Why Goal Setting is not enough
For the last several years I have been passionate about personal development. Initially I got the rush from listening to Tony Robbins tapes. He has an amazing ability to suck you in and get you feeling like you can take over the world and run through a brick wall! (I would not advise trying the latter!)
Over the last 5 years I have read books, listened to tapes, watched videos all of which greatly enhanced my ability to improve myself and accomplish my goals and desires.
I have noticed that most people are infatuated with setting goals. Either they think its the greatest thing or they believe that setting goals does nothing to help accomplsihing your desires. Either way people love to focus on setting goals.
And why not! Setting goals can feel good. You get a positive feeling of doing something that will certaily help you achieve that aim. As if writing it down alone will ensure its success.
Of course writing goals down is not worth the paper they are written on if that is the limit of your commitment!
Now I am not hear to harp on setting goals. I beleive they are very important. Goal Setting is one of the most important skills that you can develop. The act of writing your goals on paper in a specific, measurable and actionable manner is critical to achieving success.
Why is this?
Our brains are a goal-seeking organism. By giving our brain a concrete goal with a timeline our subconscious mind will work day and night to achieve the goal. Goal setting is critical to success but it is only one of the many tools that are essential to success.
Why people fail
The most common reasons why people fail to reach their goals is that they give up, lose motivation, have a lack of belief in themselves or just get overwhelmed by the goal. Assuming the goal was well written (specific, measurable, deadline) and acted upon, the issue is not with the goal but with the person. And this is the problem with only setting goals, it does not focus on the person, their motivation, beliefs and attitudes.
If you want to achieve a great level of success you must implement strategies and tools that will focus on the entire objective. The strategies and tools that I am specifically referring to here are: creating a compelling vision/dream, developing empowering beliefs and visualization. Now goal setting is part of this equation but it is only one element.
Create a compelling Vision
The first place to start is creating a compelling vision or dream. This goes beyond your goals. What does your ultimate success look like? What will you be doing? What will you own? What impact will you have made? Where will you be living? What do your relationships look like?
The reason that creating a compelling vision is so important is because goals can change but the dream/vision stays the same. When you hit a roadblock you do not have to abandon the destination, just change the route to end up at the same destination. It is critical that this dream/vision is something that you are committed to, it must be compelling and genuinely excites you.
Write Effective Goals
As I mentioned setting goals is critical to success, it is imperative that you are setting well written goals. A major issue people have when it comes to goal setting is that they set vague goals or they do not write them down. They say to themselves “I want a raise from work.”
THAT IS NOT A GOAL! IT IS MERELY A WISH!
First off, if we use the SMART framework the goal does not meet any of the requirements: It is not specific, measurable, actionable, realistic or timely.
Next, it is critical to put your goals down into writing. Goals that are written have a much higher chance of being successful. A study was conducted at Dominican University of California by a psychologist by the name of Gail Matthews. She discovered that of the 267 participants who took place in the study those who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them!
For a goal to be effective it must include a “how much & by when” or follow the SMART framework. Take the raise example above, it produces no feeling of excitement or urgency. If you write down: “I want to receive a $10,000 raise by January 1st 2016” now we have ourselves a goal! The deadline produces urgency and the specific and measurable nature of this goals gives our mind (subconscious and conscious) something to focus on and actively pursue. We have to start taking action NOW and become a better version of ourselves to achieve this goal.
Develop Empowering Beliefs
Your beliefs and perceptions about yourself are one of the biggest determinants of success. Disempowering beliefs are like handbrakes on a car that hold you back. These disempowering beliefs have been developed and reinforced throughout your life starting at a very early age during your childhood.
The good new is that because these beliefs have been learned they can be unlearned!
In order to maximize your potential and achieve your goals you must develop empowering beliefs. Empowering beliefs are critical because they develop a winning attitude, self-assurance, and a belief that you can and will achieve your vision and goals for life.
Empowering beliefs become very important when you start to face obstacles, this is where many people give up and quit. Developing absolute unwavering faith in yourself is how you will ensure your success.
I cannot stress the importance of developing empowering beliefs.
“Man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.” — Excerpt from As a Man Thinkth by James Allan
Your beliefs about yourself and the world create the reality that you live in today. If you want to improve your life, you must improve your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.
Visualize your Success
This is one of the most under-rated and under-utilized success tools. Visualization is extremely powerful for the following reasons: first, it activates the creativity powers of your subconscious mind; second, it helps to discover available resources by focusing your brain through its reticular activation system (RAS); finally, visualization harnesses the law of attraction and draws to you the people, resources, and opportunities you need to achieve the desired outcome.
Visualization may sound too good to be true but researchers have found that when you perform a task or activity in real life your brain uses the same identical processes it would use if you were only vividly visualizing that activity. This means that your brain does not distinguish between visualizing something and actually doing it.
Alan Richardson an Australian psychologist proved this phenomenon through an experiment of his. He took a group of basketball players and divided them into three groups to test each players ability to make free throws.
The first group would practice for 20 minutes a day for 20 days; the second group only made free throws on the first and 20th day; and the final group would also shoot free throws on the first and 20th day but would also spend 20min everyday visualizing themselves shooting free throws.
The results of this experiment found that the first group that practiced daily improved 24%, the second group who did not practice daily did not improve, the final group which practiced just as much as the second group but also visualized each day improved by 23%, only 1% difference from the group that physically practiced each day.
Try visualizing your goals as already complete. Every morning and night when you are lying in bed spend 5 minutes visualizing your goals. Really focus on feeling as if you have already achieved this goal. Create a mental movie and try to add as many senses as you can. You will be amazed at how effective this will be.
We need a Success System
Each of the success tools above serve an important purpose in helping to achieve your overall objective. By themselves they are effective but put together towards one common objective, these tools become incredibly powerful. They form the basis of a success system which with the appropriate commitment, determination and action will assist and accelerate your ability to accomplish your dreams and goals.