If you have been involved in self-help and change work for any amount of time you have heard about the power of goals. Brian Tracy wrote a 289 page book on the topic for Pete’s sake.
Goals can be a really useful tool. I use them!
BUT goals are flawed!
Why Goals Don’t Work
The problem with goals is that they are intellectual. We can see how they reasonably make sense and how achieving them would make our lives better, but they aren’t attached to our emotions.
AND THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM!
Let’s take losing weight for example. There was a time in my life where I wanted to lose 30 lbs. By losing 30 lbs I would be back down to what I weighed when I was 24 and I would be at a weight that was healthy for my heart and wouldn’t cause stress to my back.
I wanted to lose the weight in two months. That was an aggressive pace, but doable.
It was the perfect goal. I knew exactly what I wanted. It was measured. It had a time frame.
Everything all the goal setting gurus told me I needed to achieve what I wanted.
And it didn’t work.
My workout regime broke down within 10 days.
My diet was even worse. I was cheating after just 3 days. (Really, one bowl of icecream is no big deal, right?)
It Is Not The Goal
The problem wasn’t with my goal. I would write the goal a little differently today, but it was a well written goal.
The problem was that the goal was missing something.
It was missing one thing.
AND that one thing makes all the difference.
In this short audio I explain what I learned I need to add to my goals to make them work.
It will take you just a few minutes to transform your goals from things that seem like a good idea, but that you can never get yourself to take action to achieve, to things you are moving towards with motivation and energy (even when it is hard).
Below you will find a full transcript of the audio.
I had a really interesting conversation with one of my clients this week that I thought it might be useful in moving forward into this. I know we have spent some time talking about goal setting before, but I thought it would be really important this time of the year to revisit it and just add some examples and emphasis. When I am creating a goal list, one of the things I found really important to do in stating goals and intentions is stating why I want the particular goal. Because, oftentimes, the goals that I set are measurable things, because that’s what goals are supposed to be, so that we know if we’re getting to them or not; but they don’t explain what I get from that measurable place.
You know, I might have an income goal, or I might have a weight goal, or I might have a speed which I’m going to write fifteen miles goals. And these are important things because it helps me to tell if I’m moving forward or not, but it loses some of the context inside of my own life. And so, I might have a financial goal of making a certain amount of money every single year, but when I state why I wanted it, it becomes more real and more tangible. It creates flexibility, in the ability to buy a larger house for my family, or to travel the world like I’d like to, or whatever those things that the financial stability gives me. Oftentimes, a weight goal isn’t really about physical weight, but it’s about health and well-being and having energy in being able to move through the day in a way that is painless; because, oftentimes, people are overweight, experience pain because the body wasn’t built to carry all of that stuff.
And so, whenever I visit my goal list, I always make sure that I not only read the goal, but I read the why. There’s a really specific reason for this, because it’s possible for me to read my goals – lose 15 pounds, make a $150,000 next year — and not have it create any fire or any inspiration inside of me. It becomes a really mechanical thing. But, it’s impossible for me to read the why and not have it kindle excitement and passion and fire to move me forward. Because, when I see the why, I see how the transformation happens. When I see how the transformation happens and the impact it has in my life, then it’s easier for me to sit down with a goal list and do the task that are hard and are gross and are over my head – whatever it is, because there’s lots of resistance. The goal list does not burn off resistance. The reason why I want the change can start to burn off the resistance.
The really important thing to remember–and this is something I just personally keep coming back to again and again and again — is this idea that I don’t have to be fearless all the time. I don’t even have to be fearless in this moment, I just need to be “fearlesser,” like a little less fearful, enough fearless to be able to take the step to make the choice to move forward because it creates this cascade of responses. When I say yes once and try something – and we’ve talked about this before – is it moves me to a place where I’m able to get caught up in the wake of the cascade of events that comes from that one small choice. And so, when I revisit my goal list — and I do about once a week – I make sure I tap into that, why? Because when I read that why and I go “Ooh, this is how my life becomes better. Ooh, this is how it changes. When I connect with that, what it does is, it puts me into a space in which I’m able to be “fearlesser” in the moment, and I’m able to move forward and get past my resistance, and take the two or three steps that I can take today; those pro-me choices that get me moving in a way that we’ll see fruits of transformation and start moving me towards the goal.
The second thing that by understanding the why does with our goals is it helps us to see paths and opportunities that we might have missed if we were only focusing in on that one specific goal. If my goal is to lose 15 pounds, then I get really transfixed on losing 15 pounds. What I’m going to do is, I’m only going to do the things in my life that will get me to place to lose those 15 pounds. But that isn’t necessarily moving me towards health because it’s possible what I really want is I want to lose 15 pounds that I’m healthier and I have more energy. Now, if I say, I want to lose 15 pounds, I’m healthier and I have more energy, what might come across my desk through a note from a friend or something I read in a website, is this really awesome breathing exercise at the beginning of the day that energizes me, that helps me to move through the day with energy.
Now, if I’m only fixated on losing that certain amount of weight, then I can be in a circumstance where I miss the opportunity to do something else that leads me to my goal. Now, I still might want to continue to lose weight because of its health benefit and then continues to have energy; but by recognizing what the ‘why’ is, it puts me in a circumstance where I can see other opportunities that move me towards that. Also, it’s going to help me steer clear from solutions that aren’t doing that, because it’s possible for me to lose 15 pounds by just stop eating. You know, I’m just going to stop eating until I lose 15 pounds. I’m going on a hunger strike ‘til I lose 15 pounds. Now, that’s going to reduce weight, but it’s not going to reach my goal of being healthier and having more energy, because simply starving my body is not a healthy thing because the body is going to start draining resources that it needs for other stuff.
So, when we sit down and write our goals, we need to come up with not only what we want, but why we want it, because it’s going to create the fire and it’s going to continue to keep us focus in why we’re doing it, which will help us find solutions we weren’t looking for and move us forward. I’ve come to realize this in all of my traveling and talking with people – I generally don’t care what people want. Be it to climb a really tall mountain, or to get sweaters, or to get a certain job or to go to a certain school. That’s lovely. What I’m really interested and what I’m really fascinated by is, why do they want that? Why do they want to spend 40 hours a week in a particular hobby? Why do they spend their lifetime chasing a specific goal? That’s when we start to find out what’s really interesting about someone is that ‘why.’ And so, in our own growth and our own development, it’s important that we see that. That we recognize not what we want, but why we want it, because inside of that, it’s going to move us forward.
So, I hope you find that helpful as we move into reviewing the past year and getting ready to set up for an awesome 2012. Spend a little time figuring out not just what you want, why you want it; who do you want to become, what you get from it? In naming those things, your actions are going to become easier, resistance is going to melt away, and you’re going to be “fearlesser” enough to make that one choice that creates the cascade of events that rockets you towards that goal that you really want, because it makes your life better, it makes you healthier and it makes you happier.
As always, I’d really love your input and idea like this. If you are listening to this in iTunes, simply go to the website www.tappingqanda.com/podcast and click on the link for this bonus podcast. Or, if you’re reading this, or if you’re listening to this in the site, all you need to do is just go down below the little player that you’re listening to right now, add your thoughts, add your comments. I’d love to hear what you have.
For the Tapping Q and A podcast, this is Gene Monterastelli, and I’ll talk to you real soon. Bye!