What is your experience of goal setting?
For me, I would set goals because it seemed like a good idea to know where I wanted to get to. Yet I found that, at times, the process could often become quite stressful.
I have also heard many people share that this is their experience too. So, if stress free goal setting is something that would be valuable to you, please read on.
Why do we set goals?
I remember being in my early twenties and bored with my job. As I looked ahead to where I might be in ten years’ time I did not feel inspired! I wanted to be my own boss but did not have a clue how this might happen.
So, I began to read personal development books and many of them talked about the importance goal setting. As a result, one of the goals I set was to own my own business, which I was fortunate enough to achieve within a few years.
This led me to setting more goals because it seemed that the way to improve anything in our lives was to become intentional about it.
Although I did not know it at the time, I fell into a trap that can so easily happen when you set goals.
Investment and involvement
In his book, ‘Life is a metaphor‘ Dr George Pransky shares that there are two significant elements to achieving any goal you set yourself.
The first of those is involvement. This means how much you throw yourself into what you are doing and as George points out:
“People do their best when their involvement is highest. They also get more enjoyment out of what they are doing when they are involved.”
The second element is investment. This means the degree to which you care about the outcome. To what extent are you placing your enjoyment of life and sense of well-being upon succeeding? George writes:
“High investment is very bad for human beings. It makes us tense. It is a distraction. It takes us out of the moment and out of involvement.”
Letting go of the outcome
Letting go of the outcome can seem challenging for many people. Sometimes when I have shared this idea with someone, they have said something like, “It is alright for you to say that, but I still need to pay the bills every month!”
So, we can have this idea that letting go of the outcome makes us passive. We can think that unless we feel stressed, tense, or under pressure then we are somehow lessening our chances of achieving the goal.
But how true is this?
I think that something George points out really matters. He said that high investment takes us out of involvement.
In other words, high investment is like a ball and chain to achieving our goals. It is not an advantage.
As an example, imagine you are in conversation with a potential client who could bring you a lot of business. Do you think you are more likely to win the business if you are attached to the outcome and feeling under pressure or if you are feeling calm and present?
My experience is that when we feel under pressure, we are far more likely to create push-back. This looks true to me not only with people but with everything, in all situations.
High investment lowers your creativity, compromises your ability to positively influence people, depletes your energy, and is ultimately unsustainable.
Put it to the test for yourself
You do not need to take my word for this.
Allow yourself a high level of involvement for a goal that inspires you and be conscious to not place your sense of well-being, self-worth, and happiness on the line.
I would love to know how you get on.
PS. Want to know more about successful goal setting. Click here to discover the most dangerous word in the English language.