Recently, I got into a discussion with one of my coaching clients about the importance of setting goals. Or lack thereof. I will admit, and if you read any of my work, this will come as no surprise that I am a freak about setting goals. And time management. And time blocking. And to-do lists. You get the picture.
However, my client made a salient point, and one of my goals for this year (I’m not even kidding) is to become a better listener and be open to new perspectives. So, I listened. And I considered this new information. And then, I decided to write this blog post to determine who is right. I plan to let you know by the time you and I finish this article.
Like many of the people I work with, communicate with, coach, and you, I am very busy yet very driven. However, as the saying goes, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person, and they will find a way.
My friend contends he knows exactly what he is shooting for in his head, and he doesn’t need to write anything down. Besides, it takes too much time to write down and then track goals. Besides, his time is too precious to waste on writing many ideas down and then keeping a journal or a planner to make sure you’re staying on track. Blasphemy!
But here is where I will pause and allow my friend’s challenge to take root in my psyche for just a bit. As I considered the process for planning, setting, and monitoring goals, it occurred to me that, in fact, it does involve a lot of time. Not only that, it requires a commitment. This got me thinking and wondering how many times I had set goals and never really followed them through to their conclusion. Perhaps circumstances changed, or I shifted my focus, but this happens more frequently than I would like to admit, if I’m honest. How about you?
So before I began to beat myself up about it, my focus immediately turned to my mindset and how I look at goals. And here is my challenge for you this week, whether you are an ardent goal setter or not. Actually, the research would indicate that most of you are not because even the most recent research indicates that only a small single-digit percentage of people set and write down their goals. Even if you have goals that are “in your head,” which I question, what do they mean to you?
Here is my point. I continue to do writing, reading, and speaking on the importance of clarifying your Why. I believe that so many people, leaders, and organizations are defined by their What and not their Why and that is a shame. If you’re defining and pursuing your goals only for what they will get you or give you, I am afraid you are missing the point. The question I have for you is, why is the goal important to you?
When I ask this question, I get a lot of answers that sound very altruistic. But they still are centered around what. It really all comes down to clarity. Again, what is the driving force behind what you are hoping to do? You may have a fundamental goal to lose ten pounds. That is a What goal. My question is, why is that goal important to you? Ask yourself that question enough times, and you will begin to get down to the root of the reasons behind the stated goal. Clarity is the key, whether you are setting goals or even if you’re setting intentions.
So, my encouragement to you would be to become a person who sets goals based on why. I would be very willing to bet that very few people, leaders, or companies in the world do this. We just all know who they are because they are the people and the ones who change the world.
I cannot encourage you enough to begin a new journey right where you are. Instead of being driven to a place of doubt or rejection from the prospect of setting less than optimal goals, set some, heck set just ONE that drives you not only to success, not only to significance, but that creates a legacy that will extend well beyond your time here on this earth. That is why I will continue to push and inspire you to go for it every day!
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I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These precious hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.