Setting Outrageous Goals, part 2 – Don’t set goals that suck

Posted on December 19, 2009


Yesterday I suggested setting goals that delight you.  Something whose accomplishment or even whose attempt would make you smile, sing, or dance.  So today’s post is just a little reinforcement of that idea, from a slightly different perspective.

Don’t set goals that suck.

Sounds silly doesn’t it?  Sounds ridiculous, obvious, self-explanatory.  But every year, people set themselves some big, sucky goals.  And then in December (or maybe even by the end of January), they wonder why they made so little progress on their goals.

Why do their goals suck?  Because those are the wrong goals – for them.  Here are some reasons why your goals might suck:

  1. They start with the words “I should.” As in, “I should clean and organize the attic.”  Did you feel that?  As soon as you think or read the words “I should” your energy level goes down.  Maybe guilt makes you feel bad because those goals have been on the list for a long, long time. Maybe your mom, dad, spouse, sibling, friend has been nagging you about that thing.  Maybe you’ve been nagging yourself about that thing.  And yet you don’t get it done.  That goal that’s been sitting its fat butt on your “should do someday” list?  THAT GOAL SUCKS. That’s not your goal.  TAKE IT OFF!  TAKE IT ALL OFF!   I give you permission.  Because, you know what?  You’re going to set a goal that is so fantastic, this “I should” goal will be left by the wayside.  See ya, sucka!  I don’t need you, and you don’t need me, so we’re splitting for good.  The funny thing is, sometimes, when we take away some of the angst, “should do” goals start to take care of themselves.  But for now, just cross them off the list.
  2. They generate no energy – or worse – they suck energy out of you.   Maybe you aim too low.  Maybe you take on something that everyone else is doing, even if you’re not that enthused about it.  Maybe you structure a potentially good goal in a way that guarantees failure.  “I’m gonna eat nothing but cabbages for the month of January to lose weight.”  Yuck!  How unappealing is that?  THAT GOAL SUCKS!  There’s nothing there to make me want to do the task.  And WANTING is the driving force, the dilithium crystal, the Force, the blazing hot solar power for great goals.  The wonder of great goals is that they can be self-perpetuating.  And the further you move on the path to accomplishing a good goal, the further you want to go.  And as you get closer to the finish line, the more you hunger to finish.  And that feeling of accomplishment that fills you up when you finish YOUR OWN unique, wonderful goal gives you so much energy it spills over into other areas of your life.  When I finished my book, I was ready to do anything, I was on top of the world.  Even though the book was in draft and the draft was crappy, even though the likelihood of publication was virtually nil, that feeling of accomplishment of MY very own goal and conquering MY fear of this crazy project just made me feel like anything was possible.  So – set a goal that YOU WANT.  Set a goal that delights you, that makes you laugh or dance when you think about it.  Heck, set a goal to learn sexy Latin American dancing, either with your honey or with a sexy Latin American dance teacher.  Fun = Wanting = Energy.
  3. They’re vague.  “I’m gonna be healthier in 2010.”  Hunh?  What the heck does that mean?  Does it mean anything?  How will you know when you’re done?  How will you know when you’ve succeeded?  THAT GOAL SUCKS.  If you can’t explain your goal so outsiders can tell when you’ve succeeded, then your goal sucks.  Be specific, e.g.,  “I will train for and run the Zooma Half Marathon in June 2010.”  Better.  BE SPECIFIC.
  4. They rely on the unpredictable good graces of third parties, Mother Nature or luck.  Now, this may belong in the category of Other People Suck or Mother Nature Sucks or Luck Sucks.  As in, I will get a job requiring 30 hours per week of work, paying over $200,000 per year, with benefits, and a fabulous looking (male) secretary.  It could happen.  But so much of that goal is out of MY control (especially the part about the attractive male secretary).  Which means, on the off chance it does not happen, I will be disappointed, even if I did everything right to make it happen.  Better: I will prepare a job description for MY dream job, every week I will contact five people in my network about job leads that resemble my dream job, I will prepare different versions of my resume to target those jobs that resemble my dream jobs, I will rally my personal and virtual networks to find potential insiders in companies that have jobs that look my dream job.  See?  Even if some saint doesn’t magically appear and give me that dream job, I can still accomplish my goal.  It’s all in MY power.  And by drafting the goal in a way that keeps ME in control, I open myself to possibilities that I hadn’t considered, like the fabulous job paying $200k with the crazy old bat secretary who makes me laugh every day.  So – write your goal in a way that puts YOU in control.

Ok – You get it now.  We will set goals that do not suck.  In fact, we will set goals that fire us up, that make us say, “HEY!  2010, let’s get going, cuz I got some important great stuff to do.”  Have fun with it.  If you’re particularly proud of your goal, SHARE!  Hit that Comment link.  Show us how it’s done.  If you’re stuck, SHARE!  Maybe someone else has the perfect tweak to make your goal perfect for you.  Share the love.

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If you liked this post, you may also like: Setting outrageous goals, part 1

Next time: Setting Outrageous Goals, part 3 – Write the story of your life

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