Dean Lind­say, au­thor of How To Achieve Big PHAT Goals, busts myths on achiev­ing and set­ting tar­gets.

The Smart Manager - - Myth Buster -

01 goals mo­ti­vate us to take ac­tion

It is not the goal that mo­ti­vates us, but our in­ter­nal­ized rea­sons be­hind the goal that pro­pel us to take ac­tion. The word mo­ti­va­tion can be bro­ken down into two root words—mo­tive and ac­tion.

mo­tive: an in­ner drive that prompts a per­son to act in a cer­tain way. Mo­tive is the goal or ob­ject of one’s ac­tion. Other words for mo­tive in­clude rea­sons, pur­pose, and in­ten­tion.

ac­tion: the do­ing of some­thing. Ex­am­ples of ac­tions in­clude, do, rent, read, act, try, sign up, show up, eat, and move.

Mo­ti­va­tion, there­fore, is the in­ner drive to do, to try; mo­ti­va­tion is the in­ter­nal rea­son to act. Sim­ply put, in­ter­nal­ized rea­sons cre­ate move­ment.

02 we are mo­ti­vated by other peo­ple

The de­ci­sion to be mo­ti­vated to progress to­wards a goal is a per­sonal choice. I can­not mo­ti­vate you and you can­not mo­ti­vate me. I may be mo­ti­va­tional. You may be mo­ti­va­tional. But truly, no one is a mo­ti­va­tor. The only per­son who can mo­ti­vate you to­wards ac­com­plish­ing your goals is you.

Mo­ti­va­tion is a fire from within. If some­one else tries to light that fire un­der you, chances are it will burn very briefly. - Stephen R Covey

03 the key to goal achieve­ment is re­mind­ing your­self of the goal

Of­ten we fix­ate on a goal with­out giv­ing enough fo­cus and at­ten­tion to the rea­sons be­hind the goal. Many of us do not need to come to terms with the world around us. In­stead, we need to come to terms with our own un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions and poorly de­fined goals.

Strong rea­sons make strong ac­tions. - Wil­liam Shake­speare

Well-es­tab­lished rea­sons help us feel the in­ter­nal pres­sure needed to fo­cus. We must dig to the roots and re­mind our­selves of the ben­e­fits, the rea­sons be­hind the ac­tions that will move us closer to our goals. Each day, we have the choice to move for­ward, to progress, and to pur­sue our goals. Every­thing we do is done be­cause we be­lieve, con­sciously, or more of­ten sub­con­sciously, the pro­jected con­se­quences of those ac­tions will be us feel­ing the unique, right mix­ture of six core feel­ings—feel­ings I call Lind­say’s six Ps of progress: peace of mind, plea­sure, profit, pres­tige, pain avoid­ance, and power.

04 set­ting goals is chal­leng­ing and hard

Set­ting goals is easy. The hard­est as­pect of goal achieve­ment is craft­ing a goal that is so at­trac­tive, so al­lur­ing to us, that we are com­pelled to progress by con­tin­u­ally mak­ing choices that move us to­ward their ac­com­plish­ment.

In short, well-crafted goals are PHAT: pretty hot and tempt­ing. Set­ting goals is easy, craft­ing big PHAT goals is more chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing. As a noun, craft can mean an ob­ject or ma­chine de­signed for a jour­ney, like a ship or an air­plane. As a verb, craft can mean to make or man­u­fac­ture with skill and care­ful at­ten­tion to de­tail. A goal is the aim, the ob­jec­tive, the pur­pose, the point.

Goal-craft­ing is the prac­tice of cre­at­ing per­sonal and or­ga­ni­za­tional tar­gets that are so clear, so well thought-out, so en­tic­ing, so at­trac­tive, so pretty hot and tempt­ing that they ac­tu­ally be­come tools or ves­sels in our jour­ney to their ac­com­plish­ment. Our lives and or­ga­ni­za­tions will surely change with­out well-crafted goals, but it is doubt­ful that they will progress.

Well-crafted, progress-based goals do not merely re­mind us of the de­sired des­ti­na­tion; they help cre­ate the con­di­tions and en­vi­ron­ment needed for their achieve­ment. Th­ese goals pro­pel us into for­ward-fo­cused ac­tion and strengthen our re­solve to progress. The real chal­lenge is stay­ing con­nected to the pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing of

Set­ting goals is easy. The hard­est as­pect of goal achieve­ment is craft­ing a goal that is so at­trac­tive.

‘why’. Un­der­stand­ing the rea­sons be­hind our goal chan­nels the pas­sion in the right di­rec­tion, or at least in some di­rec­tion.

05 goals can­not be achieved with­out a plan

It is not the plan that makes goal achieve­ment pos­si­ble, it is per­sis­tent ac­tion to­wards the goal and per­sis­tent ac­tion is ini­ti­ated and sus­tained by strong, in­ter­nal­ized rea­sons (PHAT rea­sons). Per­sonal, pro­fes­sional, and so­cial progress de­mands per­sis­tent ac­tion. The great­est goals, ideas, plans, and skills in the world are use­less un­less they are com­bined with a gen­er­ous amount of per­sis­tence. Per­sis­tence is a byprod­uct of pas­sion. Pas­sion leads to a zest in the pur­suit. To keep the pas­sion, we must con­stantly re­mind our­selves of the ben­e­fits we are ex­pect­ing from our ef­forts.

News flash: goals can be achieved with­out a plan. It will most likely take us much longer, but we will even­tu­ally progress if we stay com­mit­ted. The dan­ger­ous thing about not hav­ing a plan is that the longer it takes to progress to­ward a goal, the more likely we are to search out or give in to other ways to try to feel the six Ps of progress. Note that I said other ways, not bet­ter ways. And I said try to feel, not feel. With­out a plan, we are likely to get dis­cour­aged and give up. ‘Los­ing sight of the goal’ means that it has not been de­fined clearly enough, and/or not held on to long enough, to be re­al­ized. A plan helps us achieve our crafted goals faster and more ef­fi­ciently, with­out wast­ing re­sources or pulling our hair out.

Do not get me wrong, I am a firm be­liever in plan­ning, but our best-laid plans will not get us where we are not com­mit­ted to go­ing. Keep­ing our thoughts con­stantly on the rea­sons be­hind our goals is the stim­u­lus that keeps us com­mit­ted and able to dis­pense with set­backs quickly, and to de­ci­sively re­di­rect our ef­forts. Nana ko­robi ya oki is a pop­u­lar Ja­panese say­ing that vividly ex­presses the im­por­tance of per­sis­tence, de­spite set­backs. As the proverb teaches, the even­tual win­ners are those who ‘fall down seven times, get up eight’.

Ev­ery mo­ment that we fo­cus on the strong rea­sons that have in­spired our goals, the closer we are to tak­ing de­ter­mined ac­tion to­ward their achieve­ment. The key is to not let rea­sons for pur­su­ing other goals steal our at­ten­tion, be­come PHATter, or more com­pelling. We must keep our fo­cus (and our em­ploy­ees’, cus­tomers’, and prospects’ fo­cus) on the six Ps of progress that will be felt in ac­com­plish­ing the goal. ■

‘Los­ing sight of the goal’ means that it has not been de­fined clearly enough, and/or not held on to long enough, to be re­al­ized.

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