Thoughts on Setting Goals

If you’re in any kind of leadership (even just leading yourself), you probably have done some reflecting or evaluating your past and looking ahead to plan what’s next.

Turning over a new year is always one of those times where people hope to make changes in their lives and commit to something that will make them a better person.

Here’s the deal, though… we want to be better people, but we always look at our actions and what we want to change about ourselves. We strive to run more, strive to eat better, strive to delegate more in business, strive to have better boundaries with work relationships, and many other things.

Those are all wonderful things. But the main question should be: who do I need to be in order to make my goals become a reality? This truth has hit me hard the past couple days.

Tim Ferriss has a podcast where he interviewed AJ Jacobs – a fellow self-experimenter alongside Tim Ferriss (here’s the podcast – it’s a long one), and asked, “what bad advice do you hear people giving around you.” Jacobs responds something like, “be yourself. What if you’re an a$$hole? That’s bad advice we don’t want that person to be themselves…” Ouch. What if that’s me?

If we’re honest with ourselves (it’s often hard to be, because let’s face it, we like ourselves), we all have weaknesses and need to grow. We don’t change our eating habits because we like sugar, and it tastes good (am I addicted to sugar?). We don’t exercise because we like to be comfortable, or because we think that our time needs to be spent working on something else rather than caring for ourselves. OK – I’m revealing my faults here…

The reality is that change is hard, and even those of us who like change, we mostly like it when our environments around us change – not when we have to change.

The next time you reflect on your past and look ahead to your future – look at your successes and your failures. Look ahead thinking about not only what you have to do, but who you have to be, in order to make those goals a reality.

Let’s embrace change in ourselves. I think the world will be a better place if we start there (cue song).


*Want a great resource for evaluating and looking ahead? This is what spawned this idea in me… Donald Miller’s podcast / blogpost and resource called “3 Reasons Why You Should Fire Yourself This Week.” It’s brilliant. 

Leave a Reply