After yesterday’s post about goal setting and the value of having both “result” goals and “activity” goals, an attorney emailed me and said that when he sets results-based goals and doesn’t meet them, it is discouraging. “By establishing activity based goals, I largely control whether I meet them or not. Therefore I am much more motivated to achieve them.”
Results-based goals are inspiring, but if you continually miss them, you get to where you don’t want to set them anymore.
Before you give up on them, there are a couple of things you can do.
The first thing you can do is to break the rules about “when”. In other words, instead of saying you want to earn $20,000 this month, let go of “this month”. Focus on what you want, not when.
It’s a “law of attraction” thing. The ticking clock is a constant reminder that you don’t have what you want, and when you think about that, all you get is more of what you don’t want. You attract the “not having”.
So, set (results) goals that feel good when you think about them. What and why, but not how or when.
The second thing you can do is to change your thinking about what a goal is. Normally, a goal is a fixed target that you either hit or you don’t. Since we usually set goals that are somewhat out of reach, we get conditioned to missing them, and that quickly gets old.
The answer isn’t to set goals that are so low we always hit them. It is to set three version of the goal:
- The minimum (what you absolutely know you can do without much in the way of extra effort);
- The target (a realistic goal that will take reasonably significant effort but is not out of reach);
- The dream (you probably won’t reach it but it’s not impossible).
If $20,000 is your dream goal, $12,000 might be your target, and $8500 might be your minimum.
Another way to do it is to keep the goal at $20,000 but change the month for hitting it: Six months from now is your target, one year from today is your minimum, and next month is your dream version of the goal.
This way, you almost always hit your goal and are almost never discouraged.
Goals are meant to serve you, not the other way around. If setting goals isn’t working for you, change how you do it, or let it go completely. Leo Baubata, having been a strong proponent of goal setting, relinquished it completely and found that he is just as productive, if not more so.