Why Goal Setting Isn't Working For You
There is a plethora of information out there on "effective goal setting", "smart goals" etc. Frankly, as good as some of these tools may be, I don't think they address a major, very common factor in why people fail to achieve their goals. It's nothing to do with what you write down, it's a deeper problem.
People who achieve their goals consistently do not seek, need or value approval from others. They do not look for validation from peers, family, friends or colleagues. Your opinion on their path is completely irrelevant and they are almost psychopathic when choosing what to sacrifice in the pursuit of their chosen prize.
It may sound a little dog eat dog, but it's a truth.
When I do an initial consultation with a new client I always try to establish what their goal is and what their "why" is (read our article, the power of why). Very often I get responses that are complete bullshit in both categories. The “why” is commonly a diluted half truth of the real motivation. Answers like "I just want to get fit and feel a bit healthier" are not honest answers in most cases. People don't spend that kind of money and get out of bed at 5am to prepare food and be in the gym by 6:30 before a full day of work to "feel healthier".
People do it because they're scared of not being able to play a simple game of football in the park with their 12 year old son. They do it because they look in the mirror, don't like what they see and shit themselves that their partner thinks the same thing. People are motivated to go to war with a prowler to look awesome, not to lose a few pounds.
I’m in Britain, so maybe we're all just being a little British and oh so conservative about expressing honestly our goals and dreams. That's possible but I think that the main reason lies in a need to please other people an be accepted by them, regardless of culture.
When we set lofty goals we get told to be realistic. When we speak passionately about wanting to look great we get labeled as obsessed. When we stick our chest out and proudly announce our goal is to “make it Pro” we get told to have a back up plan because that never really happens. We basically get told that our dreams are beyond us and we should think smaller.
Accepting this will never make big dreams more touchable and resigning ourselves to mediocrity will never make us more happy than chasing our passions.
If you need someone else's approval you will likely never achieve your goals unless you happen to be surrounded by an incredible group of people. You will stay in bed with your girlfriend instead of make that "optional" early morning session. You will eat lasagne instead of steak and greens because that's what your partner wanted. You will dilute your goals in order to be accepted by your peer group.
That's the wrong way around for success in any venture. To succeed you must be strong enough to say “This is my goal and as such I am doing XYZ. Don't like it? Go f*%£ yourself”. Don't ask me to dilute my goals. Don't ask me to conflict with them. Don't ask me to operate on your wavelength. I am here in my life right now, you can walk with me or walk your own path over there. But do not ask me to come joint you. We should all have that kind of respect for other people and our selves.
Instead of diluting who you are to satisfy your peer group, I suggest upgrading your peer group to satisfy who you are. Keep around you only those who accept the path you choose for yourself.
It’s your life, your goals and your journey. You own it, you drive it forwards and you have to live with it. So make honest choices and set honest goals.