My Love-Hate Relationship With Goal Setting
Written by Laura Prather on January 07, 2018
I am no expert on goal-setting. In fact, I kind-of suck at it. Statistically, 97% of people (or something crazy-high like that) who think of goals, maybe even write them down, usually forget about them within a week. Yea, that was me. It’s not that I didn’t want to have goals, I simply didn’t know HOW to set them.
What I mean is, the instant I heard someone say it was time to set goals, my brain would freeze. Frankly, I didn’t know what I wanted.
When I was faced with thinking through the path I wanted to take in a year, it was a big blank. I wondered how to articulate what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. Yet, I felt silly because how hard can it be to write down what you want in life?
Apparently, a lot harder than it seemed.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING
Throughout the decades I have rarely achieved any goals I wrote down. Usually, I would forget about them and sometimes the exact OPPOSITE of what I was working toward would happen. Ugh!
Come each new January, I dreaded the “goal” conversations.
Then, for a couple of years, I completed ignored the entire “making goals” thing. I figured it didn’t work for me so why waste the energy. However, in 2016 I started becoming committed to being teachable and increasing my skills within all areas of my life. As a result, I kept hearing about goal setting. Finally, I figured out that goal setting does work and is profitable, even necessary...if you know what you’re doing.
I didn’t know what I was doing.
MY FIRST VISION BOARD
I used to laugh at people (inwardly) who had vision boards and images of “stuff” they wanted tacked up on their walls or taped to the refrigerator. I thought it was silly and self-serving. Truthfully, most of these people never achieved those things – probably because it was silly and self-serving. They didn’t truly have the right focus. Goal setting isn’t about posting an image of a fancy car, house or piles of cash and then hoping some mysterious force will drop it in your lap like the tooth-fairy.
I learned that having a vision for your life is God-ordained. I realized we are all created for something amazing and that God takes great delight in exceeding our expectations. When I was able to accept that, then I could sit down and think about what it was that my heart desired. Not just “stuff” but what was at the core of my being.
My first attempt at identifying those desires and creating a vision board was last year, 2017. I proudly put it up, listed a few things and posted images or quotes that served as reminders of my goals.
My result…..well, I achieved ONE of the many goals I had.
PRESSING ON WITH GOAL SETTING
Despite my less-than-stellar results from last year, I’m not giving up. You see, I can get mad and think that goal setting doesn’t work OR I can humble myself and ask, “What did I miss? What am I not understanding?”
Honestly, I believe those two questions are the key to ALL growth and development in life. Until we stop making excuses and passing blame, we will never be all that we are created to be.
Truth be told, in November I tore down my goals and all the pictures I had on my vision board. Just as I crumpled up those precious lists and images I caught myself before sliding down the slope of self-pity. It was tempting to give up, but I’m pressing in and learning. I learned:
- I can do better at identifying specific goals and breaking them down.
- To not be afraid of my goals. (yes. I was afraid of success)
- Determine what is at the heart of my desires. (i.e. WHY do I want to make $XX ? The money is not my goal….the WHY of the making the money is my goal.)
- For me, I’m not motivated by goals such as achieving a certain income, house, or other possessions. I am motivated by what I can do with those things and how it can change my life and the lives of others; OR how those things are TOOLS to for meeting my goals.
- Knowing what I really want is hard to identify sometimes. It takes practice.
MOVING FROM FUZZY TO CLEAR
This year feels much, much different than the past. Somehow I know that these goals are happening. Now it is believing and acting like I already have them. That it’s a done deal. In the past, they were rather fuzzy, this year, it is clearer. I really do know where I am going. I’m not upset about the “failure” of previous years. They were defining times to help me get to this point.
Sometimes you have to wade through the muddy waters to know what you don’t want first. That’s what I needed. Re-discovery. Every day, I get a little more focus.
If goal-setting has not worked for you in the past, find people who do it well and learn from them. It’s not the goal-setting that doesn’t work…it is something in your thinking or believing that needs a little adjustment. Keep at it and don’t give up! My favorite person to learn from in visions and goals is Terri Savelle Foy. Check her out!