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An Unexpected Benefit of Goal Setting

I try not to go on about it too much, because I don’t want to be one of those people. But I really like goal setting, and I think everyone should try it. There are lots of books and resources on the subject — my favorite is Brian Tracy — but the basic premise is pretty much the same everywhere.

That’s not what I am going to talk about, though. Most people just think of goals as a way to get what you want, which — fair enough. That is the purpose. But there are other notable benefits too. I remembered my favorite benefit when reading Amy Sundburg’s recent post It Is Okay To Say No.

Let me tell you, I used to be the wimpiest, most people-pleasing, afraid-to-be-contrary person in the world. Seriously. I used to wake my mother up at night for permission to use the toilet. (She finally got fed up and told me that YES, I am allowed to use the bathroom ANY TIME I NEED.) I couldn’t say no to anyone for anything, though that wasn’t as much as a problem as you’d think, because my belief and subsequent crippling anxiety over how everyone surely hated me meant I rarely went outside or talked to anyone.

Yeah, pretty pathetic. Life got better and I got better but I still was nervous about what people thought and couldn’t be contrary… until I got into setting goals. Because once I had my goals, I had a clear idea of what I wanted and at least a clue how I’d go about getting there. And you know what? What random people think of me has no effect whatsoever on whether I will achieve my goals. And saying no, when appropriate, is easy. I have an exact concrete reason why I cannot do something: it does not contribute to my goals.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m some kind of ruthless selfish freak (I hope). My particular goals often involve trying to be more generous and helpful, but when I choose to do something along those lines, it’s planned. Not just acting because I want to manipulate people’s reactions.

So, are any of you interested in goal setting? What resources do you use? I am always looking for new tips!

Mirrored from Amberdine.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 13th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Fascinating! I had not seen the connection before between goal setting and being able to say no, but it makes sense on many levels. Lately I've been grooving on two slim motivational/writing craft books. One is called Steal Like an Artist and the other is Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. (I've had his other book, the War of Art, recommended to me, as well, but I'm still waiting for my turn with it at the library.) The Pressfield book, especially is very apropos. There are lots of good nuggets in there. I like "start before you're ready." Also, he pulls together many behaviors that get in the way of success like procrastination, negative attitudes, self-defeatist behavior, and so forth and personifies them as "resistance," which he says is an evil force preventing you from doing your work. Obviously, I don't believe demons are trying to stop me, but it is incredibly useful to carry on as if they are. Highly recommend.
Jun. 13th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! I think one of the hard things about setting boundaries is when one is unclear as to what exactly one wants. So I can really see how setting goals would be helpful; it gets you used to thinking about such things in a more concrete way.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )