One drawback that may keep professionals and families from goal setting is the win/lose mentality. Either you reach your goal, or you don’t. It can be frustrating to work on a particular priority and not see the results arrive on your desired timeline. Making significant achievements isn’t easy. This can lead to frustration and keep you from thinking bigger or getting closer to what you want. Nobody wants to miss another accomplishment; life is tough already. Here’s a better solution.
Instead of quantifying your goal as achieved or not, refocus your attention on action steps, preferably small that you may take each day. Whether it’s saving more money, losing 10 pounds, or reaching out professionally to broaden your network, start small. It’s easier to take these steps when you are clear on what you want. You need to believe in what you are working towards first before progress is possible. This leads to a change in your thinking and ultimately your behavior.
I’m convinced our brains are working hard all the time and often there isn’t enough space to think creatively on what’s desired. The default setting is go go as we move from one task to the next. This ultimately leads to burnout and missing opportunities when they arise. The key is slowing down, focusing less on the outcome and more on the habits that make the outcome possible.
Goalsetting is not about achievements, but rather actions that can be consistently repeated overtime. For example, successful investors share the same behavior, regardless of their incomes. They get closer to what they want by investing in and outside of their retirement plan while maintaining cash reserves. This supports more choices and increases confidence in their decisions. Athletes are another example as they focus on a consistent diet, exercise, and sleep routine. This allows them to maximize their natural abilities as their body adapts to competing when it counts.
Most of us want to grow and be more productive in various areas of our life. The key to positive goal setting is following a repeatable process. Moving away from the win/lose mentality and focusing your attention on action matters. This puts on the emphasis on inputs we may control versus outcomes which rarely are controllable or arrive when we want.
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