Many times in my posts I'm writing under the assumption that my readers have developed written goals. But I know there a lot of folks who for one reason or another have not yet chosen to do so. Here are some of the top reasons I've seen why people don't set goals:
- The idea of full accountability in the form of "I made it or I didn't," is intimidating.
- Someone else is mandating what their goals should be. (Can you spell murder by objective or budgets that flow downhill?)
- The corollary to #2 is that the word "goal" has four letters and is equivalent to a whipping post - it's something you don't really want to do, it'll hover over your shoulder like a vulture, and it's going to get you in trouble if you don't do it.
- They have nonspecific unwritten sort-of goal ideas and don't see how writing them down will make a difference in whether they achieve them or not.
- If you achieve goals your friends might ostracize you for "showing off" or "acting like you're too good for them."
- They are concerned that being individually proactive rather than completely responsive to others is selfish.
- You might not know how to structure a goal statement or how to lay out a solid plan.
- They don't have a solid direction, so they don't have a frame of reference under which they could develop goals.
To what extent are you running your life? Or is your life running you? If you have no goals how do you know where to focus your energy? Go ahead, think about what you really want. Then wrap some words around it using these criteria:
W - Written
H - Harmonious (with your other goals)
Y - Yours
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable, yet
R - Realistically high (a stretch)
T - Time-bound (a date for a deadline)
The extent of your ability to believe in the realism of the goal is the extent to which you'll feel committed to do what's necessary to achieve it. So it follows that a plan that takes your goals all the way down to today's action steps will boost your ability to believe that it's possible. A plan also helps you prioritize the goal-related action steps among everything else you have to do.
If you're not a newbie to goal setting but are reading this because you know other people who struggle with this, let's turn it back to you. Just how audacious are you ready to be? Are you really putting it out there and stretching yourself? If you've had some success in achieving goals already, my challenge to you is to go for a bigger one. Not because someone else tells you to, but to test just how far you can take yourself if you choose to do so.