We need to completely revamp our thinking on goal setting.
There are about a million quotes on goals. “A goal without a deadline is a dream.” “Goals have to be SMART.” “Without goals you lose your way.”
Wah, wah, wah.
Goals are meant to feel good. Shoot – who would set them if they didn’t? The problem is the feel good part has to be balanced with the feel bad part which is the task that supports the goal.
Example: Someone sets a goal of fitting into a certain size clothing before a high school reunion. That feels good.
It requires a 35 lb weight loss. Who really wants to lose 35 lbs? No one. It takes work and effort and sustained discipline.
Example: A company sets a goal of increasing sales from $4 million to $6 million. That feels good.
It requires a very delicate balancing act to make sure the cash flow doesn’t dry up as new employees are hired to support the increased sales.
No, it’s not the goals that we fail at. It’s the tasks that get us to the goals that trip us up. They’re not fun and they require long term gratification skills that, as a society, do not excite us.
So I say let’s teach task setting. It’s not as dreamy but it sure is more valuable.