Why some people don’t like goal setting… and what to do!
We set goals to satisfy our human needs. Models that have been developed over the years to maximise human potential and to increase performance all agree that goal setting, even at its most basic form, is the key for succeeding and therefore staying happy. Otherwise, it would be a hit and miss game, and endless disappointments if we don’t set goals. The result of not setting goals and taking random actions is a downward spiral towards increased anxiety, losing our self-belief, our confidence and most importantly - our happiness.
Goal setting is an act of commitment and achieving goals requires a consistent structure, ongoing motivation and taking constant action.
So, knowing the importance of goal setting, why do some people still avoid it?
5 reasons why people avoid goal setting
The five most common underlying reasons that I have encountered in my coaching sessions with my clients who avoid goal setting are as follows:
1. Chasing after the 'happily ever after'
I truly believe that the concept of 'happily ever after' does exist; there is this magical moment that you will live 'happily ever after' and everything will just fall perfectly into place. That magical moment is when you find yourself. It’s the moment when you come to the realisation of what is important to you and what you truly want in your life.
It’s the dependant 'happily ever after' that triggers not liking the goal setting.
If we truly believe that we have all the resources within ourselves to achieve everything that fulfils our dreams, we will find goal setting an inspirational and motivational task to do.
2. Don’t like the limitation
As human beings in the most abstract form, we value freedom and diversity. Setting goals for some people may feel like settling for something less than wholeness.
What about the potential we could have in our lives? Are we going to neglect this potential to have everything by setting limited goals?
This is a very limiting decision that we have unconsciously made most probably sometime in our childhood and it’s now stopping us from thinking strategically.
In fact, by setting goals not only you are not limiting yourself, but also you are giving life to your wildest dreams, and to everything else that makes you truly happy.
This is a big one! Somehow you have unconsciously associated goal setting with difficult challenges and negative emotions such as fear.
Here is how you can get over the negative feeling: set your most challenging goal that may feel, seem or sound impossible at this moment. Then, start reverse engineering your goal step by step back into smaller goals that eventually will lead to where you currently are standing. Always consider more than one option for accomplishing every single step.
Doing this experiment a few times can give your mind the reassurance that just because the goal is big doesn’t make it impossible to achieve.
4. Not knowing their motivation strategy…
Most people think positivity and setting goals go hand in hand. In fact, for most people, this is quite the opposite and they won’t be motivated by positivity and goals linked to positive thinking.
Some people get their drive from being in negative situations and in fact, their drive and their motivation come from moving away from these difficulties. This makes goal setting very difficult for these people as they don’t have a destination to go to. They will only go so far as they are distant enough from their current problem.
5. “I don’t have any goals!”
Do you know what is important to you in any particular area of your life?
Do you know what makes you happy and fulfilled in life? Or do you only live to fulfil what is important for the people around you?
If you are struggling to answer any of the questions above then you will find goal setting a very difficult task to do.
You need to know what is important to you in various areas of your life. You need to know this conflict-free. Obligatory, negative and comparative answers are conflicting indicators. For example, in health and fitness, expressions such as “I must get fit”, “I hate being unfit” or “it’s better to be fit” are all answers that carry conflict.
It makes no sense to have no goals and expecting to get somewhere good. Without a goal, you may end up somewhere in life, but that place won’t necessarily be where you will be happy.
Without a goal, the most precious resource that we have, that is time, is wasted.
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About Elham Peyfoon
Elham Peyfoon, PhD is a life and leadership coach, NLP practitioner and NLP coach.
Elham has more than 10 years of experience in the field of coaching. Unset goals are one of the most important triggers to stress and anxiety and in this article, Elham has looked at the factors that people need to pay attention to achieve their goals.… Read more
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