Goal Setting: The #1 Reason it’s NOT Working For You

Goal SettingToday I'm starting a series on goal setting. I don't know how long this series will be. At least 3 articles.

Before you head off in search of a more "practical" article like, "How to Get 1 Million Followers on Twitter, or "Step-by-Step to $10,000 in the Next 30 Days," give me one more paragraph.

The best "how to build a profitable business" advice in the world won't get you there if you don't know your exact destination, and have an accurate map to get you there. Your "destination" is your goal. And if you aren't consistently setting and meeting goals, you need to read further. 

The good news is, if you're failing at this whole "goal setting" thing, it's not your fault. It's just that you're being taught to go about it the wrong way. Today, we'll start to change that.

The biggest reason you're failing to grow the 7-figure business of your dreams is that you're not setting realistic and achievable goals. 

You're concentrating on the Prize, and not the Process. 

We'll talk about that more in just a minute. But let's start from the beginning.

Step One: What's NOT in the Secret Sauce

But the first step in stopping the cycle of failing at goal setting is to understand this ~ the secret sauce in your business is not more Facebook fans. It's not a lower Alexa rank for your website, a higher Klout score, or figuring out how to get Lady Gaga to retweet you. 

All of those things, and more, will come. In fact, they will have a funny way of taking care of themselves once you get this goals thing down the right way.

Step Two: Get Beyond the "Prize" Mentality

So you're concentrating on the prize, and not the process. Because that's what you're taught to do. I know you've read a book, listened to an audio, or attended a seminar where you've done goal setting. 

With few variations, it goes something like this. Take out a sheet of paper. In 5 minutes, write down everything you want to be, do and have. Don't filter your list. Dream big. It doesn't matter whether you really believe it's within your reach or not.

Then, prioritize those things, give them a timeline, and get to work on making them happen. 

This process can be very motivating. It can throw you into a frenzied, adrenaline-filled fit of non-stop work on your business for a few days. 

But, within a week or so, you've got a list of "goals" that you've lost and/or forgotten about, and you're feeling not better, but worse, because you've failed at something yet again.

Here's why. Your "goals" list is really a list of "prizes." Your goal is the goldfish you win at the carnival after you become skilled enough to toss 3 balls into the little cups. The problem is, having a goal to win the goldfish does nothing to improve your accuracy in getting the balls in the cups.

Same thing applies to the goal setting you are likely engaged in now. One of the prizes on my list is to take my kids on a no-expense-spared trip to the Fiji Islands. To do that, I need to increase the monthly revenue in my business. But, having the Fiji prize on my list in no way helps me figure out how to make more money.

You've got to stop using your prize as the basis for your daily actions in your business, because there's no connection between the two. 

Step Three: Figure Out the Process 

I'm not trying to deprive you of the joy of having a goals list as you know it. I've got one that I read daily. But, it's called my "prize" list. And, I don't delude myself into thinking it's a basis for my daily actions. It's merely a motivation to get out of bed.

Your real goals list – the one that never leaves your side, the one that drives your actions – has got to be made up of the process. And the process consists of what it takes to improve your skill in throwing the ball in the cup. What you've got to do to make the money to win the Fiji prize. Next time we'll talk about how to figure out the process, and where to go from there.

What's your take on goal setting? Do you have a list of written goals? If not, why? If you do, are you consistently meeting them? Please share with me in the comments.


  1. Goal setting is a huge deal in getting what and where we want in life. There cannot be an argument there. One thing I have understood over the years is for the first timer who may not leave resistance aside, pay closer attention to the latter ones on the list as once you get in the groove and have fun with it, the REAL desires start to surface…
    Oh, BTW, Fiji is one of my desires as well and has been for years!

    • I love that Suzanne, and it makes perfect sense. Once you get warmed up, you always perform better. I’d never thought of that in the context of goal setting, but will definitely be incorporating it now. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love this article, Jennifer! I especially liked when you wrote, “You’re concentrating on the Prize, and not the Process.” It’s so important to concentrate on the process and embrace it. Thanks 🙂

    • Thank you Susan, I completely agree. Embracing the process may not be as much fun initially, but the payoff certainly makes it worth the effort!


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