Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work!

Why Goal Setting Doesn't Work!

What starts off as an exciting time with new beginnings, most of us see the New Year as a time to set resolutions, intentions and goals for the year ahead. Yet for the majority of us this soon ends in frustration with a feeling of failure when they are not achieved.

Like many things, what makes logical sense in theory, is a practical struggle for most people.

So let me ask you this… if goal setting is so effective, why do so many people struggle to achieve them and should we consider an alternative?

Lets face it, if you are a person who struggles to achieve their goals, what is going to make this New Year any different?

Goals are one of the best marketing ploys there are, as if you tell the marketplace often enough that goal setting is the only way you can be successful, then we begin to believe it.

I myself believed it. For years in fact I set goals and New Year’s resolutions, only to feel like a failure and demotivated when I came up short time and time again.

I’ve seen and heard of so many self-help gurus standing on stage telling us to set goals. They have quoted a 1953 Yale study when only those who set goals succeeded. Yet no such study ever took place, as all the 1953 graduates were contacted and said they were never involved in a study.

In business goal setting is also used. I would set goals for all my staff during appraisal time, as that is what I was taught by my bosses. When doing my post graduate degree, again goal setting seemed to be the recipe for success to keep me to deadlines.

Even as I write this, I know I have challenge on my hands to convince you that traditional goal setting does not work, as for most people they are unaware there is an alternative successful option.

It makes me understand how Christopher Columbus felt when the entire world believed the earth was flat, yet he and a few educated people sought to convince the majority otherwise by being the lone voices in the darkness.

Let me explain why goals don’t work and then the alternative just might be the missing piece you need to turn this around.

Our first priority as humans is to survive. We therefore look to avoid things that potentially cause us pain or discomfort. So any change we aim to make will be resisted.

Therefore the bigger the goals and the more you aim to change, the more resistance you will encounter. In many cases this is too much of a shock for the system to handle and therefore we naturally look for comfort from our old patterns.

So why does it work for some people but not for most?

Mostly it to do with the goals being realistic for the type of person you are. If you were running a 100 meter race, you would not expect to run like Usain Bolt in your first attempt unless you too had his physique. And just because you cannot achieve the success in the 100 meters like Usain, does not make you a failure.

Over the next week I am going to explore alternatives on how you can set goals that actually work.

Andy T Cumming
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Andy T Cumming

Andy advises organisations and small business owners on how to make a bigger impact in the marketplace. He created the Professional Impact Profile, the leading six in one impact profiling system in the world. The profile highlights the gaps to become bigger, stronger and more impactful.
Andy T Cumming
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