I was searching for a book tonight and found one I had not read in a while. It is Eliyahu Goldratt’s, The Goal. It’s a great novel about setting goals and the theory of constraints. The same problems brought out in that book for companies applies to us as individuals. Most of us don’t know what our goals are, nor do we know how to set them.
Goals are objectives, aims, ends, ambitions, purposes, targets, objectives, aspirations – things to aim at or for – to pursue. Goals are not wishes. Wishes are desires, hopes, yearnings, cravings, wants inclinations, etc. They are not a real need. Wishes lack the ‘desire’ to achieve and to earn the reward for your efforts. ‘Someday I’d like to…’ is wishful thinking. ‘By September, I am loosing ten pounds…’ is a goal. Goals are projected expectations in the future – objectives that a person wants to achieve. A wish is merely a hope or desire – not an expectation.
Goals must be written. Mental goals equate to failure over 90% of the time. Written goals convert to success over 90% of the time when the proper actions are taken. Several studies have shown that written goals produce results. Since 1950, graduates from various colleges have been tracked in their career success. The vast majority of college graduates had no goals whatsoever upon graduation – they found jobs and had a decent life. The Social Security Administration has studied financial success and failure for decades. Their results show that 95% of people are dead, dead broke or still working when they reach the age of 65. Only 5% are considered to be financially well off.
The Social Security 95% category includes most of those people without goals. Those with written goals – approximately 4% on the average – did several times better than those with unwritten goals. A written goal implies a contract to take action and achieve results. The vast majority of the people interviewed in the top 5% of the United States have written goals.
A fundamental goal statement includes what and when – what you want to accomplish (lose ten pounds) within a stated timeframe (by September). A better goal statement would consist of the reasons ‘why’ you want to accomplish this goal. By September, I am loosing ten pounds so that I am healthier, look better and fit into that new suit I want to buy. I want people to be impressed with the new leaner and trimmer me.
Think of it this way. You start your car and keep it in neutral. You can rev the engine as high as you dare, and you are not going anywhere. It’s the same as wishing and hoping – I wish I had a million dollars – I hope I can graduate. You have to put the car in gear to begin your journey. Your goal is your destination. Your goal is your expectation.
When setting and achieving goals, your brain is your most significant help or hindrance. Engage it correctly, and your brain (actually your subconscious mind) can help you achieve your goals. Your brain actively helps you in your quest to achieve your goals. Do nothing, and your brain will hinder you from achieving your goals. Your mind will fight to see you fail.
Common reasons for failure to achieve your goals typically are:
• Definition and clarity – they were not well defined
• Self-doubt – you considered them unachievable, or
• Self-belief – you didn’t believe you could do it.
Belief is an unusual trait. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. You can’t do the same things and get a different result.