Accomplish More by Not Setting Goals

The concept of setting goals is, surprisingly enough, only about 100-years old.  This fact really surprises some people.  The term “goal-setting” became part of the American vernacular with the advent of sports into the American culture as the 20th century got under way.  If you read the writings of self-help authors of the 1890’s and earlier, you won’t find any mention of the “goal-setting” at all.

Rather than debate the semantics surrounding this topic, let’s take a closer look at what it would take to accomplish something meaningful in your life. More precisely, what it takes to accomplish something meaningful in your own life over the next twelve months.

Although many analogies can be drawn from sporting events to illustrate the tests, trials and challenges of life, upon closer examination… you’ll find that life itself is really nothing like a sporting event at all.

In the real world there aren’t any off seasons, next seasons or starting over with game one.  It’s one continuing story.  Life doesn’t afford us timeouts or halftimes.  If you collapse in a heap along the sidelines, life just keeps on moving forward with the “ball” continuously in play, regardless.  Friends and loved ones have to pick you up off the floor because no one’s going to blow a whistle and stop the action, right?

In spite of all the uncertainties that go with life, people have risen up throughout the ages and have accomplished great things.  The majority are people who never attended a seminar or read a self-help book in their entire lives.  Some were educated, some weren’t.  People, educated and uneducated alike, have accomplished great things without using the goal setting processes that are so popular today.

People like Edison and Ford accomplished what they did without reading, “The Secret” or the book the secret was based upon “The Science of Getting Rich.” They did so without self-help books, life coaches, gurus and any of the other popular ideas people have today about achieving success in their business and in their lives.

How’d they do it?  What was their formula?

  1. The decided what they wanted to accomplish.
  2. They rearranged their priorities so they could focus their time and energy to accomplishing what they’d set out to do.
  3. They had enough faith to take a step in that direction.

When you’re committed to the road that lies before you, your priorities change and your unconscious actions work with you instead of against you as you proceed along your path.

The problem is, most people never make a decision to take a specific course of action.  As a result, their priorities never really change.  And finally, as a result of the first two, they never commit 100% to a single course of action.  Many believe they’re keeping “their options open” by taking this approach, but more often than not – they’re simply sabotaging their own success without realizing it.

This was one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever learned in my lifetime.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you’re willing to change your priorities so they begin the mirror the things you’re saying you’d like to accomplish.  There was a time in my life that – when the going got tough, I’d just roll over and take a nap while trying to think positive thoughts.  Funny, but true!  And guess what?  Not much ever seemed to change.  Finally, it hit me.  I was investing my energy into so many different directions; I was going nowhere – fast!

Whether you’re trying to do a 180-degree turnaround in your life, or just trying to change one aspect of it, the principles work exactly the same.

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish.
  2. Make a commitment to sacrifice as many unimportant things as you need to in order to make progress – every single day for as long as necessary.
  3. Take a step in faith in that direction.

Accomplishing anything worthwhile takes work.  And sometimes, the work is hard! There’s a price to pay to build a business.  There’s a price to pay to get into shape or lose weight.  There’s a price to pay to learn a new trade or skill.  Conversely, there’s a price to pay to sit back and do nothing, too.  And sometimes, you don’t realize you’ve been paying it until years later.

A New Year has begun.  What is it that you would like to accomplish in your business or personal life? Doing something because someone else thinks you should isn’t good enough.  You have to want this for yourself.  Then, decide what you’re going to sacrifice in order to daily progress.  That’s it in the nutshell.

Those are the basic principles I’ve used to grow a variety of online businesses and services since 1998.

If you decide to use these simple principles for yourself, send me an email and let me know.  I’d love to hear from you.

That’s all for now.  Here’s to new beginnings wherever you need them, and may 2010 be the year you’ll remember as the time your life truly changed for the better!

Jim Galiano

Jim Galiano is an online consultant and author who began doing business online in 1998. His consulting, marketing and publicity services are focused in the area's of SEO and website publicity. Jim has been interviewed by variety of media sources including the Wall Street Journal and CBS News in New York.

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20 thoughts on “Accomplish More by Not Setting Goals”

  1. I totally agree with the concept of rearranging priorities. We often put time limits on “goals.” Then we get discouraged when we don’t reach them. Setting new priorities will certainly take a person in the right direction, however. Possibly even surpass what might have otherwise been called a goal!

  2. I think most people are afraid to take chances and that’s why they stay in the same place year after year. They’re rather blame everyone else than take responsibility for where they are at.

  3. Deciding what you want to accomplish can be very difficult sometimes. One thing seems good one moment and doesn’t the next. Weight loss goals don’t seem to last very long, so I’d love to try to apply what you’ve written to that area.

    Happy New Year, Jim!

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  10. Hi Jim
    Hope it’s alright to call you Jim, as we are meeting for the first time.
    I found the article regarding not setting goals interesting enough to reflect on my accomplishments.
    The way I find that works for me is to decide on what outcome I desire.
    For example:
    I wanted to graduate from High School,then go to college, ending up with a MS degree.
    These were visions no one in my family could even imagine.No one had gone beyond eight grade. Plus what kind of grand ideas should come from a child was is adopted!!!

    Once the desired outcome is firmly seen in my mind then I step out into or onto the path that will take me to achieving my desired outcome. This is truly a test of my faith, commitment, and focus.
    [The focus part is especially hard for me as distractions easily find me. Then off I go LA LA LA side tracking. I find this part of me exciting because I learn so much. Which I then rationalize that I am gathering information to help me achieve my outcome.Yea right,…dream on Alice.. and Dorthy this is not Kansas – I know I have been there many times.]
    Yes I think I have a “plan” on how to get what I am after. Ha! As you know … the best laid plans: )
    It requires a great deal of discipline for me to continue forward – in an orderly fashion!!
    One additional thing which is imperative for is to allow myself to play and have fun with the side tracking I just need to remember to call myself back to point.
    I like your style of writing it feels similar to mine, so it feels comfortable. If something feels comfortable it is easier “to get it”.
    As you may have guessed I can go on …..
    Thank you Jim for the great articles.
    Success Creates Peace
    Work at Home

  11. Hi Theresa,

    Thanks for your email and post on my blog.
    I’m glad you enjoy reading it!
    Best wishes for your success online!


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