Planning, Organization, Goal-setting–What, again?

picture of children climbing mountainside

Set your goals.

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.)

And yet…

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,
Susan Craig.



This entry was posted in Challenge and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Planning, Organization, Goal-setting–What, again?

  1. susan craig says:

    I think the way a goal is worded may influence achievement. Specifics have worked well for books and projects, but not for weight loss. I tend to say, “I want to weigh X.” That really makes the goal a forever-long project. Accurate, but not motivating for me. I like closure. So this year I am going to choose a number of pounds to lose, and consider the goal fulfilled when that is done–even if I gain a few of them back! (This is safe, because I know once I lose the weight I will be motivated to keep it off.) I hope the opportunity for closure will increase my motivation to achieve the goal. I am excited to see if this will work!
    How about you? What are your ideas?


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s