. You have to have a passion, something you want to do, and want to keep doing better. When you find that one thing or it might be more than one, how are you going to get better if you don’t want to achieve greatness in your area of passion? Get it? You have to reach down deep, find your desires, strive to be great, and set the goals to keep you on track to hit your mark!
Many people also simply don’t know how to set goals. Let me give you some good practical advice.
- Decide what is important to you in life and make a list of those things (do not make them all about one area of your life, for example, everything should not revolve around your work)
- Within those areas, how do you want to better yourself? For example, if your health is very important, you may want to begin an exercise/weight loss program. Within your business you may strive to increase earnings or receive a promotion; in school, increase your grade point average…..
- Now, write those goals down! There is something very important about having them written. You are making a contract with yourself. And, keep them handy; in your wallet or purse, in your desk. I have mine typed out on a business card size of document, and keep them with me all the time.
- Write each goal in a Positive and Specific statement. “I will lose 12 pounds by December 31, 2008” Having them written in a positive way creates reinforcement each time you read them.
- Celebrate when you achieve your goals. Make it a plan to have some type of victory party. You’ve earned it.
Again, protect your confidence by believing in yourself. And make it a practice to fill your mind with “positive talk”. You will be surprised at the difference this will make.