Is Putting The Focus On Goal Setting A Big Mistake?

By Ange Fonce

"Begin with the end in mind." 

Said efficiency expert Steve Covey

Okay I will give it a shot. 

Weeks back dear reader I started my usual digital article clipping and snipping... with the idea that I would help escort you through the portal into the coming new year. 

Goals I figured... everybody needs goals... it is after all the upcoming Resolution Season and you know what... I collected so much good advice about how to get more done... there is no way I would get this article done for you if I followed it let alone try to assimilate all of it... yes that happens... so how about this? 

I am just going to think on the idea of how not to go about using goals to change your life  as so many of us are hungry to do this time of year and maybe just maybe a shortcut that you could try instead.

Okay so here we go... 

A Highly Disorganized Mishmash Of Brilliant Ideas

On Efficiency

First is it not true these days... you can barely get past this time of year without somebody evoking the sainted 10000 hour rule? 

In case you live deep in the mud or under a rock or that wedge in a crevice at the bottom of the murky Norwegian sea... this is the idea furthered by Malcolm Gladwell and others that you need to log 10000 hours of sweat equity and practice if you want to be a world class expert in ANYTHING

Is it true?

As I listen to my son practice the guitar while I am typing and as I consider the things I can and cannot do myself... I would say there is a lot of truth to the idea because to get good you need to invest lots of time and to make mistakes and lots of time to expose yourself to new methods and lots of time just to carve out those brain grooves that will let you do the thing more automatically down the road. 

On the other hand as I work out in the mornings I have been finally listening to Tim Ferris 4 Hour Workweek and ironically I could not find the time when it first came out. 

Says Tim the reason we have to put in so much time is because so many of us do not use and invest that time well and there is a lot of truth to this idea too. 

Years back somebody maybe a friend who is himself a bit of an efficiency expert talked about a great jazz guitar player. 

Nobody could match this guys rhythms and somebody asked him...  

Deliberate Practice

"How did you learn to play so well with such speed on the fret board... what is your secret?"

And he replied... 

"By playing it slow first." 

In other words he used what is called deliberate practice. 

As in going so slowly through anything you are trying to learn as it gives your brain lots of time to etch it on the necessary neurons and pair this with another favorite Ferris suggestion which he borrowed from Italy and oft repeated... 

The Pareto Principle or what is known as the 80... 20 Rule... it is also sometimes called the Law of the Vital Few

What it means is that 80% of what you are doing probably will not amount to a hill of beans and the 20% remaining will grow a stalk that gets you to the Golden Goose and beyond so figure out what that 20% is... shine your beaming light there and only there and wow you are rolling or so says well... just about everybody.

As a coach and writer and as someone who runs his own business... as anybody trying to do anything this makes a lot of sense... especially when paired with the idea of deliberate practice

Imagine what you could do throwing that kind of laser light on the absolute most productive thing you do and it might not erase the need for all 10000 hours of experience... nor can even Ferris guarantee it will cut your workweek down to everything done before lunch on Monday... yet it could certainly help make a lot more of the invested time allotted.

But wait you say... you said this was about goals... specifically about why goals alone will not work. 

Indeed I did. 

If only I would set a goal for what this was supposed to be about... oh wait I did I think. 

Hmm... anyway one last bit and this one gets to the heart of the issue... plus it comes from a source that is all about getting things done... Entrepreneur Magazine. 

They caution...

"Forget goals and focus on This Instead." 

By this they do not mean eating ice cream or drinking better Bordeaux unfortunately. 

Rather says the source... wait before I tell you what works let me tell you why they say goal setting might NOT be all it is cracked up to be. 

Goals they say actually reduce happiness

Poppycock you say sounding like someones great grandmother. 

Goals make you feel purposeful and great... well yes unless you are using the... 

"I won't be happy until I get there." 

Theory of success. 

Goals can also hamstring long term results... how so you ask? 

Entrepreneur uses the example of the marathon runner. 

Once he or she has run the race... why keep running when the goal is attained? 

If you have ever lost pounds on a diet... only to gain them back after gorging yourself to celebrate... you know what I mean and they continue to say... what is more goals can give you a delusional sense of control.

