I’ve been getting multiple emails lately from self-help gurus offering to help me set goals, plan, and organize my life.
I know it’s good for the gurus. All of us who are success junkies will click into the videos and sign up for the free webinars, always thinking that maybe someone has found a new secret method to re-align our lives. Some of us will buy.
And do we find new secrets to success?
Not really. What is there is what you see in the free samples sent to your inbox… attractively packaged reminders of things you already knew. Maybe some concepts will be worded in fresh, memorable ways. Maybe the speaker’s enthusiasm will inspire you. But as old King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Do we get our money’s worth?
I believe that sellers of success strategies do provide value. They remind us of things we know. They encourage us to act on our knowledge. These programs are like re-gifted presents–the wrapping paper is new, but what’s inside is not. And that’s okay.
Generally what’s inside are good, solid concepts that have stood the test of time. Sometimes new research is cited that empirically verifies age-old wisdom. Personally, as a scientist, I like objective verification. It makes me smile. But the bedrock on which success is built remains unchanged. Part of that bedrock is what Stephen Covey called “beginning with the end in mind.”
Setting goals increases achievement
I am an inveterate goal-setter, but not great on follow-through. I seldom remember to revisit my goals once they are written. They sit gathering dust as the days and weeks roll by. (I do not recommend this as a strategy–it just happens to be my reality.)
When this time of year rolls around and I am prompted by the reminders of success gurus that planning time is upon us, I pull last year’s goals off their dusty shelf to see how I’ve done.
I am always surprised at how much has been accomplished. Inevitably, it seems, my subconscious will have steered me to completion of goals that I actually forgot I had set. The books have been written; the academic programs have been developed. And for that reason, I absolutely believe in goal-setting.
Do all my goals get met this way? No. I have a few stubborn repeat offenders–the weight that won’t come off, the idealized perpetually-organized desk that usually isn’t. It is those that keep me clicking on video-ads and signing up for free webinars! But overall, the majority of my specific goals get met in an almost magical way. Setting goals works.
Join the conversation. Share below:
What might make goal-setting more effective for you?
I’ll go first. Scroll down to see my latest idea, then add your own.
Until next time,