Setbacks with Goal Setting Theory - Why Goals Setting Make us Fall Flat on our Face

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We all have felt those surges of power. For a few moments, we feel as if we are inspired. The energy associated with the moment is spontaneous. We try to achieve impossible using that energy. As if it is not coming back!

1 - Spontaneous Energy is never the answer - A major Setback with Goal Setting Theory

What happens is that we end up exhausting ourselves. The energy goes out. There we are, again back at where we started from. Have you ever thought about why this happens?

This happens because of zero goals. We didn’t plan anything. This includes the spontaneous energetic moment we encounter.

Often when we fail to achieve the big pile of work that is overdue, we feel embarrassed. That funny feeling in the stomach, we all go through feeling that. What we don’t understand most often is that spontaneous energy is not a solution. It may help from time to time. In the long run, only the proper goal setting will do the trick.

2 - Small things matter... A LOT!

I will give you my example. Although I am still in my early twenties, I have found several habits that always helped me. While some impeded my progress, I became aware of my own defective behaviors. I realized a few things. Whether it is something we want to be done at the end of the day, or it is something long term, we all want to achieve that. Achieving the goals no matter how small it can be a journey. No matter if it is that of a day, or it is of a few years, the journey is a journey.

How is the journey traveled? Consider a small option like walking a few kilometers. How do you travel? You keep walking. Albeit slowly, you just keep walking.

Now imagine running in small sprints. You are only sprinting with your fullest strength. The small walk is not really an option. You must keep sprinting even if it is the end of you.

Goal 2

3 - So how do we travel? A mile per second or step by step towards destination?

Will the distance be ever traveled? Will it be covered by the approach you are using?

The simple answer is no. This approach of only sprinting is only going to cost you stamina and whole lot of time. It would have been better if you started earlier or just kept walking.

This was a real-life example. It is common sense that such a thing is not possible. Ask yourself this then. Is working within short spontaneous spans of time enough for goals? Much like emergency sprinting, will you achieve your goals? Will you cover the distance you always wanted to cover?

It is a surprise how people usually ignore real-life examples. Often the greatest set back is not the unrealistic goal, it is rather our approach. I am going to mention a few tips which I picked up from teachers and successful peers. I realized that the problem was never the apparent issue. It was our own approach to it. The greatest setbacks I found are listed below.

3.1 - Lack of Focus:

So what does it mean by lack of focus? Well, suppose you plan a big party. At the same time, make plans to get that office work done before the party starts. Other than this party, you remember that you also had to get the plumber to fix that leaking roof. It will surely mess you up.

What you will do in the end is procrastinate. This will build up a lot of stress levels. This is one of the problems with our goal-setting theory. When we focus on goal setting, we should focus on one thing at one time. Having too many things will easily overwhelm us. Give a break to that goal list. It will never be fulfilled that way. Instead, try setting one goal at one time. Not only this will give you enough practice to actually achieve goals, but it will also relieve you from being overwhelmed. This is one of the major setbacks with the goal-setting theory.

3.2 - Focus on Failures:

Our tendency to focusing on failures depends on many things. It depends on our ability to handle stress. It also depends on our way of thinking.

Consider this example. Ben set a goal to follow. He wanted to increase the earnings from his work. As a state agent, it depended on his personal dealings with customer. Ben thought for the moment the things he had to overcome. First was his anxiety. The second was his behavior. He couldn’t stand the voracious dealers and customers.

The more he focused on issues to overcome, the more confidence he lost. At the end of the day, he was burdened with a list of things he was lacking. Overcoming them seemed like forever.

Ben read somewhere to focus on positive things while keeping negative things in check. Instead of thinking that he lacked confidence, he thought of ways he could be confident. Instead of focusing on anxiety, he thought of ways to be calm.

Ben started achieving his goal of increasing his pay. He didn’t even try overcoming his defects. He, in fact, overcame them by developing their counterparts. Two couldn’t stay in the same person.

What is it you learned from Ben?

When we focus on failures, we find it easy to do so. This is one of the major setbacks with the goal-setting theory.

We find it easy to focus on what we lack. We often forget that cultivating what we need is empowering. Nothing is going to become better if you keep thinking about how your current situation is lacking good. Find ways. You have wonderful abilities as a human.


3.3 - Failure to Learn:

A philosopher said once, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Let’s say you have an attitude of never giving up. You try to achieve something big. You fail the first time. It is no big issue. You try again. You fail.

You try many times and still fail. Now is time to review yourself and your ways. Is your approach flawed? Is the goal even possible? Are you sure you aren’t aiming too high?

It is the attitude to learn and grow which is one of the most important factors in goal setting. When we fail to learn, we are setting ourselves for another failure.

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Posted By

Awais Ali  title=

An artist at heart, I use my writing skills to fuel my passion for creative expression. The blogs I write always deliver my personal touch for the topic. Other than a passionate blogger, I am also a creative fiction writer.