At the start of each year, it is very common to start making New Year’s resolutions or set new goals so that we can give ourselves the best chance of having the kind of year we want to have.
There are differences between setting New Year’s resolutions and goals and it is very important to know what they are. I believe setting goals are a lot more beneficial and effective than setting resolutions however, there are some common myths about setting goals that must be addressed.
If we are not aware of these myths, they can:
- Cause us to miss our goals.
- Slow our progress or even keep us stuck.
- Result in us setting the wrong goals.
When I became aware of these myths, not only was I able to start setting goals that were aligned to what I really wanted and what was most important to me, I was also able to let go of goals that were not relevant and valuable to me in the long run. This meant that I could actually set less goals each year however, they were more meaningful and better aligned with my visions, values and purpose in life. It also resulted in me becoming a better, more consistent goal achiever.
Here are five common myths about setting goals to be aware of so that we can avoid them and take the necessary steps to overcome them.
- Goals are not for everybody. A myth is goals are only for achievers or for those who have big dreams. The truth is we all have dreams however a very small percentage of the population have the courage to pursue their dreams. We all want to do, have or experience different things in life but most people are not willing to pay the price for to get what they want. While having dreams is often the starting point, it is only when we convert our dreams into goals that cause our dreams to become a reality.
- Goals are meant to be easy to achieve. If we know how to achieve a goal then that does not constitute a goal. The purpose of setting goals is not to attain or get something. The real purpose of setting goals is to cause ourselves to grow so that in the process of achieving our goals, we become more aware of our true potential and what we’re really capable of achieving. The actual achievement of the goal is a secondary benefit — the primary benefit is we develop more skills and abilities while in the process of achieving the goal.
- Goals should be incremental or realistic. Oftentimes, we set goals based on how we performed the previous year and what we think we can achieve this year. For example, a business may set a goal to increase sales by a certain percentage based on market conditions and their sales figures from the previous year. The problem with such goals is that they are not inspiring. They are “should” goals rather than “what I really want” goals. Realistic goals often fail to create the emotional connection necessary to stay on track when challenges arise or when progress is slow.
- Goals are meant to be shared with everyone we know. There is a lot of value in holding ourselves accountable for achieving our goals. However, if we share our goals with those who are not supportive, it can have a detrimental effect on us. The best strategy to adopt is to share our goals with those we trust and those we can rely on for proper feedback and support. Having a mentor, coach or accountability partner is extremely valuable whenever we want to achieve important goals.
- I’m a failure if I don’t achieve my goals. This is like saying we should never quit our goals, which is not necessarily true. If in the process of achieving a goal, we develop new awareness, knowledge, tools, abilities and skills but do not achieve our goal, we are still better off than we were previously. This means that we did not fail. In fact, we often learn the most valuable lessons in life from events or experiences that we can easily deem as failures. The key question to ask is, What did I learn from this experience?
People who set goals are usually more successful than those who do not set goals. If we want this year to be better than the previous year, it will require us to do things differently and take new actions. If we don’t do anything different, then chances are we will produce the same type of results we did the previous year.
Question: Which of these myths are you willing to overcome in order to be a better goal achiever?
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