Goals or No Goals?

By Aaron Sugarman

Can we talk about goal setting and management for a moment? Love or hate? Inspiring or demotivating?

Few areas are as hotly contested in the world of human motivation and productivity research and advice. For every Guide to Evaluate Your Priorities and Set Goals, there is a Why Goal Setting Can Do More Harm Than Good (both from the generally thoughtful Forbes). For every How to Set Smart Daily Goals there’s a How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back (both on the generally helpful 99U.com).

So, what’s a reasonable person to do? 

I am not entirely sure I am that reasonable person, but I will tell you what I do. I test. And my standard for assessment is really simple: Does the approach or system in question work for me? If it does, I use it. If it doesn’t, I move on, confident that (a) there is nothing seriously wrong with me and (b) there is something else out there that will work. The other thing I do is use some discernment in what I test in the first place. That is, I don’t read or try everything, as that can turn into a full-time job all by itself.

You may also find it helpful to use an assessment tool to gain a deeper understanding of how you work and what sort of tools are most likely to serve you. I’ve used the Kolbe A assessment, which details how you innately take action and what approaches are likely to keep you flowing vs. the ones that will cause you friction and stress. Thankfully, there are goal setting and management approaches to suit you whether you are a detail-hungry Fact Finder, a blue-sky-generating Quick Start, a systems-loving Follow Thru, or a 3D-model-making Implementor.

When you’re ready, below is a select sampling of tips, tools, thought-starters and advice to dip into. Please let me know if you have experience with any of it, positive or negative, or if you’ve found something you like better.

Have a productive day! 

Have Big Hairy Audacious Goals and Take Baby Steps

Make Time for Time

The Power of Setting a Schedule, Not a Deadline

The Key to Getting Motivated: Give Up

3 Ways To Get More Out Of Every Single Hour

Micro Resolutions

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now


Aaron Sugarman is a Newfield Certified Coach and has garnered numerous awards for his creative work online (Webbys), in film (Key Art), print (National Magazine Awards) and advertising/marketing (Cannes Lions).

He works with individuals and teams across North America who are committed to excellence and willing to make strong promises to achieve their goals.

www.wysiwyg.com for more on Kolbe A assessments


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