Does ‘Goal Setting’ Stop Us From Taking Action?

Last week I received a email from one of my readers and he asked me an interesting and quite thought-provoking question. He said “Why does goal setting often stop smart people from taking action”? This question had me pondering for a couple of days. I then started reading different publications, articles and excerpts from books about this topic.  Then it prompted me to analyze and ponder why so many people who are “smart” never reach their full potential.

Setting Goals

The act of setting “big picture” goal that is very clear and specific should help our focus on what matters most. However in many cases this is far from reality often times it leaves us confused, irritated and sometimes ready to give up. When it comes to taking massive action towards our goals it can be quite scary and nerve wracking. In fact, the clearer some people get on their values and priorities, the more frighten they can become.

So why does this happen?

The reason is simple but not automatically evident.  Simply put, when we go through one of these moments in our lives where we set out a “big picture”.  We have the notion that the process will make our lives easier and more fulfilling. This is often not the case in the short term, because as many of us know the process of reaching our “bigger picture” can be long and grueling.

Final Thoughts

In the end to make consistent, powerful headway on your long-term goals, we have to devote ourselves to becoming an outstanding director of our time, effort and focus exactly where we are now. Fixing the process of how you work has to be a top priority. We have to become committed to making the adjustments in your habits and behaviors that will create more leverage in your life. What goals do you have for your life? Comment below & if you liked this post please share!

Copyright ©2016 Jay Colby All Rights Reserved


About Jay Colby

Some would categorize me as an entrepreneur, life coach, son, friend and all of the above. I’m just another person trying to find my way in this world. Until recently, I was unsure what my path in this life would consist of. Like many others I was between I know what I want to do but not sure if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I am currently finishing my degree in something that has nothing to do with becoming a writer or entrepreneur so automatically it qualifies me to become one right! Follow me as I go through this journey called life to impact and encourage one person at a time.
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49 Responses to Does ‘Goal Setting’ Stop Us From Taking Action?

  1. jameslantern says:

    Hamlet is accused by critics of overthinking to the point of not acting out in Shakespeare’ s play

    Liked by 4 people

  2. pawan35 says:

    trying and by blessings of source will be launching a website which will support the needy and animals and woods…..the business wishes to donate 11- 15% of its sales collected to different organization….and then collaborate with service utilities….just like with hospitals to provide rooms and ambulance service at low cost…..old age homes to get more facilities…..orphanage houses to get weekly or monthly helping hand…..nothing impossible if there is intention and trust and faith….so walking with the soul in this body on Earth….but whole issues comes with a bit lack of finance and with no proper knowledge and guidance….so is this goal purpose not realistic.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. jac forsyth says:

    This reminds me of the story of how rockets get to the moon. The moon is so far away that it’s impossible to plot a route. Instead, the rocket heads out in the general direction and every so often checks to see if it’s sill on course. If not, it alters its trajectory and heads towards the moon again. Which would tie in so beautifully with, ‘focus exactly where we are now’.
    I think that’s why proximal goals are important. They keep us on track for the moon.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. kage2015 says:

    This is something we have taught our children and it is amazing how all of them are successful and they are all in their mid tolerate twenty’s.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. mimionlife says:

    Goal setting, for me, can be a simple thing or a major thing. Setting goals of getting household chores completed, or writing on my blog, or making a phone call can be easily attained. My goal of finishing my first book is a major goal, which involves much dedication and prayer. I like setting goals even if I don’t complete them the first time. Thank you for making me think about my goals. Great message.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Laura Beth says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

    The biggest goal I have for my life is to live it to the fullest, every single day. I’ve always been an optimist, and I try to have a positive spin and attitude every day. Being a preemie and experiencing health problems for the first few years of my life, I’m determined to get the most out of my time here on Earth.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. For me it does not – AT ALL. If I don’t set any goals, then I don’t have anything to work towards. So for me, goal setting is a motivator!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Specific & measurable goals are the absolute best way to accomplish anything. It gives you a way to measure what you have done.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Life has a habit of inserting obstacles in the pathway of goals. We must never give up. If there is no pathway around an obstacle, make one. Sometimes it is easy, most times it’s not. It depends on how badly you want it. The hardest part about following a goal is to be brave or persistent enough to think outside the box.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Very well said. This is one of my favorite reads on goals.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. joliesattic says:

    Very good post. I find myself doing the very same thing. For some reason my goals seems o out of reach that writing them down will sometimes stymie me as I’m sure it does others. Thanks you!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Lively Life says:

    I so needed to read this this morning! Yay! I also hear that our bodies go through the process of shifting over to the new habits etc. ( exercise,healthy eating ) And at first it doesn’t feel good, can be uncomfortable and we can be irritable. And before any of the new change is formed completely, we give up- not giving it the time it needs to become deeper within us. Thanks for sharing Jay!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. As you suggest time management is a big part of attaining one’s goals, as well as focus and perseverance. I also think that goals need to be reasonably attainable and not too lofty, at least at first. Start small, achieve the goal, and establish the positive feeling of success to drive you 0n to the next goal, and the one after that.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. wengiegirl says:

    Very well written…
    I think small efforts daily to the big goal is the simplest way of achieving goals as small efforts add up and become big leap…
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post reminded me to get on track….
    Well, can I ask you a favour?
    Checkout my blogs I m sure you will like it 😊😊😊❤
    Thanks again😊

    Liked by 4 people

  15. As always, great content! Just my 2 cents to the discussion, Goal Setting and Planning are 2 different things. We set a goal to reach what we consider to be success – the plan is our actions to get to that goal.
    As someone stated, life throws many obstacles. I’ve learned in life and in business, you have to plan for these as well. In the end,Change the plan, NOT the Goal!
    Happy Holidays! Keep these coming…

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Pingback: Does ‘Goal Setting’ Stop Us From Taking Action? — Jay Colby | AIDANS.LEGACY

  17. Joe Yang says:

    Thanks for the article! I don’t think that the act of goal-setting is what prevents us from taking action.

