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WHY PEOPLE DON’T SET GOALS

As we head into the last quarter of the year, businesses, organizations and governments are starting to think about their plans for 2002. Although it may seem a bit early to start thinking about next year, highly successful individuals have also started this planning process. In the coming weeks, I request that you begin to think about what 2002 might look like in order to be your best year ever. We started our series with The Power of Written Goals, and upcoming articles between now and the end of the year will continue to support you in this process.

After reading the article about the importance of having goals, did you create your own list of written goals? Given that goal setting is a common trait of highly successful people, do you now have your own “roadmap to success”?

If you don’t, then you’re not alone. In fact, as I stated last time, less than 3% of the population has a written set of goals, and less than 1% reviews their goals on a regular basis. Why is this, given the strong correlation between goal setting and success?

Here are several reasons that people don’t set goals:

  1. They don’t realize the importance of goals. Few people think of goal setting as a skill set that can help them achieve success in their lives. Because so few people set goals, many people don’t typically come in contact with people who do. The people around them don’t set goals, so they don’t set goals either. \
  2. They have not yet accepted responsibility for their lives. It’s easy to blame circumstances, or other people, for what happens to us. If people are making excuses and blaming others, than they are not holding themselves accountable. Without the acceptance of responsibility, goal setting would be in vain, anyway.
  3. They don’t know how. Goal setting is a very important skill, and yet you won’t find even a single class in school or college on the subject. Consequently, people end up with an education that is missing one of the key ingredients of success. (As an aside, notice how we aren’t taught personal finance, either?) Consequently, even people who desire a greater level of success in their lives do not have written goals.
  4. Fear of failure. Fear of failure is the biggest single obstacle to success. Rather than viewing “temporary setbacks” as a necessary part of succeeding, we attach a negative connotation to failure. Because most people view failure as painful, and undesirable, they avoid it at all costs, even if it means giving up on their dreams. Over time, they rationalize their inaction by settling into their comfort zones.
  5. Fear of success. This fear is rooted in the belief that success (primarily material success) is bad, or undesirable because of the high cost attached to it. People who are afraid of success imagine all kinds of ways in which life would change, and are averse to the risk of such changes occurring. Interesting enough, the mere perception of those kinds of changes keeps many people from pursuing their dreams.

What’s stopping you from setting goals, and from pursuing the life of your dreams? Please contact me, and share your response. I look forward to hearing from you, and to supporting you in making 2002 your best year ever!


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