Goal Setting for Skeptics

In an interesting piece, Why “Goal Setting” Makes You Cringe, Gina Trapani writes what many folks think, especially in our NM business:

“When you’re good-looking, smart, hard-working, or lucky, good things just happen to you—or at least that’s how it appears. The teenage entrepreneur who becomes a bazillionaire, the first-time author who sells 60 million copies of her novel, the ADD-afflicted kid who started swimming and took home eight Olympic gold medals—everywhere you turn you hear a story of someone who’s achieved almost impossible goals, looking smug and untouchable in all their enviable glory.

The part you don’t hear, however, is about the moment those people made a decision to try to do something, got laughed at and talked about, doubted themselves because of it, but worked their ass off to get there anyway. That’s what goal setting is, and that’s why if you want to get anywhere you want to go, you’ve got to do the same thing.”

And here, she says, is the bug-a-boo…

“However, the problem with goal-setting for skeptics is presentation. Do any kind of reading about personal productivity and self-improvement, and inevitably you run into That Guy who advocates the “power” of a “personal goal-setting program.” You know That Guy—the one in the suit with the big toothy grin and a book to sell you, complete with a life-changing DVD, and a $5,000 workshop in a city near you. Yeah, that guy.

“It’s because of that guy and his over-the-top promises that the subject of personal goals is one of the most painful topics to broach in this “get better at doing stuff” arena. Unless you’re in that $5,000 goal-setting workshop—and you’re not, unless you’re a CEO pulling down a salary Normals only dream of—feeling like a huge dork for even thinking about writing down one’s personal goals is natural. Culturally, it’s just not done…”MORE HERE.

You agree? Or not?

About the author

Kim Klaver

1 Comment

  • I only set goals when I train to run a marathon, because you can’t do something like that without a solid plan. Other than that, I am not a goal setter nor an advocate of goal setting. I actually have to cover goal setting when I teach, and I bring up two things most people never consider about goals

    1) they can actually place a ceiling on performance. Performance declines or stops once it reaches the magic target.
    2) goals constrain behavior. If you have set a goal and have a strong reward linked to that goal, your behavior will be driven to reach the goal. Other important things that you need to be doing that are not linked to the goal don’t get done.

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