(#202) Obstacles to Goal Achievement

Stating or writing a goal is the easy part.
The work is found in making a plan, executing that plan,
and re-calibrating along the way.

Information on goal setting can be found in the business success literature, leadership manuals, student success classes and textbooks, and coaching seminars.  It has received a lot of space on this blog as well. At times we can find ourselves inundated with advice on goal setting.

This coming Friday, I will be facilitating a webinar on the topic of goals.  More poignantly, I will address the need to go beyond goal setting to goal achieving.  Stating or writing a goal is the easy part.  The work is found in making a plan, executing that plan, and re-calibrating along the way.

Image: StuartMiles/ FereeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: StuartMiles/

One small piece of the webinar will examine why it is difficult for so many people to move beyond the setting to the achieving stage.  Let me give you the shortlist. Perhaps you have experienced one or more of these:

  •        Too big?
    •        Simply stated, you have set your sites much too high—at least for where you are right now.  The student who says “I will raise my English grade from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ in one week” is delusional. So is the person who has never had a regular workout regimen and now vows to work out 2 hours per day for 5 days every week. Please don’t misread this.  Setting big goals—goals that force us to stretch separate the good from the great (as Jim Collins has said). This might be the place to break those huge goals into smaller and more manageable short-term goals. Start small…and stay steady!
  •        Too quick?
    •        Connected to the item above:  You may want to do too much too soon.  I see this every semester with students who come back to school some 10 or more years after high school. They believe they have “wasted valuable time” and will now take five classes per term (while continuing to work and take care of a family). Unfortunately, they do not have (yet) the academic chops to do this.  Remember, small and steady will win the race.  Overreaching and over-promising (even yourself) can have devastating time and confidence consequences.  Don’t kill your own momentum before you give it a chance to build.
  •        Too little discipline—but lots of positive words?
    •        To accomplish any goal discipline is required.  Talking will not get you to the result.  Consistent effort will.  Positive thinking and self-talk can be powerful. But there has to be substance with the words. No discipline, no plan, no realism, and no action = no goal achievement. I often meet people with lots of superlative words and positive thoughts. (Like, “God will provide for me.”  Well, OK. And didn’t God provide you talents that you have to use?) I had a supervisor who used to always say, “Absolutely fantastic!” whenever he was asked how he was doing.  He wanted to create a positive, can-do, excellent work atmosphere. Unfortunately, when everything is always “absolutely fantastic” the words lose the impact—and everything becomes rote and average at best.  What the person was attempting to create got lost by the redundancy and monotony of the mantra. I recommend Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining Americafor an interesting view.
  •        Too removed from passion?
    •        Is your goal moving you? Are you excited about it? Maybe the reason you are not making progress is that you are not connected emotionally to the goal. Is it your goal or someone else’s?

      Image: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

      Image: Stuart Miles/

  •        Too tough on themselves?
    •        Don’t beat yourself up.  More than likely, you will stumble.  Recalibrate and move on. Again, slow and steady.
  •        Too fearful—of yourself and your critics?
    •        But I might fail!  What will “they” say? Yep, you might stumble–and the critics might be ready to pounce. And you might succeed! If you don’t take a step forward, how do you get beyond where you are now?

      Video recommendation for the week:

      Big goals can scare us. We feel vulnerable.  Brené Brown reminds us how this can be motivating. The doers get things done…the critic doesn’t.

Goals are powerful motivators. Setting them is the first step.  Are they realistic? Are they connected to whom you are as a person? What are you doing to get to the goals? Disciplined movement and continually re-calibration can help you stay on track.

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

 (c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in Discipline, Goals, vulnerability and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to (#202) Obstacles to Goal Achievement

  1. marianbeaman says:

    You got it, Steve. I like your statement about goals. Right now I am in the “re-calibrating your plan” arena. One of our T/L Conference luncheon speakers referred to this idea by mentioning that one should expect that along the way your original plan may change. And often for the better.


  2. Yep! Seldom does the plan go as planned! 🙂 What is the old joke about making God laugh? Just tell him you have it all planned out! 🙂


  3. Pingback: (#240) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2014 In Review | Steve Piscitelli's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s