Goal setting doesn’t work

Goal setting in the simplest form, such as those done for New Years resolutions does not work.  I can’t tell you the countless times I have heard clients, or gym patrons say:
 “This year is a new year, this year is going to be better than the last! I am going to lose 30kg and start exercising every day. “ 
It’s been said before and it’s highly predictable. New Years night after a few drinks you will promise yourself, that tonight will be your last night as a fat person. Just after you down another wine and eat another chip, the clock strikes 12 mid night, .another fruitless goal set, only to be broken the very next day.
What is going on here? Are humans incapable of  achieving goals? Certainly not, we see people achieve great things and be successful in all spectrums of life, all the time.
The difference between someone who is successful and those that are not is, that primarily their goal is well thought out and usually not set on New Years night!
Setting goals at the start of the year, may be setting high expectations of yourself. The expectation that you have to turn your whole life around overnight is daunting and doomed for failure. A goal needs to be planned for and well thought out. You need to create smaller actionable steps, to make sure your big goal gets achieved due to planned action steps.

 Action steps are: steps that prelude doing the goal itself.

In other words; You need to break things down. For example if your goal is to start exercising by riding your bike to work every day, you need to organise sneakers, a bike and plan the safest route to work and when you’re going to get up in the morning.
Thats a lot of thinking and planning before you have even started. Pre- planning needs to take place to make achieving the goal easier for you. Without thinking about these small things, you make it extremely difficult to do anything.
The problem with going ahead with a goal without preparing for it first, is that you fail. Failure in turn, depletes your self belief, You start to believe that you can never achieve that goal. Maybe you can resonate with this?
Imagine a weight loss goal you never achieve, soon enough you will start believing that it’s too hard or your incapable of losing weight at all. Eventually you will give up trying.
Other things you may want to also think about is;
  • What might go wrong?
  • What will you do if plan A fails?
  • What might stop me from achieving this?
  • Can I afford this?
  • Who will try to bring me down?
For example what will you do, if you plan eat a healthy meal every night (plan A) and your friend comes over for dinner with pizza and treats for dessert. Whats your plan B? How are you going to avoid or manage that?
I know this is all hypothetical, but life is often like that. We have good intentions, great goals but life gets in the way. You need to account for life and have strategies to over come these situations.
Watch out as the New Year passes us by, you’re going to see a lot of “New year, New you” magazine articles, personal trainers blogs, newspaper features and TV ad commercials. Set smart goals etc etc…
Don’t get swept up in the hype of the start of the New Year. Think about your goals, plan them out, take your time and set a realistic time frame to start. After all the New Year really just means you have to buy a new calendar, it doesn’t mean you have to be a whole new person.

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