Goals vs Growth

About a year ago, my sister called me up and asked me if I could help her out setting up a workout regiment to run a marathon in 6 months! I was excited to help her out so I got off the phone and started to do some research and came up with what I thought was a pretty good plan. A few days later I sent her the plan and then was on the phone with her later that day. I knew something was wrong, because she didn't seem as excited as before and was definitely nervous over the phone. She was looking through the running plan and felt a bit overwhelmed. I told her she would be able to do it if she just stuck to the plan. Right before I got off the phone, I asked her how much she has been running and working out and her response was "None, I figured if I signed up for the marathon I have to get up and run everyday." Right then, I realized I should of asked her that question in the beginning. We all have these outcome based goals that sound great and seem great, but more often then not, if you aren't a consistent runner right now, you wont be running a marathon anytime soon. 

Conveniently enough, I happened to be reading a few things written by James Clear from JamesClear.com. James clear is an expert on Habit Transformation and studies how people become successful. Here is one of his info graphics on habit change. 

Clear's Layers of behavior change has three layers:

Your identity - The person that you believe you are. "I'm the type of person who never misses a run"

Your performance - The actions you take. "I can run 12 miles straight"

Your appearance - The way the world perceives you. "Looks like you have lost 20 lbs"

Performance and appearance based goals are great, because they sound awesome. But these goals are not creating your habits and are not creating results. In order to achieve your desired performance or appearance, you need to have the identity to do so. 

If you want to run a marathon, you need to have the identity of a person who runs 4-6 days a week. 

If you want to be strong you need to have the identity someone who never misses a workout. 

If you want to lose weight you need to have the identity of a person who works out.

If you want to write a book, you need to have the identity of person who writes regularly. 

If you want to be a millionaire, you need to have the identity and work ethic of a millionaire. 

Growing up throughout sports, I have always been influenced to set high goals on the field, court, track or classroom. I remember one of my mentors told me "Write down all of your goals for your senior year and post them in your bathroom mirror so you will see them everyday"

So, I saw this every day I brushed my teeth.

  • Average 300 yards per game
  • Bench 285
  • Squat 450 lbs
  • Get straight A's
  • Win the State Championship
  • Be the MVP

BTW, I never achieved any of these goals. 

What happens when your goal is to win the state championship but you get hurt your senior year? What happens if your Goal is to squat 450 lbs but you pulled your hamstring and can't train for the last month of summer? What happens Dez Bryant really catching a game winning touchdown but then there is some goofy NFL rule that says he didn't catch the ball? Or what happens when a ref, ump, or an official just completely miss a call? 

All of my GOALS were uncontrollable. I can't control to winning the championship. I can't control earning the "MVP". I can't control my body how much my body can lift. I can't control throwing 300 yards per game.

Rather than focusing on things outside of my control, I should've focus on things like effort, attitude, and perspective. 

Here are some common non-sports related goals

  • Have the most sales in my company
  • Make 80k a year. 
  • Get a promotion by next year. 
  • Lose 100 lbs in 6 months
  • Run a marathon

What happens when the biggest and best sales guy comes in your town and takes away have you clients because of his past success? What happens when your job has to let people go because of the economy?

These outcome based goals are frustrating not only because they are not in our control, but because the farther away we are from achieving these goals the less effort we give.

Rather than focusing on who we are and what we have, these outcome based goals trick our minds into thinking about what we don't have and what we can't do. 

So rather than focusing on Goals, should we just simply be focusing on growth? 

How much do you think you can achieve if your boss, leader, mentor, or coach never focused on Goals and strictly focused on growth?

How do you focus on growth? Focus on the things that are inside your control.

  • Attitude
  • Effort
  • Energy
  • Perspective

How to get a little bit better every single day:

  1. Control the Controllable's
  2. Forget the results. 
  3. Have a growth mindset, by understanding that everything that happens to you, is in your best interest.