This new emphasis on “Goal Setting” is becoming prevalent. I have seen it a dozen times this year, and from different sources. There is something I call, “The Law of Second Mention”. This means that if you hear the same thing from two different people, take heed. The hot new headline is: “Why I do not set goals anymore.” For the record, goals are critically important to success. Brian Tracy, one of the world’s foremost Business Consultants and Author says:

“Success is all about goals, everything else is just commentary”

One Reason Why Goals Don’t Work

However, “goals don’t work”, is one of the statements you hear from frustrated people around the globe. Yet when the new year sets in, motivational speakers and coaches go at it again: “Set Goals, read books, visualize, meditate…” and so on.

There is one problem with that setup. It is what I call an “appendage”. Here is Google’s rendering of the word:


ap·pend·age
əˈpendij/
noun
  1. (often with negative or pejorative connotations) a thing that is added or attached to something larger or more important.
    “they treat Scotland as a mere appendage of England”
    synonyms:addition, attachment, adjunct, addendum, appurtenance, accessory

    “I am not just an appendage to the family”
    • BIOLOGY
      a projecting part of an invertebrate or other living organism, with a distinct appearance or function.
      “many species have specialized clutching appendages”
      synonyms:protuberance, projection;

      technical process
      “a pair of feathery appendages”

  • It seems like an afterthought
  • Most definitely, it is not part of an existing system
  • It sounds like it is something you can put on and off depending on convenience
  • It sounds like it is not a priority

So the question would be:

“Would such a thing as described above, be the ‘dog’ that we set out to hunt our most sought out ‘prey?’

Think about that.

In his book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” Viktor E. Frankl hits the point precisely when he says:

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself”

As long as the programs we are using are “appendages”, success will elude us.

The Secret?

It is not a secret at all. It is simply the opposite of an appendage. Mirriam Webster helps us here a great deal:

(Appendage) noun

Near Antonyms essentialnecessityrequirementrequisite

What we are applying as a tool for success or for attaining our goals must of necessity be something essential. It must ensue. It must come from deep within. It must be intimate. It must be second nature. It must be at the level of the subconscious. This is why people are advised against new year resolutions that they tend to call “goals”.

The Powerful S-Word

So now the challenge is to make whatever system we are using be intimate, essential and second nature. Notice that powerful s-word there: systems. You are an intelligent being because of systems: respiratory, digestive, nervous, blood circulation, reproductive, etc. These are part of the core, not appendages. If one of these malfunctions, there is trouble with the whole. So instead of setting goals, we need to create Systems. The starting point in creating systems is to define decisions.

Decisions

We have to love making decisions—occasionally and intentionally! Decisions are what will make or break us. The more decisive we are, the more progressive, creative, innovative and impactful we become.

Therefore, making decisions ought to be one of the greatest and most frequent things we do intentionally, and not just something we do at the beginning of the year!

Now, a decision is just an intelligent starting point for a revolution.

Each decision must have the spine of planning, the providence of resources, the provision of time and the discipline of follow-through.

Follow through is the fuel that puts a decision in motion which in turn rewards the visionary with the intrinsic force called motivation.  Motivations ensue from decision and follow-through, not from waiting and listening to a motivational speaker. Real motivation is obtained by following through on a decision.

The Three Cord Strand of Your Goals System

Therefore, each decision made must be supported by the following three pillars. These, if they are part and parcel of your life, form a great, unbeatable system. This system runs your life daily, not just at the beginning of the year. And that is why you will get to know that “goal setting” is a daily thing, not a New Year’s psychological game of trial and error.

Planning

You need to take a considerable amount of time doing the following: Dreaming and envisioning, writing down, making considerations, thinking back and forth. The quality of your plan determines the quality of your decision. Good decisions are the foundation of success. Unlike the other two, planning is analog and nobody has invented an app for planning yet. No app ever invented can cause a visionary to plan and dream. God gave us two of the very best: A heart and a brain.

Scheduling

If it is not scheduled, it will not be done. A time and a place set aside for the decision to be implemented goes a mighty long way in activating your intelligence. If you are not going to schedule it, there is no point in deciding for it. Thank God there are many apps for this, starting with the ubiquitous Google Calendar.

Tracking

Tracking is the mechanism that helps you do a periodic (if not daily) review of what you decided to implement. It keeps you in check and accountable to yourself. Jim Rohn said that a life, not reviewed, is a life worth not living. I am sure if you looked, you would find a great app to track your progress.

So remember, for each of the major decisions that you are going to take, it is best that all of them rest on the three pillars above. That is the system. It must be in place before you can make any single resolution or goal. Now that your system is in place and intact, and you are sure that any single goal you set will follow that system, you can read more information about Goal Setting here before proceeding.

I am going to suggest just five goals that you can set once and for all. These are lifetime goals.

  1. The Goal To Build A Brand (More on this in the next post)
  2. The Goal to be Daring: This helps you break your fears and in the process you get to grow.
  3. The Goal to Grow: This helps you hone your genius
  4. The Goal to be Valuable: This helps you monetize your existence on earth.
  5. The Goal to be Humane: With machines surrounding us at every turn, it is time to be more humane, relational, kind, and caring to other people.
  6. The Goal to Work Hard: Goals do not work, you and I do. Forget about working smart, and work hard!

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Lawrence Namale

Author of “Turn Your Setbacks into Major Comebacks”, Life Coach and Speaker. Consultant and expatriate in Mobile Money Trade Development.