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“Goal-setting Doesn’t Work!”

As the first quarter has just flown by, many people are reflecting on their goals, hopes, dreams, and resolutions that they set for themselves at the beginning of the year.  There was so much enthusiasm then, but now reality has set in!  It’s EASY to set goals, but harder to achieve them.


There are a number of challenges with traditional goal-setting that set people up for failure:

- People feel that have to be perfect in reaching their goal or they abandon it completely

- They set too lofty of a goal and it is unattainable

- They set goals that are more about someone else’s wishes than their own

- While determination is strong at the start, small distractions cause people to stop trying at all


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.  For many of us, our approach to goal-setting is just that – INSANITY!  I dare you to be different in your approach to reaching your goals with these seven steps!


Discover your direction.  Identify and write down your core values first.  These are the things that you value most in life; they are your “non-negotiables.”  These are the qualities that you will be remembered for as the preacher is talking about you above your casket.  Examples are family, stewardship, integrity, health, faithfulness, etc.  You must first know what principles guide you and TIE YOUR GOALS TO THOSE CORE VALUES!


Seize the start. Many people set a goal and then don’t know how to get started!

1.    Repeat what works. Because some goals prompt you to make drastic changes in lifestyle or habits, I encourage you to reflect on how you have been successful at reaching a similar goal in the past. Go back to the early days of your career and repeat things that you did back then to get you where you are today.  Did you volunteer your time in the MPI chapter to build relationships?  What exercise did you really enjoy doing when you lost that weight a few years ago?  Repeat what your brain remembers as being successful.

2.    Set targeted A, B or C goals.  Give your brain options.  Imagine drawing a “bull’s eye.” The center of the target may be the ultimate goal, like losing thirty pounds while the other circles of the target are small, baby steps that move you in the right direction.  The second circle might be exercising four days per week and the outer circle is simply taking the stairs at work. Your brain is trained to see the smaller steps as being just as meaningful and successful as the ultimate goal.  This keeps you motivated and you make forward progress over time.

3.    Establish a time budget.  People forget that reaching most goals requires time in their life that they have not carved out before.  You have to take something out of your life and “off your plate” in order to create time to devote to reaching your goal.  In order to be more involved in your MPI chapter, what other role is it time for you to give up in order to create a balanced time budget?


Embrace the experience.  As initial enthusiasm wanes, it is important to have a plan in place to stay on track through the experience.

1.    Adjust along the way.  Don’t be afraid to adjust or alter your goal after you’ve begun to something that is more realistic and sustainable for you.  If working out two days a week is what is reasonable instead of three, then just change the goal! Quit beating yourself up about what you are not doing!  Forgive yourself when you slip up and get back up on the horse and ride!

2.    Celebrate and be thankful.  So many of us, particularly in sales or event planning, short-circuit ourselves because we never take time to celebrate our small successes.  Plan event; execute event; plan another event; execute another event…  Be intentional about treating yourself after that first pound is lost or you made that first cold call in years.  The more we reward ourselves for the small things, the more our brain is trained to seek more of that reward.

3.    Share your vision with others.  It is so important that we have support surrounding us as we strive to reach our goals.  When you share your vision with others, they will hold you accountable and lovingly encourage you.  All sorts of help comes your way that might not have otherwise arrived if you had not shared what you were trying to accomplish.  And you have more people to celebrate with when you succeed!


My husband and I have the core value of financial stewardship – being good managers of the resources that are entrusted to us.  Several years ago we set the goal to become debt free because of this core value.  We bought a business with the intention of building it quickly and selling it for a profit.  When all of the stress, long hours and sacrifices that come with running a small business would seem to wear us down, we remembered our core value and we persevered.  We sold our business in four years and are now debt free!  So start today, by determining what it is that you want in life, tie that to your core values and begin the steps toward a better future!   


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