    We tend to run into trouble when we realize just what a huge task our goals are. I think we’re all familiar with that nagging, annoying voice in the back of our heads that tell us “we’re not good enough” or that “we have no business trying” or that “we’ll never make it.”

    That voice tends to speak up right when we decide what we want our big goals to be. In the past, I’ve surrendered to that voice. And many others have as well. It took me a while to realize that that voice is a liar. Like many of the commentators said, if we just keep pressing on despite that voice, we’ll be fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Real Me 86 says:

    VEry well written. For me (which is why I stopped making resolutions at new years) I find that making goals puts more pressure on a person so instead of doing something to maybe make you healthier you end up stressing out over the small stuff which is never good for anyone… Food for thought.


  19. This is very true; I’ve experienced it myself. I also find that intrinsic goals, such as trying to improve public speaking skills at work, are much better motivators than extrinsic goals, like trying to get a promotion. I always like to focus first on what I can change from within rather than what I expect to get from others.


  20. Pingback: A Must Read! – A. MCLAIN

  21. Kim Gorman says:

    Goals are useless without action. It’s a lot easier to write something down than to actually do it. Plus, goals often require multiple action steps to achieve. So again, it comes down to taking action.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. excellent writing my friend. I ‘hear’ you when you talk about the Big Picture. That can be daunting.But I have found that a small step in the right direction can build confidence ‘…as you move on to the next small step. A parent is proud of their son or daughter when they take their first step. Their expectation is not for them to run a 5 K the next day! 😉 What background do you have? You use the words leverage and taking action. I am a graduate of Tony Robbins and a certified Life Achievement coach. Please let us follow each others blog and learn how to achieve our purpose. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Elorm Yankah says:

    Great read. I think it’s so important to set goals but also necessary to focus on where we are now. When I fail to set goals I become lazy and lose focus. But in the words of one of my mentors, “don’t take yourself too seriously”. This reminds me to ease up in myself when I’m not achieving my targets and get discouraged.
    So in summary, know what combination of both options works best for you. Because I think the key to success lies in finding the balance!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Kyanna Kitt says:

    Hi Jay!

    I agree with many of the previous comments. I think that getting caught up in the big picture without knowing what steps to take to get there is the root of the issue (I believe someone else said this) and also like one of the first few commenters said, time management. I have a good idea of what I want to do and where I want to be and try to take steps in that direction. However, I often find that I don’t have enough time. I have a lot of stuff on my plate so now I am back to the drawing board in efforts of re-prioritizing so that I can effectively acheive my goals.

    Love the blog!


  25. Great article! Very simply, people set big goals and get daunted by the task. We lack consistency. We also at times set goals that don’t match our strengths. That’s when we need help.

    Setting goals is an act of looking at an entire situation and figuring out what you want it to ultimately look like.

    The next step is identifying gaps and ways to fill those gaps by playing to our strengths. Or asking for help when we need it.

    Then we should make small steps on the way to larger milestones.

    The key is to “get started” and work on accomplishing little goals on the way to big goals. Consistently.

    Losing 100 lbs. is easier if you lose three or four at a time consistently. You may need a motivational partner (help) if you aren’t driven enough internally.


  26. Setting goals is relative. In setting personal goals it’s all about “where do I want to be x years from now?”.. and many times we take far more value in the road to try and get there, than actually getting there.
    On the other hand, business goals, as they relate to what our employer may want or expect from us, is less about the road to get there but rather problem solving to meet the goal.. to stay employed… to ultimately meet our personal goals.
    It’s been my observation that younger career-focused folks still in their 30’s to 40’s set personal goals that are relatively short term. For example. “My goal is to be president of the company.” and not, “My goal is to be president of the company by time I am in my 60’s.” I include myself in this. When I was in my 30’s my goals were hardly tuned to being extended into my 40’s. I wanted personal goals to be five years out.. max.
    Ah, to be young again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Nursesact says:

    I agree. Sometimes long-term goals seem too big or too far-off to achieve. I think developing short-term goals or “chunking” large goals can help. The key is to find a way to make those smaller milestones fulfilling… to keep us going. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. How true, if a goal needs to much action, than that is stress. And stress makes people sick. People who have to much stress can end at the psychaiter. At the USA that will be no problem, but in germany that will be a big problem. In germany we do not have a lot of psychaiters and so the doctor give psycho pills. The result is, that this psycho pills makes adicted. We know that in germany. Money is not everything and having a lot of money is not rich. I sayed good bye to my goal too. Often i switch my smartphone off, people can not reach me every time. I feel better with this and i feel free.


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