When we’re growing up, we’re taught that setting goals for ourselves is a good thing. By setting goals for ourselves, we’re incentivized to strive for the next level and become better at things.
Often when you’re younger, other people set goals for you and so you’re more detached from them. The English teacher sets a goal that Romeo and Juliet has to be read and summarized in 7 days for example.
Your parents tell you that by 7pm, you will have cleaned your room.
You probably didn’t put too much stock into these goals. They weren’t your goals. Whether you reached them or not, not all that much was going to change.
Also, because they were being set by others, they were always set in small, bite-sized chunks. No teacher ever says “learn everything for Grade 10” and then lets you run the show for the whole year on your own.
But once we’re older and we’re trying to start something on our own, now we’re in charge. We get to decide our goals. What they are. How long we have to reach them. How small they are. How much pressure we put on ourselves. How accountable we hold ourselves to work towards these goals.
What I’ve learned trying to start 10+ businesses thus far in my life and succeeding with 3 of them is that #1. Goals are only as useful as you make them for yourself and #2. If you misuse goals, you will hate yourself and probably fail.
You may have heard of SMART goals? Personally I hate acronyms like this because I find they overcomplicate things and make a simple concept sound so “academic”.
The bottom line is that every goal you set for yourself has to be in your control. If you set goals outside of your control, you set yourself up to fail and to feel miserable about it.
Examples of bad goals:
- In the next 30 days, I’ll get 5 new clients.
- In the next 6 months, I’ll reach 10k page views a month
- I’m going to grow my investment account by 5% per month
What do all of these have in common? They are out of your control.
Examples of good goals:
- In the next 30 days, I will split test 5 different advertisements on Pinterest with a budget of 20$/day that all lead into a funnel geared towards signing up new clients.
- Over the next 6 months, I will do something everyday to promote 1 blog post on my blog (pin a new pin on Pinterest, comment in a Facebook group linking back to my blog, post a comment on a related blog, sent an e-mail requesting to guest post for a bigger blog, etc.)
- Everyday, I will look for oversold or overbought stocks that fit all my criteria and add them to my watchlist. I’ll allocate the next available 10k of liquidity in my account to the first stock to hit my “get in price” and I will set my “get out price” for that stock.
I really hope you can see the difference and how you can fall into a trap by setting “bad goals”. It doesn’t matter whether you did your absolute best on something or worked super hard, you never get to feel good if you mistake your desired outcome for your goals.
By setting “good goals” you can much more easily stay motivated, enthusiastic and feel productive in the direction of your desired outcome until you get there, regardless of how long it takes. – Martina