Why Setting Goals Doesn’t Work and What Does Work

Today, let’s talk about setting goals for your life and your business. This article will not be one of a thousand puff pieces making the internet rounds. Instead of taking the usual approach, “Hoorah, I’m going to cheer you on, because you’re so great…”

I’m going to call you out about everything you’re not great at, because I think you need to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable —  one of the best skills you can have is the ability to tell yourself the truth.

How has goal setting worked out for you so far?

So, let’s make a quick revisit to last year. I want you to evaluate where you were then and where you are now. Be honest here. No one can see you, no one can hear you right now.

Are you in the same place?

Are you in the same exact place that you were last year? Why?

Are you thinking, Oh, I didn’t have enough time to do this, I was busy because I had a family and a job. I didn’t have enough money to do anything about my goals. I didn’t have… Shut Up! Shut Up! SHUT UP!

Why setting goals doesn’t work!

Newsflash, you’ll never have enough time to accomplish everything that you want to. You will never have enough money to realize all of the dreams that you “want.”

You will never have enough resources, because humans work based on progression, we find happiness in progression. For example, when I didn’t have enough money to make my bank account a $0 balance, all I wanted in life was enough money to not be in over-draft.

After that, I went from having enough money to keep a $0 balance, to wanting a couple of hundred bucks in my account so I could buy drinks for my friends.

Then I just wanted to be able to pay my rent, then have an office, a couple of offices, my own place, etc., etc., etc.

Our brains are engineered to always be in that mindset. Really. I’m sure you have some similar situations in your own life.

The un-goal approach

Remember the old 7-up commercials positioning the soda as the “un-cola”? Well, today, I want to give you some un-goal setting advice to make sure that you have a good year.

You can accept this or not, but I suspect your goals sound something like this: I want to make more money, I want to be in better shape, I want to have more love in my life…

Hate to break it you, my friend, but these are nothin’ new. Everyone wants essentially the same things in life. You’re not unique.

You want to spend life in prison? You want to become a raging meth addict? Of course not. So the fact is, you’re not looking for things in life that others aren’t already looking for, right? We essentially all want the same thing — a better, more fulfilling life. So, what’s the difference? Why do other people have those things and you don’t?

The difference is in what you’re willing to do and what you’re willing to sacrifice to actually make those things happen.

Your un-goal setting assignment

So, right now, I’m going to give you an assignment. I’m going to give you homework, something to actually do (instead of just wish for).

Instead of writing out your goals, and promising that this year you’re going to have this or do that…

I want you to make one list, and on this list, instead of writing down your goals, I want you to write down everything you’re committed to sacrificing to reach your goals.

So, a typical goal might sound something like this: In 2016, I’m going to increase my income, and we’re going to do more sales and… No, no, no! Shut Up, Shut Up! SHUT UP!

It needs to sound like this: In 2016. I’m going to opt out of my Wednesday nights out with the girls, and I’m going to allocate that time to growing my business. This year, I spent a lot of time at the wine bar, I’m going to stop now. Sacrifice right now.

Or maybe your list will look more like this, Hey, right now, I’m committing to myself that I’m going to sacrifice, binge watching TV shows on Netflix and Hulu.

Whatever shows you watch, House of Cards or The Bachelor (I like that show) or whatever, write it down, right now, because it is sucking your life away. It’s sucking your time and it’s stopping you from getting where you want to go! It’s stopping you!

So, right now, tell yourself, I am committed to sacrificing these shows because I’d rather use that time to spend fixing my relationship with my boyfriend, or my husband, and maybe I’m going to do something nice and cute for them.

Time to get gut honest about setting goals

The point is, instead of making a list of goals, your list needs to be what you’re willing to sacrifice to reach those goals. That’s what you should be writing down!

Be honest with yourself about this. Maybe you’re not willing to give up the trip to Europe this summer. Maybe you don’t want to work that much. That’s OK, you just need to be honest about it though. You’re either willing to sacrifice those things, or you’re not! There is no right or wrong answer, here. Only what will (or won’t) move you closer to accomplishing your dreams.

It doesn’t make you a better person for wanting to go on a trip or a better person for wanting to use that time to work on your life and your business.

However, if you don’t make a conscious decision to make some sacrifices, you will not make any progress. How many Olympic athletes do you think spend hours at a time stuck to the television, binge-watching The Kardashians?

So, what will you choose?

Will you be watching me talking to you next year, about making the same decision, because you’re still stuck in the same place? Remember, it’s not about what you want, we all want the same things, it’s about what you’re willing to sacrifice.

So today, it’s time to sit down and take 15 minutes away from your favorite show and just write down what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to obtain what you want from life.

Keep that top of mind. Put it in writing, put in on the background of your phone, and every time you’re faced with that challenge, read it. Read the commitment you made to yourself.

Now, do you think your future is worth that much? Do you think your limited time on this earth is valuable enough to live fully and freely?

Then quit short-changing yourself! You can have so much more if you’ll set your mind to it.

Do that, then you tell me next year if you haven’t had dramatic progression. If not, I’ll buy you a Starbucks coffee. Ok?

So, again, if there is anything I can say to take away with you, it’s sacrifice.

The issue is not about what you want, we all want the same thing. We’re all human beings, we have the same basic needs. What are you willing to sacrifice to get those things? That’s the difference between succeeding and failing.

Has this changed your way of setting goals? What will you do differently, this time? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook!

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-The Billy Gene Is Marketing Squad