The Case Against Goals – Part 2

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In The Case Against Goals series, we are dealing with the same question others have pondered and answered. Remember the question?

Why do some people achieve their goals, while others flounder in procrastination, self-doubt, and fear?

‘But, Jim!’ you may say, ‘you already said that PJ McClure and Noah St. John have already very capably answered that question.’ True enough; they’ve already asked and answered that question… in context.

We can now know, through their work, and the work of many others who’ve studied high achievers, what is uniquely different about the people who achieve their goals; how they think differently and behave differently from everyone else.

So, here’s my twist on it: on one particular day, I decided to attack the very premise of the question; namely that goals are even a good idea in the first place. Can it be proven that high achievers accomplish more than others specifically because they are goal-setters? (I don’t think so.) If not, do goals even play a serious role in their success? (I don’t think so.) And if goals don’t really play a serious role in the success of high achievers, isn’t it not only possible, but likely that those people are high achievers in spite of their goal-setting ways? I think so.

Think about that. What if goals are part of what keeps high achievers from achieving even more, and a roadblock that keeps others in an overwhelming state frustration? How ironic it would be if we were to discover that goals have been part of the problem, actually keeping many from being successful, rather than part of the solution that we’ve always assumed it to be!

That’s what gave rise to the research, the blogging, the (unscientific) Q&A I’ve conducted on Facebook, etc., and eventually the book (by the same title as this series) that I’m working on. But here’s an interesting thing: as I went about researching this topic, I discovered an interesting dichotomy.

Go online and you will find what I found: for every book that promotes goals, there’s an article that calls into question their efficacy. For every argument that advances the notion that goals are a good thing, you can find a well-thought-out rebuttal.

However, where are the books on the topic? An interesting dichotomy to say the least. If goals really aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and, according to some, sometimes even do more harm than good, why aren’t there any books that make the case against goals and that make the case in favor of something better?

Well, I’m working on that. In the meantime, we’ll meet here at the Obstacle Blaster blog to discuss this and hash it out. In these articles you will not just see the Case Against Goals. Here you’ll read the manifesto for something better. Much better.

Among the obvious reasons goals are a bad idea: it associates achievement in life with something that involves a net, everything on the field of play stops when it happens, and half the people on the field are unhappy with what you’ve done.

Together, in the articles that follow, we will work through …

  • An alternative to goals that will help you achieve what you want to achieve at your own pace, not according to some arbitrary timeline (and a way to pick up the pace!)
  • An alternative to goals that will not injure your self esteem if you find you’re falling short
  • An alternative to goals that gives you a sense that the sky is the limit and that accomplishing this [fill in the blank “XYZ Goal”] is, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal
  • Never again feeling guilty about not achieving what you say you want to achieve
  • The most powerful way to give yourself permission to accomplish far more than you ever thought possible

Fair enough? 

So, as we move forward (I know this is not a ground-breaking new concept, but…), please be thinking about the power of words; those that you speak and those that you agree with one way or the other.

Words really do produce mental movies.  You really are the director. Please do not allow your mind to speak the language of words that provoke negative imagery full of limitations, boundaries, and obstacles.

It’s a choice. Your choice. You can choose to instruct your subconscious to take your behaviors –and then your life – in a direction that will begin to produce much better results for you.

This series reflects my belief that goals and goal setting have come to be used as the crutch of choice for people who’ve put too many obstacles in their own way… in addition to those that were put there by life.

A better mindset, a better mental vocabulary, believing better things; in a few words, that’s the way you’ll be able to throw the crutch away.

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