Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Problem with Goal Setting
Goal setting has always been a problem for me. In trying to overcome this problem, I have read and reread books such as Psycho Cybernetics, Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big, Awaken the Giant Within and many more. I have listened to coaches and trainers guide me through goal setting sessions but the strategies have never actually stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I have accomplished many things in my life and in my business, but not one of my accomplishments will I attribute to the kind of goal setting that I have read and learned about.
My problem with traditional goal setting is that after a few days the enthusiasm fades and the goal sheet ends up in a bedside table. I realize that I lose focus and I forget what I want and how badly I want it. I will set a goal for a new car and then I will get distracted and stop working towards earning more money. This being the end of the year I have an instinct that I must set goals and move towards accomplishing them. I do not want to repeat what I have done in previous years and read my goals for a couple of weeks and then put them away and forget about them. I want to set goals and follow through the entire year so I can look back at the end of the year and be proud of myself. I have learned a principle that I think will help.
1. Dissatisfaction is my greatest ally and will get me into action.
Today I want to talk about how I plan on setting my goals. One night about a week ago I was laying in bed thinking about goal setting. It occurred to me that dissatisfaction is caused by comparing ourselves to the ideal. In other words, I feel bad when I think of the best basketball player or chess player or Realtor because I know that I am capable but I am not making my best effort to achieve those end results. Dissatisfaction grows when we compare to the ideal; the Ideal Realtor or the Ideal Father, etc. An interesting thing happens in our brain when we are uncomfortable. We either look at the thing that is making us uncomfortable and attack it to eliminate the discomfort or we look away. What determines which response we have? We take action when we feel that we can control and eliminate the discomfort. We avoid and ignore dealing with the subject when we do not have faith in our ability to overcome the obstacle. For too long I have been avoiding doing the things that will make me happy because of some perceived pain or lack of control. This is generally referred to as a “victim mentality.” It is an unspoken belief that forces such as the weather, traffic circumstances or other external factors are acting on me. I then realized that I already have the ideal picture in my head of who I am and what an Ideal Realtor looks like. As I came to grips with this concept of understanding the Ideal I decided to focus on it and quantify it.
The Ideal Realtor:
Presentation Practice Habit
Systems for marketing
Client Care Systems
Lead Generation systems
Lead Follow up systems
SOI Growing systems
I noticed that as I focused on the ideal the words came out almost too fast to write down. We already have the ideal image in our head of who we can become. We already know the components that make up this Ideal person. But we have created a scotoma that helps us avoid looking at our Ideal. There are many other characteristics and habits that can be added to quantify the Ideal Realtor. And every one of the systems has more detail that can be added.
One of the things I have learned from all of my reading and studying is that clarity is power. The more clarity I have about a specific system or process the easier it is for me to implement and to remember. A collateral benefit to adding clarity to the ideal is that it intensifies my dissatisfaction with my current state. Intense dissatisfaction is what makes me take action.
It then occurred to me that I could have intense dissatisfaction about many different situations. What does my ideal kitchen look like? What does my ideal healthy state include? How about an ideal relationship? Is it possible that I could create an ideal state of cleanliness that forces me to take action and finally clean out the garage?
My goal setting, therefore, is to verbalize and quantify the ideal pictures that I already have in my head adding detail and clarity so that I am motivated every time I read them to take immediate action.