Saturday, December 24, 2005

Curious about Goals and Goal Setting

“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands - your own.” - Mark Victor Hansen

Wow! I don’t know about you, but this year I have read and heard more about the importance of goals and goal setting than ever before. It might be the people I am hanging with on the Internet. Or, possibly the recent teleseminars I have attended. Or, the self improvement programs I am working on.

Interesting is the fact that what I have called goals - and sometimes at this time of year, resolutions - show up by different names. In my favorite marketing guru Robert Middleton’s Action Plan Toolkit you will find the description of working with “intentions.” In Mark Joyner’s program, Simpleology they are called “Targets.”

Also interesting is that as I perused quotations about “goals” I found several contradictory statements along with different feelings about goals and goal setting.

What I expected and have always believed is Mark Victor Hansen’s quote above. When I first became involved with the self improvement, motivational movement I was selling a goal setting program. Therefore, the following statements embody what I have learned and practiced as a goal setter:
  • My favorite mentor Tony Robbins believes, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
  • My other favorite mentor Brian Tracy stated, “People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.”
  • And, the late and great Og Mandino helps with the struggle, “The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”
  • The successful Pablo Picasso pointed out that, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

However, as I read the many quotes, I must admit that I could relate to the contrary side of the belief in the importance of goal setting:

  • Ayumi Hamasaki proposes life in the moment, “I don't set goals. Like, that's what I want to be doing however many years from now. I do what I love to do at the moment. If I wake up tomorrow and decide I want to dance, that's what I'd do. Or design clothes.”
  • And so does Cassandra Wilson, “I know you're supposed to set goals for yourself. I see all that motivational stuff on television. ‘Think about the future, what's next!’ But I'm all into the journey. It's fascinating to me. So if I make certain what I want moment to moment, I'm cool at the crossroads.”

Next, I discovered there are different approaches to the size of your goals:

  • David Joseph Schwartz wrote, “Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this, too! Big ideas and big plans are often easier - certainly no more difficult - than small ideas and small plans.” This is what I have always thought.
  • But Phil Long suggests, “When your goals seem too difficult to reach... move the posts closer.”
  • While Bo Jackson proposes, “Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.”
  • And, Michael Korda agrees, “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.”
  • And yet, John H. Johnson brings it together, “Dream small dreams. If you make them too big, you get overwhelmed and you don't do anything. If you make small goals and accomplish them, it gives you the confidence to go on to higher goals.”

When I was selling the goal setting program and meeting weekly to discuss goal setting, I was convinced - and still am - of the special importance of the journey and the person we become because of the achievement. Just a few more quotes with this in mind:

  • Henry David Thoreau said it all, “What you get by achieving your goals is to as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
  • Jim Bouton puts it succinctly, “Forget goals. Value the process.”

I will leave you with two more quotations that should keep you thinking about your goals, intentions, targets and resolutions:

  • “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” - Confucius
  • “Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.” - Denis Waitley

What about you? I am curious. Do you set goals? And, if so, do they work for you? And, if not, why not?