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HOT TOPIC Is goal setting B#LLSH@t?!

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Does goal setting work?

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Get To The Choppa!
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Dec 31, 2015
Some food for thought now:

Isn't goal setting by all definition a system?

In my opinion goals are subordinate to habits (or 'execution'/'process' using TMF terminology). But you need to know where you want to be. So they give you the direction. Sounds like inverted Inception ('Goal within a habit, within a habit within a goal ;) )

It's sometimes called a 'mission', esp. in man's life. But without the habit it's dead....


Aug 28, 2013
I don't know a lot, didn't read all those books. But I have my opinion. Fixing a goal is better than following habits. The problem with habits, it's that it depends on external circonstances. Exemple, I take mine, sorry for that. I don't like sports, I wanted to walk and forced myself to go to the community center, I went into an habit, for maybe 2-3 months. The first snow storm which came with school closed broke my habit, meaning that after that 1-2 days of not going to walk, I wasn't able to come back to my routine. My routine was broken. I think that it's easier to work with a goal that depends more on your will, that following an habit that any external circonstances can break. A routine or habits allows some break to your brain, it's its advantage, and human beings work a lot by routine and habit. When you are driving, it's routine, when somethings out of the ordinary arrives, your brain takes over. Routine doesn't allow you to face contrary circonstances. The reason for which those children died on a hot car, parents are following their routine.
Me, I prefer fixing a goal, and I would like to sit, to brainstorm, to be able to execute it. Is it routine? I don't think so. It's for me discipline. English is not my first language, and there is not a huge difference between habit and routine in my language. So not sure if I answer well.

The EL Maven

No longer life's passenger
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Dec 3, 2015
On the other hand, you hear people say goal setting is bullshit as most people will never achieve them and that you should be more concerned with habits. Think compound effect and Scott Adams.

Don't let Adams fool you.

For a long time, every single day, he got out a piece of paper and wrote the following 20 times
"I will become a world famous cartoonist"

Perhaps it's an issue of semantics, but I'd conclude he not only used a goal, he made sure it was on his mind every single day.


Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 4, 2016
I find it weird to separate the two.

Actions without some end in mind aren't really actions. That's just mindless behavior. Movement.

Goals without actions aren't really goals, they're just fantasies.

Is there a genuine question here, or is this one of those things people like to argue about on the internet to avoid doing something worthwhile?

Read Scott Adams book "How to fail at almost anything and win big".

He goes in depth about how you need to create systems and routines which will better serve you in the long run rather than goal setting. Its also mentioned in the compound effect about creating daily habits rather than goals.


Platinum Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jun 12, 2018
I’m a believer in goal setting but do believe it’s difficult to quantify

Will goal setting work for everyone? No. Because not everybody will have the plan or motivation to achieve them.

Is it possible for it to work for everybody? Of course. It’s asinine to think somebody is better off with no direction in life than with a plan.

Same can be said for affirmations, encantations etc. They can be very powerful as a supplement but on their own, with no action, are virtually useless.

Somebody who sets goals and doesn’t achieve them may believe goal setting doesn’t work, but it is the goal setter that failed, not the goal setting.


New Contributor
Apr 20, 2018
you have to attach strong feeling of pleasure to your goals and habits that will take you to your goal and strong feelings of pain to the habits that makes you drift

rogue synthetic

Gold Contributor
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Aug 2, 2017


Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
I live my life by goals big & small. But, each is broken down into "doable" baby steps. Those baby steps have created a lifetime of habits. And they have stacked up over the years into accomplishments that I never thought I could do.

I think I know why you are opposed to goals. Goals that are too big to break down into a step by step plan are impossible dreams -- not goals. And those dreams lead to paralysis of the mind and spirit. In your heart of hearts, your soul knows that you can't complete your stated goals. So, they become BS to you.

This is a form of self-defeating behavior. You are giving yourself the perfect excuse not to try. Set a daily goal and make a plan to do that one thing. The goals aren't failing you. You are failing to make a plan that you can reasonably follow to accomplish a reasonable goal.


