Success Monday: Why Setting Goals Is Stupid Because You’ve Already Achieved Them

Keith Rosen, an award-winning author, executive coach and CEO of Profit Builders, a management training, sales and executive coaching and sales training firm, says that to live your best life, look beyond things such as goals and New Years Resolutions and work on changing your whole approach to life—your lifestyle.

“When you take the time to intentionally write down your career and life goals, consider that many of the goals you’ve set have already been achieved! There’s a massive difference between your goals, tasks and the lifestyle you want to create. Here’s when S.M.A.R.T. goals become STUPID goals and what you can do to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction and success when crossing the goals and tasks off of your to-do list as complete—forever.

“Have you lost your mind, Keith?” is typically the initial response. Until they realize this is the best news they’ve heard all year. What if just a few hundred words can provide you with the confidence, fulfillment and evidence that you have actually achieved many of the goals you’ve set? Imagine looking at your to-do list and relishing in the joy of checking the DONE box on many of the items you have on your task list, without having to replenish it with other tasks?

The fact is, you’ve achieved much more than you think you have. In fact, if you have written out more than one or two goals you want to achieve each year, it’s probably too many. You see, once you orient your life around your values and priorities, you’ll find that you will actually have fewer goals.

Think about it.

After you set your goal, you create the strategy to achieve your goal.

Then, you break down the activities you need to engage in daily that would move you closer to goal attainment.

And the only way to consistently engage in, track and hold yourself accountable to those activities is to schedule them in your calendar, while ensuring you’re honoring your daily priorities, values and personal commitments through the process.

Now, you’re engaging in the activities that move you closer to your goal while keeping your life in balance and harmony today. If you don’t have a well-structured routine, it’s almost impossible to truly own your day and your life so that you can achieve your goals as efficiently as possible without making any personal sacrifices in the process.

If you don’t have the appointment, you don’t have the commitment. If it takes up time, schedule it.

Here’s why. If you design your life and career around what is most important to you on a daily basis, you’ll avoid becoming attached to always trying to create something better at a future point in time.

The cost of this line of thinking is, it moves you away from living in the present and instead, pushes you to live in the future. Doing so robs you of the quality of your life and the daily miracles that happen today. Engaging in the right goal attainment activities each day allows you to enjoy the process, while maintaining the lifestyle you want by honoring your daily routine.

Don’t confuse goals with your lifestyle. “I want to lose weight and get healthier,” isn’t a goal. It’s your lifestyle. While “healthier” still needs to be clarified, regardless, you eat healthy and exercise consistently to maintain the healthy lifestyle you want to live today—and tomorrow.

Goal vs. Lifestyle—What’s the Difference?

Is this a goal? “I want to start eating healthy and exercising regularly.”

If you said yes, warning: This isn’t a goal! This is a lifestyle. A goal has an endpoint. A lifestyle does not. Unless you’re training for a marathon, athletic event, Iron Man or Tough Mudder, where you need to get your body and mind in optimal shape for a certain event, which goes well beyond your daily health routine.

Think this cexample through. You exercise, eat healthy and in just three months, you’re feeling great and are in much better shape mentally, emotionally and physically. Do you then stop exercising and go back to eating like crap? Of course not. Unless, of course, at some point, you no longer want to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Bottom line is this: If you want to maintain your health throughout your life and career, self-care never stops.

So congratulations! You’ve already achieved several of the goals you’ve set simply by weaving them into your lifestyle, which is reflected in the goal-based activities you engage in that are scheduled into your daily routine!

POP QUIZ—What is a Goal and What is a Lifestyle?

Take a look at the eight items listed below and you decide.

  • Practice extreme self-care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
  • Take excellent care of my family.
  • Respect, appreciate and strengthen the relationships in my life; at work, home and with my parents and friends.
  • Become a happier person by boosting my confidence and feeling of self-worth.
  • Build my personal brand and continually contribute at work, home and in my community.
  • Make $500,000 in yearly income by December 31.
  • Finish writing my book by December 31.
  • Lose 20 pounds by May 1.

That’s right. The only goals above are numbers six and seven. The first five are things you’ll continually do throughout your life and as such, are components of your lifestyle!

What about number eight? That’s the tricky one. Here’s why. You may think that is a GOAL of losing a specific amount of weight by a certain period of time. Yup, that’s the anatomy of a goal. However, in reality this is just a MILESTONE that you reach along your lifetime journey to maintain a level of joy, purpose, health, gratitude and meaning each day!

“Your goal is your lifestyle, and your lifestyle is your goal.”

What you do and how you think determines the quality of your life! Therefore, your goals are, in fact, your lifestyle!

And if these goal-driven activities don’t fit into your day, then it’s a safe bet you’re not going to achieve that goal. That’s why your calendar, that is, your routine, is your gauge of reality; the reflection of what each day looks like and the amount of time you put into each activity.

“A well-crafted routine shifts your goals and ideas into reality and accountability.”

Your lifestyle is a compilation of your daily activities and what you do from the time you wake until the time you go to sleep. This is where a well-designed daily routine comes in to play. The ideal reflection of the masterpiece you want to call your life.

“The choices you made yesterday created the life you have today. The choices you make today will create the life you want tomorrow.”

Your life-style is by definition, the style of life you want to live. Not solely from a materialistic view but from who you are, what you invest your time in each day and how you do things. Compound that exponentially each day over time, and you’ve created your lifestyle, whether built by reaction or intention. That’s your choice.

“A goal has an endpoint. A lifestyle does not.”

When your goals are aligned with your personal vision, priorities, values and lifestyle, you’ll maintain your integrity, energy, and experience greater peace of mind while traveling on your path to achieving meaningful, long-lasting results. That’s the duality of goal setting; two conflicting truths that co-exist simultaneously—focus on your future ideal life vision while living in today.

To create the life you want, be mindful of the future while being present, engaged and enjoying the gift of every moment, today.

This is the only way to enjoy the magnificence of your career and life today, while being inspired to achieve greater things tomorrow.”

—Keith Rosen, award-winning author and CEO of Profit Builders, which provides management training, sales coaching, executive coaching and sales training. He has been designated a Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. For more information visit http://www.profitbuilders.com/.