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Setting Goals and Keeping Accountable

Four Strategies to help you be successful regardless of your goal setting preference

Setting goals is a widely discussed topic, but is setting goals as effective at making us successful as it is portrayed? Multiple studies show that approximately 45% of populations set goals or resolutions, 3% of populations write goals down, and only 8% succeed with their goals. Why is it that less than 50% of people set goals, and only 8% succeed?

The Dark Side of Goal Setting

We often hear that setting goals is important and that we all need to do it if we want to be successful. There is no doubt that goal setting can be attributed to success. Many successful people, like Walt Disney, credit their achievements to goal setting. But there is a downside to it too. Oliver Burkeman, the author of ‘’Antidote: Happiness for People who can’t stand positive thinking’’ agrees. He notes that putting all your focus into one thing puts you at risk of distorting the rest of your life. According to a business consultant’s, Stephen Shapiro’s study, 41% of adults agreed that meeting their goals failed to make them happier, 18% went as far as to say that goals destroyed their relationships and 36% of people cited more stress.

Setting goals helps us feel grounded, it helps alleviate the feeling of uncertainty and it gives some predictability by knowing what will happen. However, uncertainty can be a fuel for creativity and innovation. Many entrepreneurs succeed by taking advantage of that uncertainty, being nimble and open to change.

So, Goal Setting isn’t your thing…

Why doesn’t everyone set goals? One reason for many is the fear of failure. Scott Adams, the creator of famous Dilbert cartoons, speaks of approaching life as a sequence of milestones like existing “in a state of near-continuous failure”. You are always heading somewhere, and once you get there - you are instantly left without sense of purpose and must formulate a new one.

Scott Adam’s strategy is to focus on doing something regularly that increases the odds of happiness in a long run, as opposed to an immediate outcome. Do some type of exercise daily, instead of setting a long-term goal like being able to run a marathon. By adopting this mindset, there is little risk of being left with no sense of purpose every time you tick a goal off your agenda. The idea is to simply do something every day, however tiny that thing is. “No Zero Days” is a popular system to help you manage your focus and motivation without being a goal setter.

Keeping Focused and Accountable

Whether you are a person who sets goals or not, I bet you can relate to the struggle of maintaining motivation and staying accountable? It all comes down to your ‘’why’’. Do you have a compelling enough reason for doing something? Chances are unless you do, you will keep putting your actions off.

Break down ‘’how’’ you will get closer to living your purpose, your “why”, bit by bit. Looking at your life’s purpose or an ambitious goal may seem like a huge undertaking! It helps to focus on one small step at a time. How would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Have complete honesty with yourself and acknowledge when you are procrastinating. Ask yourself why you are avoiding doing something important. Is it still important? Talk to other people about your progress, your dreams and challenges. Seek feedback, sometimes hearing how you did from someone else can help maintain your motivation.

Your Take-Home Strategies:

  1. Don’t feel pressured to set goals. But, regardless of your goal setting preferences, you should know what your purpose is, and your ‘’why’’. It is essential to keep you guided.

  2. If you set goals, make sure you have anchored into your ‘’why’’ and that you are being realistic in what is required to achieve your goals. Remember to balance your goals and the rest of your life. Don’t forget that 18% of goal-setters with broken relationships!

  3. If you don’t set goals, explore what other approaches or methodologies you can adopt to keep yourself moving towards your purpose. You can adopt the ‘’No Zero Days’’ system where you focus on doing something productive every day.

  4. Know your ‘’why’’ ‘’what’’ and ‘’how’’ and be honest with yourself when you are procrastinating! Engage a coach if you would like someone to support you with this.

Need some help, not sure where to even start? Our Leadership Coach, Maria Model is available for face to face and online coaching. Contact [email protected] or call 0430 468 774 for your initial discussion on us!

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