How important is goal setting to making your dreams come true?
You may have seen the numbers — the most successful people in the world, the top 1% — are the ones who not only regularly set goals, but who also write them down and review them regularly.
However, most people spend zero time figuring out their goals (much less writing them down and reviewing them) beyond the immediate: what’s for dinner and what will be their next Netflix show to binge watch.
So, if setting goals really is the secret to success, and the vast majority of folks say they want to be successful, why isn’t everyone doing it? I mean, it seems like a relatively painless habit to develop, right? So what’s stopping us?
I think it’s because …
For years, I would set goals using what I would consider a very traditional process. I’d sit down and brainstorm a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish the following year, and then write them down. It was pretty simple, straight-forward, and very much a mental exercise.
Now, there’s nothing really wrong with this approach, and if this is something you do and if it’s working for you, great. It also sort of worked for me — I did see success from at least making the effort.
However, this is only one of many ways to set goals.
For instance, in his book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, talks about how “Setting goals is for losers,” and what you really ought to be doing is creating systems.
His argument is that when you set goals, you constantly feel like a failure because you haven’t reached the goal. And, because you’re constantly feeling bad about your goal, you stop working toward it.
But, if you have a system, all you need to do is follow it, and you’ll feel good about yourself regardless of results.
For example, let’s say you have a goal to lose 10 pounds. Every day you haven’t lost 10 pounds is another day you feel like a failure. But, if you set up a system that revolves around exercise and eating better, and you follow that system, you’ll not only eventually lose the 10 pounds, but you’ll also feel like a winner as you follow your system and start seeing results.
While I find a lot of this intriguing — especially how it actually feels (I know the old way I set goals made me feel constantly impatient as I waited — and tried — to reach them) — it also seems like you need an initial goal to start the process of following your system. Otherwise how will you know your system is designed to actually help you reach your ultimate goal? (I know, that seems obvious, but stick with me.)
Let’s say your system is set up to support you in eating better and exercising. That’s great, and it can certainly end up making you healthier … but because there are so many ways to eat better and exercise, the system you set up may not actually help you lose weight. And if that’s the case, you won’t reach your ultimate goal, and I suspect your system will end up leaving you feeling frustrated with that constant sense of failure.
For me, what works best for me when it comes to goal setting is to use a mixture of techniques.
First off, it can’t just be a mental exercise like how I used to do it — I want to give myself the space to feel into where I want to go. I also want to make sure my inner wisdom, intuition, and God (or Spirit or Source) has a chance to weigh in.
And, once I know where I want to go, then it’s time to structure my day, including my daily habits, so I’m fully supported along the way to get there. (I suspect this is what Adams would likely call my system, and I work the system rather than fixate on the end result and feel unhappy waiting for it to come to fruition.)
Ready to give it a try? Go for it! Create a system, and reach your ultimate goals.
And if one of your goals for the New Year is to make more money, you may like my new book “Love-Based Money and Mindset,” as it includes a blueprint to help you actually create a system to make more money. You can learn more and grab your copy here.