If Goal Setting is So Great...


If goal setting is so great, why don't more people set goals?

Why do so few people set goals? | RMi Executive Search

That's a great question! Some estimates say that fewer than 5% of people set goals. Even if that figure is off by another 15%, that's still 80% of people not setting goals. Why?

I think the #1 reason is a combination...most people don't understand the importance of setting goals and they don't know how to set their goals.

I don't know about you, but we never talked about writing things down and making a plan in my childhood. I was encouraged to do more and not to quit, but I never heard about goal setting until after college when a good friend introduced me to Zig Ziglar in the late 1980s. Yet, we find that in schools where goal-setting programs have been introduced, young people become excited about goal-setting…they have a more positive outlook toward school, take responsibility for their education, and have greater confidence about themselves and about their futures. Encourage your children to set worthwhile and realistic goals from an early age.

Another reason for not setting goals is fear of rejection or criticism.

Many people hold back from setting worthwhile goals because they have found that every time they do set a goal, somebody tells them that they can’t achieve it. One of the first things that you must learn when you begin setting goals is to keep your goals to yourself. Only share your goals with others who are committed to achieving goals of their own and who really want to see you succeed and accomplish your goals.

Fear of failure also causes many people not to set or strive for their goals.

Unfortunately, most people don't recognize that failure is an indispensable prerequisite for success. Most of the great successes in our history have been preceded by great failure. Remember the great inventor, Thomas Edison...he failed more than 10,000 times before finding the perfect filament for the light bulb. How about Abraham Lincoln...he suffered a nervous breakdown, failed at business, and was defeated in 8 various elections before being elected the 16th President of the United States. In doing research for his classic book The Law of Success (1900s), Napoleon Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most successful men and women in America. Each of them expressed that they had achieved their greatest successes just one step beyond the point of their greatest failures. Perhaps this was the birth of the saying, "Don't quit before the miracle." REMEMBER: A key to succeeding through goal-setting is expecting temporary setbacks, obstacles and challenges as inevitable parts of the goal-achieving process.


Finally, sadly, the default in our society is often negative.

To achieve our full potential, we must protect ourselves from negative people and situations and constantly work to stay free of fear, self-pity, jealousy, anger and other negative, harmful emotions. This is the primary reason that it is so vitally important to read uplifting, motivational articles and books on a daily basis, and listen to positive, motivating audio programs as you drive around in your car. BE ON GUARD: It is much easier for someone to pull you down than for you to lift them up. Don't believe me? Try this some time...stand in a chair and have some one pull you down. Next, stand in the chair and try to pull them up. Which is easier? The same is true of your mental attitude!

Here's to your goal-setting and future success!

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About The Author

Ron McNutt is Senior Partner at RMi Executive Search in Charleston, SC. RMi provides executive recruiting and executive coaching for companies in the Carolinas, Southeast and across the United States.