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Top 7 Pitfalls of Goal-Setting & What You Must Do Instead

By Denise Corcoran

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GOAL ACHIEVEMENT…TURBO-CHARGED STYLE!: Top 7 Pitfalls of Conventional Goal Setting Techniques and What You Must Do Instead to Achieve Powerful, Compelling Outcomes

NEWS FLASH! To all success-minded business owners and leaders … “Traditional goal-setting – as toted in millions of books, seminars and expensive programs -- just doesn’t work!"

” Yes, that’s s right. The likelihood is that the way you have been setting goals is actually the very reason why you are not achieving goals. How do I know?

Be honest with yourself. How many goals have you set in the last year in which …

• you did not take action on?

• you gave blood, sweat and tears to achieve with little results to show for it?

• you lost your focus or motivation to keep going?

The good news is: through the tools of NLP (NeuroLinguisticProgramming), you can learn the most powerful goal-setting techniques of top achievers to create powerful compelling outcomes in your business.

Let’s first take a look at the top 7 pitfalls of traditional goal-setting … and how the new turbo-charged techniques can ignite your most ambitious goals into high velocity results.


    Vagueness is deadly in any business, especially in the area of goal-setting. Vague goals create vague, if any,results. When you write your goals in specific, precise language,your subconscious mind, which is the part of you that actualizes your goals, gets busy in the “how” and drives all its energies toward accomplishing your goals.

    “I want to earn more money” or“I want my employees to be more productive” is like speaking greek to the subconscious mind. It doesn’t know how to interpret what you want. Instead, a more precise goal is stated as: “I want to earn $100,000” or “I want my employees to get out their reports by 3pm daily.” That goal is precise, specific and measurable. Now the subconscious mind will go to work and keep you focused, until you get to that end result.


    Most people set their goals in a vacuum. They set goals on what they think they want, rather than on what they really, really want. Ie., goals that will motivate them and create meaning and fulfillment in their businesses and lives.

    The secret: Ensure that you are defining goals congruent with your most important values. Values are your subconscious drivers that motivate you to do or not do anything.

    Eg., let’s say you set the goal: “I want to make $100,000. Yet family, fun and recreation are your most important values. If your goal is not congruent with your top values, you will produce marginal results with that goal. Your subconscious mind will always drive you to take actions and decisions that feed your most important values.

    Always,always ask “why is this goal important for me to achieve?” It's a “power question” that will link your goals with your values.


    It has been said that a “goal is a dream with a deadline.” Without a deadline, it’s likely that achieving your goal exists only vaguely sometime in the future. “I want to achieve $100,000” lacks any sense of direction. The old “someday” syndrome kicks in and your subconscious mind takes a nap, thinking it has all the time in the world.

    A goal with a time deadline instead alerts the subconscious mind that you are ready to take action, focus your energies and achieve your desired outcome within a certain timeframe. IE., “I want to earn $100,000 by December 31,2006” is a goal that creates a sense of urgency and puts you in momentum..


    In NLP, we always check for the “ecology” of achieving a certain goal. Ie., does achieving your goal conflict with other areas of your life? Does it negatively effect others? Does it negatively impact the planet?

    In today’s high stress,cooker pressured business world, business owners and leaders often pursue goals that cost them in other areas of their life. In some cases, serious consequences – such as divorce, heart attacks,loss of friends, etc. As management guru, Steven Covey, reminds us:“It’s one thing to move up the ladder. It’s another thing to find out your ladder is against the wrong wall.”

    Always check your goal’s consequences. Ask yourself: “Does the goal conflict with any other area of my life?” “If I achieve my goal, does it create win/win or win/lose outcomes?”


    Stating the outcome in future tense keeps you in that hoping, wishing state. A state in which all your fears and doubts creep in. You begin to hear those nasty inner voices, eg., “you’ve got to be kiddin'. You’re a loser.” “Why bother! You’re fail anyway.”

    When you write your goal in present tense, you bypass those inner voices. Why? Because the subconscious mind does not know the difference between that which is imagined and that which is real. Writing the goal “as if it already happened” sets a strong inner intention and decision that the goal is already achieved, at least in your mind. Thus, your goal becomes more compelling and achievable.

    Eg., instead of stating your goal as “Iwant to earn $100,000 by December 31, 2006,” use present time language to make it more compelling and real:

    “It is now December 31,2006. I have successfully accomplished my goal of earning $100,000 ….” Yeah! Now your mind is cheering you on .


    This one secret is worth its weight in gold! No other goal-setting technique incorporates this powerful secret. It is the difference that makes the difference between mediocre results and extraordinary outcomes.

    Your evidence procedure is your “proof”statement that your goal is already achieved. How will you know when you have gotten your desired outcome? What is the last step that needs to happen to ensure you goal is achieved?

    Use sensory based language to make your proof statement compelling and real. That is, what will you see, hear, feel that proves you have accomplished your goal?

    Eg., your goal statement with an evidence procedure: “It is now December 31,2006. I have successfully earned $100,000 in income this year. I know it because (proof statement) I am looking at my 2006 financial statement with a big grin on my face as, I hear my wife congratulating me for a job well done.” BINGO!


    As Walt Disney said, “You can have the most beautiful dream in the world,yet it takes people to build it.” Trying to accomplish your goals on your own is the hard way.

    Goals, as defined above, along with a success team give you the fuel and the leverage to achieve big audacious goals that once seemed impossible. Whether you are an executive trying to get your team to rally behind your goals or an entrepreneur wanting the support of like minded business owners,the critical factor is to make sure you link your goals and vision with what each member on your team wants to achieve.

    “How can I assist my team members to self actualize through the accomplishment of my goals? How can I help them get what they really want?”

Denise Corcoran - CEO, The Empowered Business (tm) - assists CEOs, executives and business owners in taking a quantum leap from the ordinary to extraordinary … from unrealized dreams to mastering their destiny … from slow growth to exponential results. A business & leadership coach, strategic consultant and Master NLP Practioner, Denise's unique "inside out" approach provides deep transformation and lasting change in you, your organization and your results. Her latest e-book: "The Mindset of Greatness: 21 Principles to Becoming an Unstoppable Woman ... Oprah Winfrey Style!" at http://www.EmpoweredBusiness.com.

Subscribe to her monthly ezine - The Empowered Business (tm) - and learn the legendary secrets of top business achievers at [http://www.empoweredbusiness.com/Newsletter_signup.html].

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Denise_Corcoran

Article Submitted On: September 19, 2006