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Why We Shouldn’t Set “Goals”

By Paul Hogan

When thinking of the new year, is the first thing that pops in your mind, after your plans for New Year’s Eve, a screaming – AGHH!  NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS, again?

Have your resolutions been the same year after year; maybe to quit smoking/drinking too much, start a workout program, lose weight, spend less/save more, work harder, be nicer, do more, etc. etc. etc.

And the next year we do it all over again always with the best intentions, which usually last a week or two, very seldom a whole month much less the whole year. And as our best intentions slip away, we know we let ourselves down again, we feel bad, we feel like a loser.

Why do we keep going through this process of setting ourselves up for failure?

We may have read that ivy league school study about the 10% of the class who had written goals years later outperformed the entire 90% that didn’t. The challenge is that study is a myth. It never happened and Yale itself confirms this. However we have reputable successful life coaches urging us to write our goals. We do and we do more – we prioritize and we set dates and we still go through the above described painful process.

I recently read an article with an alternative process for living life on life’s terms without setting ourselves up for failure by setting goals that makes us feel bad about ourselves. This process was to think in terms of establishing habits that allows one to set a goal of being the best she or he can be, NOT by setting lofty goals in 1 or 2 areas of our lives. Think of habits in terms of daily actions that, after a cycle of repetition, become ingrained.

For Example, One Big Goal in the past was losing 1 pound week for 52 weeks so that on January 1, of the next year I weighed 52 pounds less. What a great worthy goal to set in terms of my health. In the past I would begin working out and after two or three weeks I lost 1 pound not the 3 pounds and I would be discouraged and disappointed and there went my goal.

Now I think in terms of establishing a habit of working out. I do so by, yes, working out. At first it was 3 times a week, that became 4 times a week – I felt good and proud that I was doing something – then 5 times a week and then my goal was working out 6 times a week – after 90 days it became a habit of working out daily.  4 times, 5 times and 6 times a week became a habit.  And, because of my habit, I feel good about myself and I’m healthier. may not lose 50 pounds, but that wasn’t the true goal: becoming healthier was the goal while having more energy and self-respect are the benefits.

Check this out yourself – Google: why you shouldn’t set goals.

Have a WONDERFUL 2019!