Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work for So Many People

Today I’m going to drop a giant meat clever on the
subject of goal setting and why it doesn’t work for
a LOT of people.

I’m also going to cover HOW you can achieve
greatness without goal setting. Yes, it IS possible –
and in many cases, it’s the ONLY way some people
have EVER succeeded. Not only that, but every time
these same people have set goals, they’ve failed.

Hmmm. Got your attention?


Before I go forward with you, I want to recap something I
wrote last week in my article, Success Without Positive
specifically, regarding my references to the
unconsciously successful person.

Here’s what I wrote (words in BOLD to be discussed):

“Person finds his passion. He begins to practice. HE REALIZES,
early on, he has a “talent” for what he’s doing that is above and
beyond the norm. IIDEAS COME TO HIM no matter what he’s doing.
He eats, drinks, sleeps and showers in ideas. He doesn’t know
who or what turned this on in him. It just IS. BASED UPON HIS OWN
LEVEL OF AWARENESS, he doesn’t visualize, dream, imagine or “think
positive” in any way about what he’s doing. He just does it.”

Okay, here floweth some additional material to chew on:

HE REALIZES – when you realize something, you recognize
it. And how do you recognize it? You see it in your mind’s eye.
You feel it in your body-mind. An A-HA moment is nothing more
than a clear mental image that is emotionalized.

IDEAS COME TO HIM – In what form do ideas come to us?
Via sounds? Via words? Or through mental images? If you
get an idea to write a specific book, you may hear the words
of the title ringing in your head – but you cannot write a book
and complete it without having a mental image of the thing.

unlocks the key to understanding those who ‘unconsciously
succeed.’ They don’t really know HOW they do it. They just
do it. They’re unconscious of the fact that they think in pictures,
emotionalize them and get to work. To them it’s “just do it” –
and they really don’t care about the process they’re using
because they’re too busy doing it.

Okay, now let’s go into the subject of goals and goal setting.

If you get an idea or have an idea to DO SOMETHING – you are
carrying a mental picture in your brain about it. Whether you are
consicous of this or not doesn’t matter. You ARE thinking in mental
pictures ALL DAY LONG.

Some of our mental pictures are “just do it.” Others are more along
the lines of “wait til tomorrow” or “someday I’ll.” Then there are mental
pictures of “I CAN’T BECAUSE…”

Along these same lines, everyone with a functioning brain already
has a series of goals he or she pursues each and every day. Most of these
goals, regardless of whether they’re good for you or not, are achieved.

For example, each day, whether you’re AWARE of it or not, you have a
goal to eat food and drink fluids. Before each meal that you’re making
or buying for yourself, you form mental pictures of WHAT you want to
eat. These images get emotionalized – and then you either prepare or
buy the food.

Meal over. Goal completed.

Next, your goal is to watch tee-vee. You plop your rumpus on the couch
and begin watching – once again, unconscious of the fact that your brain
thinks about doing what you’re currently doing before you do it.

It’s on autopilot.

Next, you want to make a phone call to speak with your friend. The image
of your friend comes to mind, you get charged up about calling her, and
you do.

Somewhere along the lines you may have come up with the idea to get

Oh boy. This is a BIG IMAGE – and it is very highly emotionalized and
charged. So much so that guess what? You probably don’t take out
a yellow pad and write the goal. Nor do you craft the proposal lines
in writing. Nor do you write out a plan of action. Nor do you read this
goal outloud each day – along with the plan.

All you’re aware of is getting the idea, feeling a ton of emotion swirling
within – and the next thing you know you might be doing insane and oftentimes
idiotic things to make an big impression to your proposed bride in your proposal.

Even if you’re Mr. Shy, you will do things you would never do otherwise.


So the question to me isn’t whether or not you have goals. It’s whether or not
you will perform at your best by “setting goals.”

Based upon my own discoveries of my specific achievement processes – as well
as many of those whom I coach, there is no ONE WAY to achieve an objective.

Here are some of the WAYS I’ve found to be valid:

1. Some people MUST put their goals in writing, create a plan and do their best
to folow that plan.

2. Some people only need to write a few key words about their goal and hang
it somewhere.

3. Others put NOTHING in writing. The goal/project/idea/whatever is in their
mind and no one can stop them from thinking about it or taking action to get
it accomplished.

4. Then there are those who have simple yet profound goals to “improve a little
each day” in some activity they really like doing. They don’t have a written goal
to be #1 in the whirld, nation, city or state – but by living in the NOW and taking
care of the process involved in their NOW, they accomplish things that those with
written goals cannot and will not reach.

5. And let us remember that everyone is achieving goals everyday based upon
the mental images in mind and the actions taken. Naturally, some goals, like
using drugs and alcohol to excess, are negative goals. Nevertheless, if you
focus on them and act, you will get them done.

So what’s the takeaway from all of the above? It is EXACTLY what Dr. Maltz
wrote about in Psycho-Cybernetics.

All of us have a self-image. And we cannot go beyond it. Our self-image is
the operating system of our mind. It controls, directs and influences what
we do each and every day.

If you’re one of the unconsciously successful “just do it” types – this means
your self-image is deeply connected to doing the things that make you

If you feel blocked, if you feel like you cannot stop procrastinating, if you feel
that you’d like to succeed but “can’t” – this means your self-image is wired
for the negative. Without realizing it, your mental images are taking you
away from what you say you want.

So the next question is, why doesn’t creating written goals and plans work
for many people?

Here’s my 3-fold answer:

1. The formal setting of the goal and thinking about it takes you away from
focusing on the process that’s going to help you get it done. Ultimately,
a worthy goal is achieved by a process – not by putting it in writing.

2. When a person focuses on a specific goal, especially one with a
time frame, he often causes himself to acquire tension, and tension
is the enemy of success. With the added tension come unwanted
thoughts that cause this person, once again, to lose sight of the
process that is going to get him where he wants to go.

3. When a person uses formal goal setting, she may begin to
doubt whether or not she CAN actually achieve it. When doubt
creeps in, not to mention fear, worry and pity – you are no longer
focused on the actions that create results.

All in all, whether you achieve positively or negatively, it is based
upon your self-image – and a MAJOR part of a person’s self-image,
is whether or not you can see yourself TAKING ACTION and
doing the things you need to do in order to get the results you

If you cannot see and feel yourself involved in the process that is
going to bring you the results you seek, then you’re most likely going to
be a frustrated goal setter.

So self-image is KEY. It’s your roadmap to a better life. It’s your
internal blueprint for where you’re going.

If yours is on “autopilot success” – then congratulations.

If it’s not, and this is the case with most people, then I suggest
you fine tune it with Theatre of the Mind. Begin seeing yourself
at your best. Begin to look into what you did to achieve in the
past – and bring that REALIZATION into the present so you can
ride the “autopilot success” track for the rest of your life.

Make your goal super simple.

Make it to continually improve your self-image.

That’s it.

Focus on the process of SEEING yourself doing whatever
you love doing better and better and better.

If you’ll do this, the other goals, whether your write them out
or not – have a far greater chance of becoming reality for

Matt Furey

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