Why Goal Setting Doesn't Work!
Dear Success Seeker,
Today while coaching I asked my client, a successful financial advisor, about his goals for the next quarter. His response was that he wanted to meet 50 new prospective clients in the next three months. I asked him how he was planning to do that. His response? "I just need to get myself out there."
Can you see the problem? He has a goal but his plan for getting there is vague and poorly defined. And this, my friends, is why most people never achieve their goals. Anyone can come up with a goal. But a goal is completely useless unless it is accompanied by a step-by-step plan for achieving it.
Think about the success gurus you have encountered. They all insist that goal setting is the key to great achievement. The authors, seminar leaders, motivational speakers, coaches and workshop leaders all tell you that you need to be crystal clear about your goals. Write them out and read them every day. Attach them to the mirror or carry them in your pocket. Visualize them (and make sure you feel the emotions!) Make affirmation statements like, "I earn one million dollars a year, I earn one million dollars a year." And remember what you learned in The Secret movie; you need to get your energy aligned so the Law of Attraction will deliver everything you want effortlessly.
How's all that working for you? For most people, not so well! Personally, I think most of these techniques are a bunch of hooey. They may not interfere with your success but I don't think they help you achieve your goals either. Here's why.
Picture yourself standing on the ground. That's you with your feet on the ground in the real world. Now imagine some clouds floating in the sky, high above your head. They represent your goals and dreams. But notice, these goals and dreams are not tangible. They are in the realm of possibility but at this point they're just thoughts and ideas. You, standing on the ground, are in the physical realm. But your goals are not real. You can't touch them and you certainly can't take them to the bank!
Your challenge is to transform your goals from the realm of possibility into reality; from the intangible world into the physical world. There is only one way to do that. You must take action. Not just any action, but specific actions that will advance you towards your goals.
Now imagine a ladder that leads from where you are standing on the ground up to the clouds. That ladder is called a PLAN and the rungs of the ladder are the action steps that will lead you to your goal. Unlike the clouds, the rungs of the ladder are solid and exist in the physical world. Each time you climb up one rung on the ladder you move one step closer to achieving your goal.
My point is that goals are completely worthless unless they are partnered hand-in-hand with a specific, tangible plan of action.
Let's go back to my financial advisor client. Clearly his statement, "I need to get out there" is not going to ensure he meets his goal. So we worked together to create a practical plan. First we brainstormed a list of about 15 possible ways he could meet new people. He then chose the three approaches he liked best and created an action plan for each one. The plans were very realistic and were broken into very small, specific steps. If he executes fully on all three of them, he will easily meet the 50 new prospects he is looking for.
Take the same approach with your goals. If you look objectively at the plans you have now you will likely notice that what is missing is the small actionable steps, the rungs of the ladder that will move you towards your goals. Creating these action steps is the real secret to achieving your goals. No matter how big or small it is, any goal can be achieved if you break it down into action steps and then execute them.
Get to work now. Take your most important goal and make a detailed action plan for it. Begin following through, one step at a time and you can't help but achieve it.
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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