The Hidden Danger of Goal Setting

By: jitu


One of the first thing success oriented people usually learn is that they have to set goals. We are told that for a goal to be successful it must be specific, have a deadline and be in writing. What we are not told is that the typically taught strategies for goal setting could be guaranteeing that you fall well short of your true potential or they could be adding many unnecessary years to your success journey.

Why are we told to make our goals specific?

The theory is that the more specific a goal, the easier it is for our subconscious to take it on board and, as a consequence, the greater the probability of getting that exact goal by the time our deadline expires. That may well be true but there is a balancing factor here. The more specific a goal is, the more likely we are to NOT get a better result than the specific goal by the time we reach the deadline. A specific goal is putting a limit on our potential achievement and it may well be a limit that is well beneath our true potential.

Take for example a financial goal. Many people set a goal to be a millionaire by the age of 30, but Bill Gates was a billionaire by that age. I wonder how many people are selling themselves short by setting goals that are too conservative.

Sure if you set a goal to be a billionaire by a specific date you may well scare yourself so much that you won't achieve it. But maybe there is a better way.

One possible solution is to set short term goals. In this way you can set each goal according to your level of belief and that may well be growing quickly with each and every successful goal. For this reason many experts suggest that a goal should not be greater than 3 months into the future.

This is a reasonable solution but you still have the problem of what the goal should be. Most people are more heavily influence by their past levels of success (or failure) than they are by their true potential.

Very few people have any idea what their true potential is. Most very successful people will say they never would have guessed that they could have achieved so much in their life time. So how did they set their goals?

Another approach is to set large longer term goals and then use daily affirmations to stretch your self-belief until it is at the level of the goals, but how long will it take you to stretch your belief to the level of the large goal and how much will you achieve during this time?

I would like to suggest a different approach. What if you were to combine a goal for continual, regular improvement combine with similar affirmations?

For example you could set the following financial goal. "To continual improve, refine and apply my money making skills so that each week is more profitable than the week before". You could combine this with a daily affirmation such as "Money comes to me continually in ever increasing amounts from numerous sources and I skillfully apply this money to ever increase my level of wealth".

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