Becoming an expert at goal setting and goal achieving is something that you absolutely must do if you wish to fulfill your potential as a human being. Goals enable you to do the work you want to do, to live where you want to live, to be with the people you enjoy, and to become the kind of person you want to be. Yet, according to the best research, less than 3% of Americans have written goals, and less than 1% review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. Why do so few people set goals?
I think there are five basic reasons.
1. They are simply not serious. Whenever I speak with a man or woman who has achieved something remarkable, I learn that the achievement occurred after that person decided to “get serious.” In other words, until you become completely serious and determined about your goals, nothing really happens.
2. They don’t understand the importance of goals. We find that young men and women who begin setting goals very early in life invariably come from families in which the importance of goals is emphasized.
3. They don’t know how to do it. One of the greatest tragedies of our educational system is that you can receive 15 to 18 years of education and never once receive a single hour of instruction on how to set goals.
4. Fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is caused by destructive criticism in early childhood and is manifested, in adulthood, in the fear of being criticized by others. Many people hold back from setting worthwhile goals because they have found that every time they do set a goal, somebody steps up and tells them that they can’t achieve it, or that they will lose their money or waste their time.
5. Fear of failure – and this may be the most important reason of all. People don’t set goals because they are afraid they might fail. In fact, the fear of failure is probably the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. It can hold you back more than any other psychological problem.
If you can overcome all of these obstacles and set well-defined goals, it will enable you to channel your efforts and focus your energy toward something that’s important to you. Goal setting gives you a target to aim at and enables you to develop the self-discipline to continue working toward your target rather than becoming distracted and going off in other directions.
Let me share with you five keys that will help you do that. Each of these keys starts with one of the letters in the word “goals.” Whenever you find yourself getting off the track, simply repeat the word “goals,” and think about how each letter stands for a key that just might apply to your current situation.
The first letter is G, and it stands for “Get to it.” Sometimes, the only difference between a successful person and a failure is that the successful person has the courage to get started, to do something, to begin moving toward the accomplishment of a specific goal.
The second letter, O, stands for “Opportunity.” Successful people do not wait for opportunities to turn their goals into reality. They make their opportunities, because they are perfectly clear about the kind of life they wish to create. Once you have taken the time to decide exactly what you want, you will experience an endless flow of opportunities that will help move you in that direction.
The letter A stands for “Ability.” Many people hesitate to set high, challenging goals because they lack the ability necessary to turn those goals into reality. But remember that we all lacked knowledge and experience when we started out in our careers or fields of expertise. Since you gain the ability necessary for high achievement through knowledge and experience, if you increase the speed at which you acquire both of those, you increase the speed at which you move ahead.
The letter L stands for “Leadership.” Leadership is simply the ability to get results. And you begin to get results when you accept full responsibility for yourself, for your job, and for the outputs required in your position. You demonstrate leadership when you refuse to make excuses or blame anyone or anything for the problems you are having. The acceptance of the responsibility of leadership enables you to move ahead and take action.
The final letter, S, stands for “Stay with it.” This is the resolution to persist in the face of adversity until you succeed.
Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles. The bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have, and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes, your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.
When you look around you, you will see that all achievement is the triumph of persistence. You will see men and women everywhere who are struggling with and overcoming adversities in order to accomplish something that is important to them. And so can you. G-O-A-L-S. That’s what you have to remember. And “G” is the first thing: “Get to it!”[Ed. Note: Brian Tracy will be a featured speaker at ETR’s 2nd Annual Wealth Building Bootcamp this October. Brian is the best-selling author of more than 36 books. He has written and produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs, including the worldwide bestseller “Psychology of Achievement.” He addresses more than 250,000 people each year – audiences as large as 20,000 people – on the subjects of Personal and Professional Development, Leadership, Selling, Self-Esteem, Goals, Strategy, Creativity, and Success Psychology. To learn more about Brian’s upcoming appearance at ETR’s Bootcamp, please visit http://www.earlytorise.com/2005prereg.htm