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The Now Habit at Work: Perform Optimally, Maintain Focus, and Ignite Motivation in Yourself and Other by Neil A. Fiore

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Chapter 8. Effective Goal Setting

The precondition for any human effort is a vision of success. Man is never so strong, so enterprising, so endlessly resourceful, as when his aim stands clearly in front of him, to be achieved by a definite number of determined strides.

Colin Wilson

Having a goal is easy; after all, it's what you want. But wanting the goal is only the first step. Translating a goal into action steps that lead to success takes more effort than just wanting the goal. Achieving your goals will take drive, passion, persistence, awareness of your weaknesses, and a backup plan when things don't work out on your schedule.

Let's look at why typical goal setting fails and what it takes to set goals that have a greater chance of being effective.

Typical goal setting is dangerous because it creates:

  • Anxiety when you try to reach a goal that's in the future—an imaginary place that your body cannot get to—leaving you with energy that's stuck and can't be used now

  • Depression when you compare yourself with where you think you should be—another imaginary place you can't get to—and conclude that where you are and who you are is bad, or at least inferior to the imaginary place and person you should be

  • Low self-esteem when you procrastinate, fail, and feel guilty about not progressing toward your goal

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed with too many goals and to do lists that you attempt to tackle all at once

  • Rigid schedules that will conflict with the reality of life's schedule and, therefore, ...

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