Goals often fail to materialise for a number of reasons, among these reasons are:
- Failure to follow through
- Failure to take action
- Having so many goals we don't know what direction to go in
- Having goals that don't turn us on or have no compelling outcome
- Having goals that are unrealistic
- Having goals that are too easy to achieve and don't stretch us: we may achieve them, but they don't benefit us as much as they could.
When it comes time to set out goals we have to get real and do some research especially when it comes to the cost of our "thing goals". If I want my company to earn £100 000 a year but set a goal to buy a £750 000 house next year, I may well achieve the first goal, but am likely to fail in the second as it is going to be based on my income which I've targeted at £100 000. The bank in very unlikely to give me a mortgage of 7.5 times my annual income. So, how do I resolve these in-congruent goals? I still want a mansion, but am not earning enough!
Simple really: your goals have to be convergent. You have to have a converged vision of your outcomes that are supported by all your goals. All your goals should work in concert to achieve the vision you have. Goals that do not work towards this vision should be discarded, reworded order erred till your vision changes. I'm not a particularly religious guy any-more but I used to be quite a serious Mormon. They have a way of expressing the single-mindedness required of church members: you must press forward steadfastly with an eye single to the glory of god.
Well, I'm not saying you should become a Mormon or have your eye focused purely the glory of god, but what I am saying is that your goals should be designed to be convergent on your vision. Note that I say designed, not randomly brain-stormed. I know many times when you set goals they are a list of things you want to have, do, go to, see or be and they are normally stated almost randomly as you think of them. In fact, a lot of goal-setting books, audio books, seminars and courses will help you think of the things that you want to achieve, have, or do by encouraging you to list a bunch of things that come to your mind, then select the top three from the list and think of ways to achieve them. I think this approach is a mistake as it often results in divergent goals that do not support the vision of the life you want to live and the person you want to be.
I believe that when you have identified the things you want to do, own or be, you should choose the ones that all focus on your vision of who and what you want to be. These goals, and the pursuit of them will shape your life for the next few years, so make sure they a the goals that will support your vision of a life well lived and your general happiness. Design your goals to support each other and your desired outcome. That way you will press forward with an eye single to your desired outcome (or vision), rather than have a bunch of divergent goals that eat your energy and are possibly counter-productive, or at least so in-congruent as to guarantee your failure.
So, looking back at our examples, if I want to earn at least £100 000 and live in £750 000 mansion in the country, I have to have a few very specific goals:
- Save £300 000 in the next 5 years
- Earn £100 000 per year
- Buy my house in 5 years
- Earn £200 000 a year and buy my house next year!
Now to figure out how to make that kind of money; but that's a subject for another post.