What is the problem with goals?

Did you know that setting goals is frustrating and demotivating for most people? This causes a huge loss of productivity, innovation, profit, and growth potential for individuals and businesses alike. We see teams, departments, and whole organizations struggle to hit their targets because of this.

We live in a world of New Year’s resolutions, fad diets, and constant distractions. Many people see setting goals as setting themselves up for another failure. It’s just too easy to fall right back into familiar, comfortable routines.

How should we view goals?

Goals are simply different results than what we have now. Whatever you have now is the outcome of your past habits, routines, and systems. Even without set “schedules” or “routines” you have a system that serves a conscious or subconscious need/want (i.e.-feeling like a spontaneous person or trying to avoid planning anxiety).

Motivational speakers often tell us to focus and work harder. However, just trying to work harder might help for short-term gain, but it doesn’t really help for long-term and consistent success. If you really want to take something to the next level and keep it there, it starts with changing your everyday habits and routines. These are your personal systems for success…or…more of the same. But don’t try to do it all at once.

The secret to getting more of what you want is to make small changes. For example, if you want to “get fit”, then find an easy, short exercise to do daily. This could just be a few jumping jacks or pushups. Once you do this easily and without having to think about it, start adding more to it. You will find it has a snowball effect as you build the small wins and retrain your brain to believe that goals are achievable, rewarding, and easy.

How does this relate to business?

Here’s the Kicker: This works the same in life and business. You and your employees have certain routines and habits that you run every day. If you want different results, you have to take a look at your processes and systems. Are they really optimized for the best outputs? Where is the waste? What can you automate? In what areas do you need people with stronger skills? Where do you need to train or recruit to improve productivity, quality, profitability, etc.?

Ultimately, I encourage you to flip goal-setting on it’s head and become a systems-setter. Work with your team members to set goals. Then work together and find ways to improve personal and business systems to get the results everyone wants. Of course, start small and build from there. This makes it manageable for everyone. This is also foundational for becoming a culture that is always embracing new horizons as employees continuously innovate, improve, and adapt. Given some time, training, and coaching, your employees will find goals exciting and motivating again. Plus, as they grow, so too will your business.

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