Similar to the week focused on dreams, attention today turns to overdoing a good thing. I asserted that dreaming couldn’t be over done – go ahead and dream big! Goal setting, however, can have some drawbacks.
There exists a mound of research supporting the effectiveness of setting challenging and specific goals. That said, several researchers from Harvard Business School have outlined the darker side of goal setting in their working paper, Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting. And for the most part, I have to agree.
The writers assert that setting goals too specific or two challenging can result in inappropriate risk taking, unethical behavior, and narrow focus on quantity instead of quality, to name a few described side effects. Overall, these issues seem to arise more in a corporate setting where goals have been given to individuals versus the goals that we may set for ourselves.
Can we take goals too far on our own?
Unfortunately the answer is – of course we can. Particularly when we set too many goals at once, our focus tends to move to just one of our goals when we can’t focus on them all.
But hey, you say, I have a lot of stuff I want to get done!
Our goals become difficult to pursue when we set too many at once that require self-control. These goals use up our daily allotment of self-control (really, we only have so much according to research done by Roy Baumeister, described in Creating Your Best Life). If we have too many, we simply spread ourselves too thin.
So pick a goal or two – and make sure they are exactly what you want to achieve as you work your way toward reaching them. Goals are a powerful tool for each of us to use and understanding just how powerful they can be is an important piece to remember as we each work to define our goals.
Also good to remember is that the goals we reach and how we achieve them become a part of who we are. Because of this, the goal needs to be right and the path to get there needs to be upright and in line with the values of the goal setter.
Keeping all this in mind harnesses the power of setting challenging and specific goals.
Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn