Is it Goal Setting or just Wishful Thinking?

by Greatness HQ

To a person with a progressive mindset, goal setting represents an opportunity for continued growth and achievement. It’s like being able to create a new beginning any time and for any reason.

By nature, some of us are hardwired to want to keep making progress in all areas of our life. We enjoy the process of setting our sights on something, and then pursuing that desired outcome until it is realized. There is a special kind of gratification that comes from challenging ourselves to meet a higher standard and then rising to meet that challenge.

Don’t let goal setting be reduced to wishful thinking

While we are at it, let’s also acknowledge that the other side of that coin is the fact that even when fueled by good intentions, many peoples goal setting efforts fail to become a reality. What can we do avoid that scenario? First, we need to recognize that effective goal setting produces measurable results while wishful thinking is just a fantasy.

Today, I want to talk about various ways of measuring your results while working toward a goal. You see, no matter how thorough you are with the initial goal setting process , if you don’t have a way to keep track of your progress you will never reach the finish line. Instead, your good intentions will quickly be reduced to nothing more than wishful thinking. I want to help you avoid that outcome.

Different ways to measure progress

There are basically two ways to keep track of your progress. One way will help you stay motivated and the other will discourage you. The most common way to measure progress is to compare where you are to your ideal outcome. For every goal there is usually an ideal outcome that you are striving for. Knowing what that outcome is helps to establish your direction, but it’s not a good way to keep track of your progress. Here’s why!

As you move toward your ideal outcome it will change. It’s like moving towards the horizon. Even though you are covering ground, you never seem to get any closer to the horizon. Ideal outcomes are just as elusive as the horizon. Even when you are making headway, your concept of your ideal outcome tends to change and evolve in proportion to your progress.

Regardless of the fact that your goal setting efforts are producing results, your position with relation to that ideal outcome never improves because it is constantly moving away from you. It’s far better to use your ideal outcome like a compass pointing you in the right direction. Ideal outcomes can help you stay on a particular heading, but that’s about it.

Here’s a more reasonable approach

A far better way to measure your forward movement is to compare where you are to where you started. This type of comparison makes it very easy to see how far you have come. It also helps you avoid the trap of comparing your progress to someone else’s. Unless you are involved in some kind of competition, it’s best to assess your progress on its own merit and not in comparison to someone else.

As you reach predetermined  milestones on your goal setting journey, you can also compare where you are now in proximity to where you want to end up. And looking back at the progress you’ve made will motivate you to keep moving toward your goal. Progress is encouraging. So, having a way to gauge your progress provides enough motivation to move you to the next milestone.

There’s more to goal setting and just measuring progress

Obviously, there is much more involved in successful goal setting than just finding a way to measure your progress, but it’s a vital part of the process. Goal setting is a multifaceted life skill, with several vital aspects. And we’ll talk about some of those other aspects in future articles. For now, I invite you to examine the way that you currently measure your progress and make any needed changes.

While you are at it, don’t forget to give yourself credit for the progress you’ve already made. Reflecting on how far you’ve already come will likely inspire and motivate you to to keep moving in the direction of your ideal outcome.

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