Digital Marketer
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Mar 11, 2011
Planet Earth
This is like saying the secret to success is "work hard" or the secret to business is "buy low sell high".

Things ain't so simple, nothing is absolute, goals, systems, hard work, intelligence, human capital, everything plays a part in one's success, it's only the degree of each that's up to the individual.


Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jul 29, 2018
Here's a thought - And it's part of what I teach for a living, it has always served me and my clients well.

Long term goals are like mirages - They're something to aim for, but as you start to get closer, you realisei that goal wasn't QUITE ideal as ideal as you at first thought, so you need to change direction slightly.

I.e. long term goals should be malleable because they're not perfect. I believe a lot of people fail by setting long term goals and trying to stick to them religiously even though the goalposts should have moved long ago.

Short term goals - Everyone screws up because they set goals they personally aren't in control of.

i.e. "By this time next month I'll have signed up 3 new clients"

You can't EVER succeed in goals like that consistently, and so you'll emotionally burn out (which is what I suspect is happening to the OP).

Instead, you should set goals that you are 100% in control of.

i.e. "By this time next month, I'll have called 200 potential prospects out of the phone book"

Goals like this lock you into prodcutivity, and if by the end of the month you aren't getting the results you'd hoped, then for the next month you set modified goals that you're in complete control of that may get more desireable results.

i.e. "By this time next month, I'll have called all of my previous clients to ask about referrals, and I'll call everyone they refer me to".

I actually meet with my business partner every week for 3 hours where we lock down the goals we're going to achieve for the week

Every single goal we set is one that we personally are in control of that don't rely on other people in any way. This way you can establish a habit of ALWAYS completing your goals.

That's one big way I always maintain momentum.

Real Deal Denver

Gold Contributor
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Jan 13, 2018
Denver, Colorado
This is like saying the secret to success is "work hard" or the secret to business is "buy low sell high".

Things ain't so simple, nothing is absolute, goals, systems, hard work, intelligence, human capital, everything plays a part in one's success, it's only the degree of each that's up to the individual.

You are right, but that's only part of the story. Success may seem elusive, but you are not missing it by much.

I don't know how to bake a cake, but I'll use that as an example anyway.

Your strengths of "working hard" is one ingredient of success. That's usually not quite enough, but it is a main ingredient.

Think if you were baking a cake, and you had the flour, sugar, eggs, and water - and you baked it. It would come out a failure. BUT you were 90% of the way there. IF you only would have added one or two SMALL ingredients, it could have been a masterpiece of success!

I have worked for years in my field, and I am only NOW reaching the STARTING POINT of the "promised land" of being very profitable. I've worked 18 years, to be exact. In that time, I've taken runs at this level of success, only to fail for one reason or another. Not fail really - let's say "gained a LOT of experience." Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. After every attempt, I learned more, and became stronger. Now I am in so much better of a position to really reach this level of success which I've been trying to attain for a very long time. And once I do reach it, that is MERELY a platform that will allow me to open doors to much bigger and better things.

But if I would have stopped baking my cake when I was so close to success, I would have never attained the level I am at now.

So yes - you are right. It's not as simple as some people make it out to be. That doesn't matter at all. Keep trying, and keep focusing on the goal.

Stay tuned for part two - just cheat. Buy a cake mix, or better yet, the cake already done. Hey - there's always different ways to skin a pig ~ But that's another story for another day.


Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 6, 2018
I'm really confused by anybody that would say goal setting is useless. How can you get anywhere without a goal? Everything you do in life is because of a goal. You cook food for lunch because your goal was to satiate yourself. You drive to the restaurant because your goal is to meet your date. You wake up and walk to the bathroom because your goal is to pee.

Without goals, you would spin around in a circle and never get what you wanted. Goals are the most important step in having a good life.

You need to have something to aim at, otherwise how on Earth do you know what you're going to do each day?

And people will try and disregard this by saying that habits this or systems that... You don't even realize that you want to use either of those tools to any use unless you have a goal that you want to reach.

