Last month, I asked those who follow me on my Facebook page, which myths they have heard about goals and goal setting. I have peppered those answers with my own 18+ years of experience helping entrepreneurs, employees, managers, sales representatives and other ordinary people to achieve their goals. Here are 8 myths about goals and goal setting:
01. You need to set a realistic goal, if you are going to reach it
Setting a realistic goal is no guarantee that you will reach it. A realistic goal is more of an indicator of what you think is possible for you to achieve. Your brain, which is ultimately going to help you achieve your goal, couldn’t care less if your goal is realistic or not, so ... even if you think you have realistic goals, there is no guarantee of reaching them.
02. You must set big goals in order to succeed
What each of us believe we can achieve and what we think we deserve varies. Some people come alive and get almost euphoric by setting ambitious goals. Others become demotivated and quickly lose their enthusiasm. Therefore, the size of your goal does not determine, whether you reach them or not. For most people, what works is setting a goal big enough that they must stretch (physically or mentally) in order to reach it, without the goal getting so big that they lose their enthusiasm, so.... Find your balance and go for a goal that will take something out of you to achieve, without you feeling that it is too big and unrealistic for you to reach it.
03. You have to visualize your goal, if you are going to reach it
I know it’s all nice and cozy lounging around visualizing your goal. I also know that you can get a kick and a good feeling out of visualizing, but even though many "experts" say that it is possible, that’s not to say they’re right. If you could reach your goal just by visualizing it, you would already have all those things in your life that you have dreamed of for many years. If you have everything you dream of in life, then you already know that it takes more than visualizations to succeed, so... you do not achieve your goal by visualizing. It’s a good place to start, but if you, yourself, don’t think you can achieve your goal and you don’t work to reach it, the probability that you will achieve it is very small.
04. You must write down your goals
Some people get excited and motivated by writing down their goals, while this doesn’t work for others. The important thing is not, whether you write down your goal or not. The important thing is that you have specified your goal enough that neither you or others are in any doubt about what it is you want, so... it brings clarity (for anyone) to write down their goals, but it isn’t the same as beginning to act on it.
05. You must have a plan of action
Just as some people need to write down their goals, there are also those people who need a plan of action. However, a plan of action is no guarantee for reaching your objective, but it can give you an overview, so you know what you need to do to achieve your goal. If you are into action plans, go ahead and use them. If you aren’t into action plans, I recommend you don’t, so... you don’t need to have a plan of action to achieve your goal. It’s more important that you do something (act) to achieve your goal.
06. You must set a deadline for when your goal should be reached
For some people, what happens when they set a specific time, day, week, month and/or year for their goal, they feel obligated to begin to act on it. Not everyone is like that, however. For others, it does not matter whether they have a deadline or not, so... assess what works best for you and do it. A deadline is not what gets you to achieve your goal. It is your mental attitude about achieving your goal, which, in the end, is the deciding factor as to whether you achieve your goal or not.
07. Action creates results
There is no doubt that it takes action, if you want to achieve your goal. The difficulty for many, however, is finding out what specific actions they must take to achieve their goals, and then, of course, there are also those who become distracted. Most people I meet in my work about goal setting do not realize how important their thoughts are for the actions they perform. The best place to start, if you want to reach your goal, is to work on yourself and your thoughts. This is where the solution lies for most, so ... it does require action to achieve your goal, but make sure you don’t do, what you think you should do. Do what works! You may want to find some people who have already achieved the goals you want to achieve, find out how they think, and imitate it.
08. You can do anything you want
As I have already written, ultimately your thoughts and your mental approach to your goal are what determines, whether you reach your goal or not. Yes! You can do anything you want, but that’s not the same as you prioritize yourself and your goals high enough to spend a lot of time and energy achieving it, even if you have the potential to do so.
I often meet people who say they really want to reach their goals, but they have often misunderstood the concept. It is not enough to say so. You must do it. You must prioritize your goals, work to get it done and continue, even though you may encounter some resistance (from yourself or others) along the way. In reality, it’s not all that difficult to achieve your goal, but many people think it's hard, because they have a wide range of myths, attitudes or bad experiences in their baggage. When they try to go after their goal, the myths, attitudes or experiences control them, rather than their dream, wish, will, and the desire to achieve their goals.
If you have an opinion on this issue, or if you have some myths about goals and goal setting, feel free to post them for me here: