Ditch goals and get the life you want today by living in the now. A guest post by Madisen Harper
Each year millions of people fail to achieve their dreams. 97 per cent abandon their commitment towards self improvement within 30 days of their New Year’s resolutions and Harvard Business School say goals get in the way of success. All in all it leaves people discouraged, frustrated, unmotivated and feeling like failures.
Why do people continue to set themselves up for disappointment year after year?
Because goal setting is hyped as the secret to success, yet international research indicates that accomplishment is rare, people seldom feel fulfilled or happier once they’ve achieved their goal and the process creates stress.
I believe goals definitely have their place; but on the whole, they’re not the best formula for success. Goals inhibit you by being too narrow, inflexible and taking the place of expanded thinking.
I have to say, I love validation, especially when it comes from Harvard Business School! A recent white paper supports my views as it states goal setting, “Can degrade employee performance, harm interpersonal relationships, corrode organizational culture, and motivate risky and unethical behaviors. In many situations, the damaging effects of goal setting outweigh its benefits.”
I’m not surprised by the Harvard findings. I see very few people achieving their personal and business goals. They become discouraged; it erodes their confidence and affects their ability to persist.
So what am I suggesting to replace it? A ‘success without goal setting’ paradigm which overcomes the narrow focus of goals by opening the mind to an array of possibilities and successes. Here are four strategies I use with my clients that have made a positive difference and set them up for continued achievement.
Use your EPS not your GPS – A GPS, like goals, efficiently guides you from A to B, but you may be missing out on spectacular scenery and robbing yourself of excitement and adventure along the way. Alternatively, your EPS (emotional positioning system) offers a sense of direction and suggests you fearlessly follow your emotional guidance and explore the plethora of side streets and panorama. Your EPS also has the added benefit of steering you towards discovering your life purpose. Don’t live a small life with goals, explore possibilities and live large.
Live for the moment not the morrow – Traditional goal setting focuses on present pain for future gain; “I’ll save money now so I can splurge on my holiday later” or “I’ll diet until Christmas so I can pig out at the parties”. In my new bestselling book Wake Up Live the Life You Love…Living in the Now, I highlight the importance of enjoying the present moment. You can even plan for the future in the present. Unhappiness occurs when you wish your life away by thinking, “I’ll be happy when…” It’s also important to avoid getting stuck in the past by being overly nostalgic or having regrets.
Live by a ‘theme’ – The specifics in the often used SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time bound) goals can be limiting. Living by a life theme expands your focus to life’s possibilities and opens the mind to a range of opportunities and paths instead of a small, potentially limiting, niche. There’s greater potential in ‘spread my knowledge about quilt making’ (theme) as compared to ‘write a book about quilt making’ (goal). The former can include books, blogs, training, videos etc. and offers more opportunities to achieve.
Embrace the notion of ‘this or something better’ – Goals dictate an end result, the one you think is ‘best’. However, things don’t always go to plan when there’s something better around the corner. I remember desperately wanting a job and discovering I didn’t get it. A week later I got a better job at twice the pay! Failure is success in disguise.
So I encourage you to live courageously and achieve the life you want today.
Madisen Harper is an international author, inspirational speaker, life enrichment mentor and business consultant who believes life is meant to be fun and easy. Her latest bestselling book, Wake Up…Live the Life You Love – Living in the Now, was co-authored with success expert Brian Tracy, sales champion Tom Hopkins, Millionaire Mentor Gregory Scott Reid and The Secret’s business guru John Assaraf and spiritual leader Dr Michael Beckwith. Mid-2010 sees the publication of 100% accountABLE™ a companion to her most successful keynote and workshop. Receive 100s of practical tips to create a more fulfilling life by visiting http://www.MadisenHarper.com and subscribing to her FREE ‘Right Here, Right Now’ VIDEO newsletter.