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Choose Your Direction
For most of us, every New Year brings us to thoughts of New Goals. This year, I’d like for you to try a New Approach.
“Experts” will tell you to set clear, defined, measurable goals… short-range, mid-range and long-range goals… and don’t forget to put a date on them – a deadline. So you’ll list out things like Lose 20 pounds by 3/30/08; Volunteer at Soup Kitchen by 2/29/08, Learn to Speak Spanish by 9/30/08, Take Technical Training Class by 7/31/08, Clean Garage by 4/30/08. Then, as the year goes along, IF you remember, you’ll look at these goals and “work on” them. Some you might even accomplish.
But, as I wrote about last time, my resolution for 2008 is to help you bring Intrinsic (infinite) value to who you are and what you do. So, I’m going to ask you to take a new approach this year…
DON’T WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS!! (yet)
What? That may sound silly coming from someone who is a coach. I mean, shouldn’t I be helping people to accomplish their goals? Allow me to explain.
Yale Goals Study Never Happened
Have you heard this story told by motivational speakers, coaches and personal development gurus? In the annals of personal goal-setting, no story outranks the Yale University Class of 1953.
The story goes like this: In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale’s graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%. Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 — and found that the 3% with written goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined!
It’s a coach’s and motivational speaker’s dream anecdote: a vivid Ivy League success story that documents the cause-and-effect relationship between goals and personal success.
It’s convincing! It’s compelling! It’s also completely untrue!
After an exhaustive search of Yale alumni archives and in-depth investigations into the source of the study (as quoted by Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and others), there is absolutely no evidence that this study EVER took place.
You can’t always believe what the gurus say, even if they say it over and over and over again. That’s why we depend on science.
Using Your Brain
Let’s look at how your brain handles dreams and goals. When we focus on our dreams, our brain focuses on and imagines our lives as if we have already accomplished them. We focus on what it will be like when, what it will feel like when we are, for example, 20 pounds lighter. As we imagine and focus on this over and over again, our mind actually believes we are 20 pounds lighter (even before we’ve done anything like alter our diet or exercise). So, when we wake up next week and we aren’t any lighter, our brain is confused.
Looking for the rest of this article?
This newsletter was published as part of Traci’s first book, “Breaking Free: Leading the Way” and published as a paperback and ebook. Due to ebook publishing restrictions, the content had to be removed.
If you would like to read the rest of this article as well as many others that deal with personal leadership development, click here.