A goal is merely something to aim at and strive towards, hopefully you reach it and then you set yourself another goal. If you aren't setting yourself weekly, daily, hourly goals... come on guy. Again, that's not to say that everyone who sets goals will reach them, of course that can't be the case. But I can say with 99.999% certainty, nobody has ever ended up at the top of any field without a goal. You don't just randomly get to places, you have to have a goal in mind to achieve anything.


Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Sep 23, 2014
Trinidad and Tobago
I think there is 'setting goals' and then there is 'setting realistic goals', but then, the major breakthrough comes when we carry through with the goals, and it doesn't have to be to the perfect degree, as we know the curve balls life throw can change ideals, pathways etc., but I won't say it's 100% a bad thing, ESPECIALLY if in setting the goal(s) you are continuously working on bringing it into fruition and continuously growing with it.

Now, on this forum, the type of goals we set may seem unrealistic to a lot of not-fastlane-forum-people. We have not only come to the realisation that we can pursue anything worthwhile through action, but in our pursuit, we recognise how to go after realistic aspects of these goals and how to push aside the not-so-realistic aspects that wouldn't help in achieving whatever we set out to.

MJ DeMarco

Staff member
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
Fountain Hills, AZ
Do not think you are the only one that feels that way.

I have been in the same situation as you are right now. I know how frustrating it is, but let me tell you that neither Goal-Setting nor Habit creation are bullshit. Both have a role to play if you want to achieve what you want.

Think about Goal-Setting is the roadmap you will use. It makes no sense to try to achieve something without knowing what you have to do to achieve it.

If you want to be an engineer [Silly example] and you don't know that you need to go to college, you have a big problem.

I know it's easier to say than put it into practice. But goal setting it's a must if you want to become someone that achieves constantly.

On the other hand, the building of habits that change your mindset and destroy limiting beliefs is helpful.

I created the habit of beginning my day with:
  1. Meditation
  2. Practice Affirmations [Get rid of limiting beliefs]
  3. Visualization
  4. Daily Planning [Goal-Setting for the day]
  5. Reading[At least 5 min]

I know what you are thinking, meditation? Affirmations? Visualization?

I felt the same way when I started, but I recommend you try it at least for a couple of weeks and then evaluate how you felt during that period.

They work if you commit 100% and if you are willing to change your current situation.

There's a lot of free information on everything I practice every morning. I hope this can be helpful in some way for you.

Why are you so interested in this old thread? Perhaps an affiliate link to drop later? Your post was already deleted once.


Beauty is Truth
Jan 1, 2015
Title and poll have reverse questions. Voted for the wrong answer.


New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 30, 2019
The problem I used to have was setting these immense goals with no real way of achieving them. Example, Make 100k by December 31st....when I was barely clear 35k at the time, and had no real plan to grow my income. That's when I think people fall into that negative mindset you mentioned. S.M.A.R.T goals and taking real, measurable action works. Habits the other half speaks of keep you going. Figure both out and you're on your way. Start really small and gradually scale your goals.


Gold Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 8, 2019
What is the forum's consensus on goal setting? I have a mindset problem that I have been struggling with for some time.

In one camp, you always hear about the importance of goal setting in personal development circles. Without goals, you'll be a ship without a sail, etc.,etc,. Think Anthony Robbins.

On the other hand, you hear people say goal setting is bullshit as most people will never achieve them and that you should be more concerned with habits. Think compound effect and Scott Adams.

Whenever I set a goal, I usually miss the target end date for whatever reason. I start to feel negative about myself.

Whenever I try to develop habits, it leads to action faking.

I need to fix this brain of mine, any suggestions from anyone here?
It depends. Usually shorter term goals are much more effective. Like a daily to do list.

I call the daily to do list "goals too". Technically goals are what you write down in hope of achieving.

I think it is all about review and compliance to your goals. Shorter term goals force you to do that. It is better to realise oh damn I didnt make progress for past two hours, than after 3 months when you check your goals "hey did I promise myself to lose weight 3 months ago or what?"

If you really want to go hardcore you can even create small rewards and punishment for compliance and non-compliance to adherence to your short term goals.

