Goal setting is a bit like being at a bustling party.
Everyone’s doing it, and you feel the urge to join in.
So, you toss around a few ideas and land on one that seems universally appealing: “Let’s get healthier.”
It’s a noble pursuit, no doubt. But there’s a snag.
This goal is as vague as a misty mountain valley at dawn, where everything is shrouded in a veil of fog.
Ever wondered why you set such an ambiguous goal?
Let’s delve into that, but first, let’s glance at a few examples of common goals.
Common Goals: As Plain as a Bowl of Rice
Sound familiar? These goals are as plain as a bowl of rice, aren’t they?
We might share similar goals, but we’re all at different stages of our lives.
The specifics of our goals are what set us apart. They transform our goals from abstract concepts into concrete targets.
That’s why the specifics truly matter.
The Magic of Specific Goals
If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, getting healthier might mean losing 40 pounds in six months.
Want to get out of debt?
Be more specific, like aiming to pay off $15K by year’s end.
Dreaming of a more fulfilling job?
You probably have an ideal job title in mind for this time next year.
Setting a specific goal is like drawing a detailed map for a journey. It helps us create a daily action plan, measure performance, and track progress.
But why do we often set vague and foggy goals?
Let’s explore three reasons why you might shy away from setting a specific goal.
1. The Fear of Failure: A Roadblock to Specific Goals
Here’s a comforting thought: If you don’t set a specific goal, you can’t fail.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
But there’s a catch.
Without a specific goal to strive for, you can never truly succeed.
You remain stuck in the same place.
Consider this: you decide to lose 40 pounds in 6 months. That’s a specific goal.
You create a roadmap and a daily plan, like running for half an hour six days a week.
Worst case scenario, you don’t lose the full 40 pounds by the end of six months. But you’re still in a far better place than if you had stayed put.
2. The Comfort Zone Conundrum: Laziness vs. Specific Goals
Our conscious mind recognises that setting a specific goal means stepping out of our comfort zone.
It requires hard work and discipline.
But let’s face it, we humans are fundamentally a bit lazy.
By not setting a specific goal, we give ourselves a free pass to take it easy and coast along.
You guessed it.
We stay in the same comfortable place.
But ask yourself this: fast forward 30 years with no change, would you still consider yourself in the same place?
Probably not, right?
3. The Battle of Beliefs: Overcoming Self-Doubt
Sometimes, you can’t set a specific goal because deep down, you don’t believe you can achieve it.
By not setting a specific goal, you feed into this false belief, allowing it to triumph.
This false belief becomes a barrier between you and your potential achievements, the person you could become.
You find yourself trapped in a self-created loop of limiting beliefs, spiralling downwards.
But consider this: if you aspire to land your dream job in 12 months and truly believe you can, you’ll set a specific goal.
Maybe it’s updating your CV and sending it out once a week while honing your skills for potential job offers.
However, if you let your false belief take the reins, you’ll be too scared to even send out your CV.
You’ll spend your days daydreaming about your dream job without taking any action.
Final Thoughts: The Journey to a Meaningful Life
In the past, I’ve made the mistake of setting vague goals.
I learned the hard way that unless we set specific goals and actively pursue them, we can’t lead a meaningful life.
Every one of us has a choice.
We can either stay in the same place (and eventually move backwards) or gradually move forward by following a well-laid-out roadmap.
Choose to move forward.
Live a meaningful life each day by setting specific goals and relentlessly pursuing them. That’s how to set a goal and achieve it.
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