A person fishing.

The Traditional Method Of Goal Setting Is Seriously Flawed

You need control.

“How’s that sound?”

Your boss is explaining the new goals you need to start pursuing. Triple the company’s Twitter follows, increase engagement, and drive new sources of revenue. 

“That’s fine,” you respond.

It doesn’t matter what you say. You know you won’t be able to get there – you never have and you assume you never will. You don’t feel bad though, because everyone feels the same way. Management assigns the goals, your boss dictates them to you, you work your absolute hardest, and then you come up short.

Around and around you go. Goody.


The flaw

There’s nothing wrong with being assigned goals by others. It’s not as good as creating the goal for yourself, but it’s not terrible and it’s how a lot of organizations operate. Without their knowing it though, they have set you up for failure.

How? Through the very act of goal setting itself. 

Now, I love goal setting.

I write about goals, talk about them, the whole deal. And one thing that I’ve come to realize is that the traditional method of goal setting is seriously flawed (in case you didn’t already catch that from the title). In a lot of ways, actually, but the biggest one has to do with control.



For example…

Look at those goals I listed above. You need to triple the company’s Twitter follows, increase engagement, and drive new sources of revenue.

You have no say in whether or not you actually achieve these objectives though. 

For instance, you can spend 11 hours a day on Twitter – tweeting, DM’ing, following – and see no return on your investment. Not only may you not see any increase in engagement, but you have no say in if you get more followers or if any of that leads to more revenue for the company.

All you have is a hope that your 11 hours a day actually amounts to something.

Will it?

Let me ask you this – have you lost any weight?


Weight loss

Weight loss is another classic example of traditional goal setting. I want to lose 20 pounds in six months. So you do all the “right” things, six months go by, and you’re only down five pounds.

And you’re annoyed.

You did everything you could and you still came up short.

Again though, you set yourself up for failure. But it’s not your fault. The traditional method of goal setting is to blame. The methods they teach at goal setting school (is that a thing?) are incorrect and not set up in a way that assures success.

Instead, you’ve learned to set an affirmation for yourself. Congrats! I hope your wish comes true.


What to do

You have no control over how your body regulates weight. You can’t control how many new people decide to follow you or reply to you or click through to your site. Sure, you can influence these things. But you don’t have control.

And control is what you need.

So instead of setting goals that are not within your grasp, set the opposite.

Want to lose weight? Feel like calorie-counting is the way to do it? Set a goal to eat X amount of calories a day, X days a week. Want more engagement? Set a goal to tweet X times a day, X days a week. Or follow X new accounts each week. Or host a webinar and share it on Twitter X times this month. 


Get control of your goals

You can achieve those goals because they’re in your control. Whether you follow the accounts, or track the calories, or host the webinar is on you and the effort you put in; something that is within your grasp.

Control is mandatory when it comes to your goals.

If your goals aren’t control-centric, change them right now. If they are, keep doing them that way. Controllable goals are ones that you will achieve. You may achieve ones outside your control, but more often than not, you won’t.

Gain control and use it to achieve your goals. 

*Need more help achieving your goals? Enroll in my goal success course here.

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