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Sep 29, 2019
Goal setting isn't bullshit in my opinion, but like many of these kind of things, it is just another tool that is useful(but not essential) in your quest for success. Many people set goals and never really amount to anything, and similarly there are people who don't have goals in the traditional sense at least and end up being incredibly successful. The obvious example of the latter would be Michael Singer who, from the accounts of his books at least, didn't have goals to build a business or become wealthy, and yet ended up building businesses and becoming wealthy! However, his experience of course doesn't mean that you should NOT have goals, but that ultimately, it's what works for you? Personally, I have goals and find them useful, but at the same time I'm aware that they are not absolutely essential to my success.


Read Millionaire Fastlane
Apr 3, 2021
I found Scott Adams' take on this rather strange. I know he advocates for process over goals, but in the book I read of his he also says that every time he's set a goal (like 'become a famous cartoonist') it worked!
He's apparently only used affirmations (writing the same statement multiple times a day) twice, but it worked both times!


New Contributor
Mar 10, 2021
I had the same problem. Instead of trying to focus on the outcome (goal) try to focus on the process and be possessed with it. This approached helped me a lot lately...

See your goal as your guideline. When you focus on the process (how you get there)you’ll gain more and be more happy with the results you have...


Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
Me, I prefer fixing a goal, and I would like to sit, to brainstorm, to be able to execute it. Is it routine? I don't think so. It's for me discipline. English is not my first language, and there is not a huge difference between habit and routine in my language. So not sure if I answer well.
That's really interesting. In your language, there's a huge difference between habit and routine? Tell me about that difference. In our culture and language, the two words are used very similarly. I'm thinking that I have something important to learn from you...


Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Oct 9, 2017
This is the first time in my entire adult life that I haven't had an active list of goals -- one year, five year, twenty-year, etc that I'm flat out pursuing with every fiber in my being.

I just achieved a 35-year goal during this last year. I had been trying to get out of debt for all of those years. Being in RE, it looked like an impossible dream. The people around me told me that my quest was counterproductive. I needed to use leverage to play the RE game properly. Then, when my eyes glazed over, they told me I was stupid. I nodded and went right on with my program. Their strongly expressed disapproval didn't deter me. I sold everything I didn't need or want anymore. We did the beans and rice thing to hold our expenses down while we paid and paid. I put my side businesses on hold or 86'ed them. I was very OCD and myopic about the whole thing over those last 3+ long years. I was close to the end of that goal set when the virus hit. I was terrified that I would never be able to finish my race. It was just a stone in my path. And the race went on to the end of that track and the finished line.

But, my personal reaction to beating that goal was very interesting and unexpected. When I finally got there, I had a major emotional letdown. I described it as feeling like I was a deflated balloon landing in a yucky mud puddle. I felt done and done-in. I had no idea what to do next. Nothing was interesting. Everything I touched felt like -- been there, done that. Rather than feeling proud and exhilarated, I felt depressed and rung out. It brought up that age-old question, "When you've been to Mount Olympus, what do you do then?" I was like the young person who wins the gold medal at the Olympics. What do they do for the rest of their lives? How can they best that experience of standing center stage on that awards podium? And do you need to "best" it? Must you go find a bigger mountain and start the process again? I knew that other people had climbed bigger mountains, but their success didn't attract nor phase me. It wasn't a shiny objects moment or a green-eyed envy feeling. I just didn't care.

So, I did the woman thing -- a very female solution to my feelings. I sat down and waited for the answer to come to me. Unlike the normal male reaction which is to run out and do something -- anything, we woman have moments in lives where we just quietly wait for our inner self to catch up. We get quiet and centered -- like a statue. And we just wait and watch for a time. I'm coming out of that "still" phase a little. Slowly I'm spring cleaning my world one space, one drawer, one shelf, and one issue at a time.

Will I ever set my usual goals again? I don't know right now. I have someone working on one of my side gigs -- doing the research for my trust deed business. Sometimes I'm excited about it and the next moment it feels like last year's news. In the meantime, I'm passively saving up the cash so I can do it IF I get inspired.

Is this just a pause in my life or have I turned a corner? I'll let you know when I find out.

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