8 Myths About Goals That You Need to Stop Believing Now
There is no shortage of dissenting information on goals. Many people question the value of goal-setting. Some believe goals don’t work. Others think that if you define a goal, you define your own limitation.
None of that is true. But, there is one rudimentary belief that should be understood: It is always easy to make goals. It’s meeting them that requires work.
Goals are not the issue. It is the way we view the process. Whether we call it a goal, an aim, or an intent, it boils down to having a desire that we want to manifest into reality. Goals help us clarify our purpose and point us in the right direction. If we, however, believe that process is rigid and set in stone, we will not get our best outcome.
Here are eight misconceptions that left unchecked can rob us of happiness and success. They may make you feel like a failure before you get started.
MYTH # 1: “I HAVE TO KNOW WHERE I WANT TO BE IN 5 YEARS BEFORE I CAN SET GOALS.”
No, you don’t. Life can change tremendously in five years. Create goals that make sense for you today. Don’t be afraid to start out on your journey and see where life takes you. As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
MYTH # 2: “I HAVE TO SET ONLY REALISTIC GOALS.”
Go ahead, dream big. Most of us have big dreams swirling around in our mind that seem nearly impossible to make a reality. If you have ever gone mountain climbing, it can seem almost insurmountable when you are standing at the foot of that mountain. It is easy to feel intimidated at the climb that lies ahead of you. Goals come in all shapes and sizes. It is a good idea to set small goals and large ones. If you are going to be brave enough to dream big, be brave enough to redefine so-called failure. One of the
reasons we set safe goals is because we are fearful of falling short. You can’t always play it safe.
MYTH # 3: “ONCE I START ON A GOAL, I CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND.”
Nonsense. At one time, I was sure I was going to earn my PhD. I started classes and as much as I love the learning process, I figured out that it was not what I wanted to accomplish in the here and now. So, I stopped. If a goal does not work for you, deserting it will not make you a failure or a quitter. It may mean that you have figured out what is more important. The goal process is an evolving process, never a static one.
MYTH # 4: “I FAILED BECAUSE I DIDN’T MEET MY INTENDED GOAL.”
You didn’t fail because you missed the mark, but you must analyze why you missed your target. It is the only way you will know if you were working on the right goal in the right manner. If you decide to continue with this goal, then you must improve your process. Something was not working. Don’t forget to recognize the progress that you have made. If you measure what you have gained, then you have already won. The only true failure is not trying at all.
MYTH # 5: “IT’S ALL ABOUT GETTING TO THE BIG FINISH.”
The biggest misconception about goals is that the work you do is solely focused on meeting that one end goal. Goals, particularly big ones, should transform you. I can’t tell you that your journey will be Zen-like, because sometimes the journey is harsh. However, the process will teach you much about life and yourself. The more you know about yourself, the better prepared you are for the future. You should always feel like a different person when you finish the goal than when you started. That’s where true growth resides.
MYTH #6: “ONCE I ACHIEVE MY GOAL, LIFE WILL BE PERFECT.”
Maybe it will. Or, maybe it won’t. What if the change you were looking for was not what it was cracked up to be? Sure, achieving goals will change your life, but sometimes it is not what we envisioned. It’s okay to admit that it doesn’t feel like what you thought it would.
MYTH #7: “SOMETHING IS WRONG BECAUSE IT’S TAKING TOO LONG TO COMPLETE.”
Some goals take years to finish and you may feel as if you aren’t making much progress. It’s always crucial to pause and take stock of what you’ve accomplished on a regular basis. You may need to set smaller goals, celebrate those successes, and reflect on what you need to do to keep moving forward. Goals are never set in stone, so don’t be afraid to amend them if you need to do that.
MYTH # 8: “I ONLY NEED MOTIVATION.”
You can’t light a fire with a wet match. You need to have some catalyst for ignition before the fire burns. You must have some spark. It’s the same with goals. You need something to get you going. It’s hard to meet goals without the proper motivation but it’s not impossible. Motivation is that peripheral force that pushes you and gives you the kick-in- the-pants you need. But, then there is inspiration. Motivation is what gives you an incentive for action but inspiration, ah, inspiration breathes life into it. Inspiration is that inner drive that keeps you moving. Inspiration churns in your soul. It’s thirst on fire. It arouses your thinking and heightens creativity. When you’re inspired, you don’t need something or someone to get you moving. You do it because it’s what you want, not because you were forced into it.
Goal setting is fundamentally an exploratory process and one of personal growth. Prepare to take a detour, make shifts, and re-evaluate along the way. If your original goals no longer make sense for you, take the time to reconsider and make course corrections. Work on what matters. Work on what adds value. You’ll then be less likely to be in conflict with yourself.
This article was written by Jan Johnston Osburn, a Certified Career Coach and Organizational Consultant. Her organizational specialties are Talent Acquisition, Training, and Leadership Development. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Buckingham, UK, and has certifications in Executive Coaching and Advanced Social Media. Her website is www.JanJohnstonOsburn.Com.
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