5 Reasons We Stink at Setting Goals

Last Updated Sep 26, 2008 5:47 PM EDT

2292020964_604ca902a5_m.jpgYou've heard it a million times: you have to set goals to get anywhere in life, goals help you stay focused, goals are important, blah blah blah. I've even spouted that stuff at you by trying to tell you how to set better goals and how to improve your focus on those goals. Yet it still seems difficult, if not impossible, for many of us to actually get around to nailing down our goals. Why?

Gina Trapani over at Lifehacker posits five reasons that goal-setting makes you cringe.

  1. Life goals are highly personal, even embarrassing. If people ask you what you want to do with your life, or where you see yourself in five years, you'd probably prefer to run and hide instead of reply.
  2. There's a paradox of choice. We hear so much about people doing amazing and wonderful things. And with so much greener grass out there, choosing one thing can feel like you're not choosing a million others.
  3. Fear of failure. Yep, that old specter. You hate falling flat on your face. Worse, you hate people witnessing that fall.
  4. Procrastination. Why do something today when you can always do it tomorrow?
  5. Delusions of immortality. You have a sense that you'll live forever. There's no rush; you can decide on your goals tomorrow. Or next year. Or someday.
She's got some great insights here. I see myself in three of these five reasons (and no, I'm not telling you which ones). But maybe an awareness of why I'm not setting better goals -- I do have some, they're just not well-articulated or planned -- can help me overcome my reluctance and take a little more ownership of my life path.

How about you? What's keeping you from setting, and reaching, your goals?

(image by Kamal H. via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.