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5 Goal-Setting Myths That Are Busted Once and for All

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goal setting myths

Brian Tracy said it a long time ago “People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” Today, it’s scientifically proven that people with goals are more successful.  

Why? Because, setting goals will drive you to take action. Having clearly defined goals is like having a GPS System leading the way. But to be led, first you have to know where you want to go. And let’s be honest the vast majority of us don’t have even the slightest idea of where to start to make our dreams come true.

If you decide to join the 3% to 5% of people who set daily, weekly and quarterly goals, take it one step at a time and remain flexible, then over time, you can achieve things that you couldn’t even imagine before.

Lets start by busting 5 goal-setting myths:

1. Your goals have to be S.M.A.R.T.

Not true. It might be better to have smart goals, but simply having goals and writing them down already sets you apart from around 97% of people who don’t have them. My first goal which was starting my whole process about five years ago was to read more. Not a smart goal because it was not specific, measurable, or time-bound, but enough for a start. I went from not reading any books in five years to reading one book per week.

My five-year goal was “Write a book.” Again not a smart goal, but 4 1/2 years later I’m a bestselling author with more than 180,000 sales and downloads on Amazon, my books have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Indonesian, etc. and I’m currently working on my seventh book. This is proof your goals don’t have to be SMART.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

2. You have to set realistic goals

What is realistic? If I had told people a couple of years ago: “In two years I’m going to be a bestselling author, I’m going to be on TV, radio, and my books will be read around the world”, chances are I’d rather have ended up in a madhouse than on the Amazon Bestseller list.

So it depends. If you tend to beat yourself up for not reaching your goals, then I would advise you to set smaller, more realistic goals. For example, if you set the goal of earning $100,000 USD a year and end up earning $97,000 USD and then beat yourself up feeling like a failure, I recommend you to set small, realistic goals.

If you are like me and always celebrate how far you have come even if you didn’t reach your goals, then set huge unrealistic goals. You want to earn $150,000 USD a year? Great, but if you only get to $50,000 USD in the first year, celebrate it. It’s better than $40,000. Analyze what went wrong, make a new plan and go for the $150,000 USD next year.

3. You have to reach all your goals

Actually, you don’t. I dare to bet that if you reach 50% of the goals you set, your life will be so much better, than not setting goals at all. Again, this depends on your personality. If you are a perfectionist, you might want to learn this kind of approach. In the last two years, I have only reached 40-50% of my goals, but it was by far the two best years of my life. I celebrated the goals I reached, and the goals I didn’t reach were discarded or turned into new goals for next year.

4. Reaching your goals will make you happier

Again, not true. Reaching your goals will not make you happier. It will only give you temporary highs before you go back to your base-level of happiness and set new goals. Goals properly understood will make you happier. It’s not the attaining of the goal that leads to happiness, it’s the having of the goal that leads to happiness. The role of your goals is to liberate us to enjoy the present.

If you go on a road trip and don’t know where to go or don’t have a destination, you are less likely to enjoy the present moment because every minute you have to look around. Every crossroads or turn you reach becomes an important decision. This is stressful. If you know where you are going, you have a sense of direction. You will feel liberated.

You are much more likely to enjoy the process, the environment, the landscape or the proverbial “flowers on the side of the way.” Not only that, if you have a clear sense of direction, you are much more likely to be happy. We need a goal for future orientation so that we can enjoy the present more

5. Having goals will make your more successful

Although science has shown that people who set goals are generally more successful, because they are more focused, having goals will not make you more successful. Many have people have goals and dreams and never reach them. They might even have written them down and try to use the “Law of Attraction” to reach their goals.

There is only one problem, nobody reaches their goals sitting on the sofa and imagining good things to happen. The most important ingredient is missing: TAKING ACTION. Having goals and working your butt off to reach them will make you more successful.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

I meet many people that have no goals and are happy. That’s totally okay. There is a time for everything. If you don’t have goals and are happy…keep on not having goals. No need to change what’s working, you will know when the time comes. Just listen very closely to the “I don’t need goals. I’m happy without goals” voice because comfort and fear talk the same talk.

Keep in mind that if you want to have an even better life, go set some goals, write them down and start working on them. It will be worth it.

I’m Marc Reklau. Four years ago I was unemployed, today more than 200,000 people read my books. I've gone from being jobless to becoming an international bestselling author. How? Habits. Changing my habits I changed my life. When I started doing simple exercises over a period of time everything changed. I write about habits, happiness, and productivity. Join me at www.goodhabitsacademy.com and Marc Reklau on Facebook.

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