Is Goal Setting A Waste of Time?

Saleem Rana

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You prepare to arrive at a chosen future when you set a goal.

When you don’t set one, the future is an accident of circumstances. Usually, you arrive at a place you don’t want to be in.

In the first instance, you are like a traveler who chooses a destination, then maps out a plan, then finds ways to arrive at his chosen location.

In the second instance, you are like a traveler who merely wanders around hoping to find a good place. Your chances of getting what you want are slim. Happy accidents are rare.

When human kind lived primarily with the mammalian lobe as predominant, all life was an accident. But with the evolution of the neocortex, we were able to create mental maps to create better experiences.

Those people who live in reaction to circumstances have bypassed the advantages of their neocortex. They experience the crude outcomes of using only their mammalian brain.

Unfortunately, most of the people who are victims of circumstances, fail to take responsibility for their plight.

Besides foreseeing the future, goals also keep us motivated. They make the present more alive because we are living a life on purpose. Anyone can live an accidental life, but the more progressive create their futures before they arrive there.

When we fail to arrive at our goals, it is because we plunged too far ahead into the future. It is better to set smaller goals, and then use the experience of reaching them to travel farther. Our plans need to be revised through the lived experience. This way we incrementally progress to a great future.

If possible, share your goals with people who are open to supporting you. When you do this, you will find encouragement as obstacles arise. Your friends may offer possible solutions or necessary resources—or help you keep your intention strong.

For some reason, many goal experts, like Brian Tracy, for example, have found that there is a certain magic to writing down your goals. This magic is further enhanced when you make a daily effort to read them out aloud.

I have also found it helpful to keep a log. As you set out on your journey to create a benevolent future, you can’t see far enough ahead to know exactly what to do. Rather, you gather better information as you review the steps you’ve taken. Instead of looking at the information you record as instances of winning or losing, consider the systems approach. See the information as positive feedback or negative feedback. If it is positive feedback, reinforce that strategy. If it is negative feedback, see where you missed the mark and learn from it. This idea has also been called “failing your way to success. ”

Finally, I’ll close with some words of advice from Joe Vitale, who routinely sets and achieves remarkable goals. His definition of a worthy goal is one that excites you a lot and scares you a little.

If it’s worth thinking up, and if it feels good, it’s definitely worth doing.

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Saleem Rana is a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. If you want to learn more on how to easily achieve your seemingly unreachable goal and experience the true happiness you’ve always longed for, no matter how disoriented you may be today, go to

Copyright 2004 Saleem Rana. Please feel free to pass this article on to your friends, or use it in your ezine or newsletter. It's a shareware article.


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