In my post Do you have a dream? I admitted that whilst believing goals are necessary for most of my adult life, I’ve been pretty poor at setting and using them. In one of my favourite books, A Touch of Greatness, Frank Tibolt describes goal setting as “the greatest of all success techniques“, but used by less than 10% of the population.
So why don’t people set goals:-
Not heard of them
Think they don’t need them
Want to live for the day
Think goals are stressful
Think it’s only for high fliers
Fear of failure
Don’t recognize the value
Not know how
Fear of success
Don’t feel worthy
Don’t want to be answerable to anyone
Don’t know the benefit of goals
Need others approval
I think the main reasons can be summarized as “don’t know”. Most people don’t know how to set goals, or how important and powerful they can be. Added to that, others simply don’t know what they want.
In the past I’ve described how I had arrived at my current career position more by chance rather than good planning and goal setting. Am I just lucky or does goal setting only really work for some people? Does it suit people in target driven businesses or who are in selling? Does the reason many don’t use clear goals is because it hard in this day and age to formulate a clear vision of where you want to be in, say, five years time?
What has always put me off goal setting and doubt all the worthy authors I was reading, was the way the organizations I’ve worked for have basically abused goal setting. Annual performance reviews, or appraisals, were rounded off with the ritual of setting objectives (goals) for the year ahead. These were invariably generated by the manager, rather than employee. Worst of all, these goals were never looked at again until the following years review!
To be effective, goals have to be alive, things that inspire and drive you. Trying to force yourself to do goals you don’t want to do won’t work. Tibolt was convinced that
“the chief benefit of education is to help you find a worthy goal, vision or purpose in life, to give life meaning and to drive and draw you to success.”
Finding a “worth goal” shouldn’t be hard, but somehow we seem to make it so.