I believe that traditional goal setting has some serious flaws – think about New Year’s resolutions as a recent example, did you know that 25% of people give up of their resolutions within 7 days of New Year? Why is it that many people do not follow through with their goals? Why is it that many people after the initial excitement and motivation, slowly lose momentum and lose sight of the goal and come to a standstill?
These 5 common failings with the traditional goal getting processes explain why people to give up on or get distracted from their goals:
1) Failure to identify core desires
All the goals we set are ultimately to make us feel a certain way – this is what I call a ‘core desired experience’. For example, two people could have the goal to travel to exactly the same holiday destination yet one is looking for relaxation and the other is looking for excitement. Knowing your core desired experiences is the secret to setting and achieving adventurous goals and will provide ultimate clarity for your life. If we do not know our true targets then how can we be expected to achieve our goals?
We must make a distinction between our core desires and our goals. Desire gives us the direction we want to pursue and why. Goals give us the target. Traditional goal setting does not get to the core of what we most want out of life and WHY we want to do it. Think about this – if you were totally inspired, excited and fired up to achieve something on a daily basis, wouldn’t you be much more likely to go after those things with all of your power?
2) Failure to acknowledge natural resistance to change
An inherent problem with goal setting is related to how the brain works. Neuroscience research shows the brain works in a protective way and is resistant to change. Therefore, any goals that require substantial behavioural change or significant changes in thinking will automatically be resisted. The brain is wired to seek rewards and avoid pain or discomfort, including fear. The presence of fear can cause people to return to comfortable behaviour and thought patterns – as a result of this people may struggle with their goals and give up. When people are mentally prepared in advance they are much more likely to succeed.
3) Failure to set expectations
Many people do not realise that for a change to occur they must change themselves. Highly aspirational goals require us to develop new competencies, some of which may be beyond current capabilities. As we develop these competencies, we are likely to experience challenges and failures which can effect on our progress. Traditional goal setting fails to set expectations about what will be required to achieve a goal in advance and therefore people are not aware of the preparation required. Creating a road map or project plan in advance will identify the gaps and ensure that your mind is ready to defy limits and grow.
4) Failure to accept who we are now
The next problem is that goals are often cast in the image of the ideal or perfection, which activates self-judging behaviour based on where you are currently and can result in people believing that they are ‘not enough’. This counteracts the positive need for self-acceptance.
The future orientation of traditional goal setting fails to acknowledge how far we have already come and the value what we already have. Additionally if the goal is not attained we can often engage in thinking we are failures, not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough, etc. So the pursuit of goals themselves can create emotions of unworthiness. Traditional goal setting lacks a process which reinforces self-acceptance and a process for maintaining and growing self-worth.
5) Failure to be grateful for what we already have
Traditional goal setting encourages us to think about all the things that we want to be, have and do – yet it fails to enable us to take stock and be grateful for all the things we already have. We must all continue to grow in life however when you are able to also be grateful for everything you already have, you will always have a feeling of contentment to compliment your drive for more. It is important to truly recognise all of the things you are grateful for before starting on your next adventures. If we are not grateful for what we have now, what makes us think that we will be happy with more?
I believe these common failings with the traditional goal setting process can result in people not reaching the outcomes that they are seeking. Anyone with enough passion and determination can achieve adventure goals providing they have been properly set up for attainment. So how do you create the power to do what it takes to achieve your goals and create a lifestyle that truly EXCITES YOU?
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