To my way of thinking is that is once you set a goal it is hard to get it out of your head and that is great... it is how goals are supposed to work... right.

Except sometimes a goal may no longer fit the original context you set it in... which is true... if you are so dead set on building a better mouse trap... you might not notice there are no longer any mice to catch... right?

Better says James Clear the expert behind the article in the Entrepreneur Magazine... is to focus instead on systems

Your system is ordinarily what you think of when you break a goal down into daily steps... it is what you do in short to get there. 

Only says James... you might do better just backing your way down to the best daily process and forget about the overarching goal and I am not sure I am completely sold on that... your goal is the target you are aiming for to acquire and checking in on the goal every few weeks or months is a good thing to do to measure your progress to acquiring your target goal and there is huge support and consensus all over the place and across time even going back to Aristotle if not further that... process like the habits of virtue the Philosopher called it... is the real secret sauce for greatness by doing well day by day and the big picture will take care of itself.

By way of example... 

Goals Or Resolutions

Let us see how this might apply to the top three New Years resolutions which most people make for themselves as I listed them for you here... 

1... Lose Weight. 

Yep we have all heard that one and most of us have uttered it. 

When we get serious we might say... 

"By March 15 I will have dropped at least 15 lbs." 

Maybe even with a culpability clause such as.. 

"Or I will have to cut off my head just to make the target weight."

Yes yours truly has lost a lot of poundage... how? 

By calorie counting and regular morning workouts the pounds seemed to melt themselves. 

I want to be in great shape and looking good... I mean I have to be the example for my clients!

2... Get Organized.

I used to be this guy. 

Folders... filing... tags and a system of organization so good even I could not follow it. 

And guess what... these days search is so powerful and so much is digital you really could dump most things into a single folder and let search find it for you by keyword. 

That is what I now do and saved myself a ton of time to invest elsewhere.

I also used to try to organize and re file all my email... I still have the folders in fact where they land and anybody can tell you if you have ever sent me an email message or I have ever sent you one I can find it fast. 

And again I let the system do the work... I invested an hour of my time to set up my email accounts properly to select and sort hundreds of emails at once via keystroke... it takes less than two seconds to pull and trash every piece of spam or news aggregator email that I have no time to read. 

Other key emails remain unscathed. 

3... Spend Less And Invest More.

All these goals of course and the remaining ones in the list of top 10 resolutions suffer from lack of specificity

That is the chronic flaw I promised to name for you and again the way to get specific with each of these is to find the system that supports the goal. 

And then says James above go ahead and toss the goal because if the system is right you will get where you are headed. 

Yet I still say you need to point your headlights SOMEWHERE when driving and there needs to be an end point to the journey... other wise what is the purpose of the journey?

You just as well stay at home.

Although I totally agree with making the systems you use to acquire the goal as efficient as possible... as time is after all you most precious asset and irreplaceable once used.

The process for spend less... invest more for instance is also easy in this digital age almost any bank account can be set up to make auto transfers. 

So do the max to waste less time on being busy so you can invest more time being productive on the things that will benefit you and your life... even without a goal in mind that is a good idea.

We could go on with these all night and I better give you the coach connection so as not to be derelict to our main mission and I am sure you see it already... the good coach like any other good planner of his own productivity starts with a goal in mind and has a process and structure to follow that will get him there which... wait I have forgotten what I meant to say. 

How about we put that part of this piece off until next time... now where did I put that article about procrastination?

Spoiler Alert... you know what is coming next for personal development... smiles.

Have you any thoughts or comments you would like to share with me on what I have written?

I would love to hear from you.

Thank you and may you enjoy a Loving... Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

Dynamic Lifer... The Tribe of Dynamic Lifers

1... A person with a penchant for Science... creativity... books... writing... communication... fitness... women... sexing... sexuality... human relationships... psychology... physiology and any other area involving heavy use of the Intellect.

2... A bright person and glamorously Intelligent!

3... Ange is an Author... Speaker and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist... Sexologist and Multipreneur... who works with those men and women who desire to personally develop themselves and their relationships to become Dynamic Lifers... creators of their own life... relationships and wealth! 

4... If you are Happy and you Know it... you are becoming a Dynamic Lifer!

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