Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Don’t Focus On Your Goals

Focus On Goals

I know many people who struggle with keeping themselves motivated and positive in the face of challenging goals. They look at goals as that insurmountable peak to remind them of how they will fail.

Many people struggle with goals because they tend to focus too much on their goals.

Let’s look at goals through the lens of two examples.

If you are a student wanting to get an A-that is outside of your control. Because you don’t get to grade the paper and put an A there- you actually have a teacher who defines the curriculum, tests you with assignments, and grades you based on the quality of work you put in. So your goal of getting an A is actually not in your control. It’s with the teacher.

Similarly, if you have the goal to be a successful salesman hitting your targets out of the park- realize that the goal is outside your control. There are two sides to the sales transaction. First, you sell, and then your prospect buys. You can only recruit the customer into the sales process if he wants it. So, just like in the example of the student, the goal of sales target achievement is not really in your control. It is in the control of your customers.

Here is the big problem with most goals. They require the participation of others. And therefore, by default, they are inherently outside of your control. Consequently, you will always feel anxious and uncomfortable when encountering anything, not in your control.  

Don’t Focus On Your Goals, Focus On Your Behaviors

Your behaviors are entirely in your control- They are what you alone can do to get closer to your goals. You don’t have to depend on anyone else for your behaviors.

  • You are in control of what kind of food you eat.
  • You are in control of how much exercise you do.
  • You are in control of when you wake up in the morning.
  • You are in control of how you choose to spend your time.
  • You are in control of what priorities you want to focus on. 
  • You are in control of how you feel about yourself.
  • You are in control of the quality of your planning.
  • You are in control of the quality of work you put in.

Focussing too much on your goals can be demotivating. In contrast, concentrating on your behaviors can be enormously motivating. Because you are in control and you can feel good about what you do- “I resisted the temptation to indulge,” Or ” Wow, I did a great job creating the fabulous proposal” or ” I did such a good job in pitching my product.”

Your behaviors are immediate term- what you do now, today, this week to get closer to your goals.

Goals are great for direction setting but lousy for managing your daily motivation. So if you want to achieve your goals- don’t focus on them. Instead, focus on your behaviors. They are the real building blocks that get you to your goals.

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