6 Lies We Believe About Goal Setting

6 Lies We Believe About Goal Setting

Here at Cultivate, we're big fans of upgrading our mindsets. After all, goal setting is about change, and it's hard to change the way you behave if you've never changed the underlying beliefs that led to your past behavior. Our actions flow directly from what we believe about ourselves, from the smallest of details (what clothes we reach for in our closets, what we eat for lunch) to the biggest decisions (how we spend our time, how we treat the people around us).

It's hard to build on a faulty or damaged foundation, so if there are lies you've believed about yourself or goal setting, you're in the right place. Lies, be gone! By exposing these lies for what they are, we hope to empower you to embrace truthand move forward with confidence in your goal setting (and in life!)

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Lie: I'm too busy to set goals (let alone achieve them).

Your life is full. If you're like many of the women in this community, you're high-achieving and purposeful, with responsibilities to your job, family, friends, and community. And of course, at a minimum, there's the daily work of tending to your spaces, making sure you eat three times a day, and getting enough sleep. (Whew!)

Truth: I can make time for what matters most.

Some of you just let out an audible groan of frustration (yes, we heard it from here). We get itsqueezing anything else into your schedule feels impossible!

The tough love truth, though, is that our actionsour choicesare always adding up to something: the question is whether they're moving us toward where we want to be in the big picture. If your schedule is already packed, the only way to make time for your goals is to take something away. 

Maybe something immediately comes to mind that could be removed, or maybe you balk at the idea that anything could budge. For the vast majority of us, though, it's possible to find 15-30 minutes each day that we could reapportion to working on our goals. Might we suggest starting with an examination of your screen time? :) 

Lie: My goals are too small and insignificant to matter.

Maybe you fight feelings of not being enough, saying to yourself that you're "just" a student, "just" a stay-at-home mom, "just" an empty-nester—or whatever it is that creeps into your heart from time to time (or perhaps all the time). We all have those moments where comparison or cultural pressures try to tell us that we, ourselvesor our goalsare not big enough, exciting enough, flashy enough to be worthy of time and attention.

Truth: My goals, pointed in the right direction, will add uplittle by little. 

Ready for some really good news? Goals that seem small and mundane take on a whole new meaning when you look at them through a cultivated lens. Short lunch break conversations with a new friend can add up to a lifelong friendship. Practicing piano for five minutes a day can add up to an impressive new skill.

Little by little, the small things add up to the big things. Our lives bloom through daily decisions and habits—daily tending, nurturing, and pruning—not just the giant leaps made once in a while. The daily matters. The small steps matter. As long as they're pointed purposefully toward where we want to be in the big picture, even the smallest goals will add up to a life of purpose.

Lie: Goal setting is too complicated.

Uncovering what matters? Breaking things down? Making a plan? Checking off boxes? It all seems like a lot of work and, honestly, too complicated even for you to take a closer look. There's no way you'd be able to figure it all outit's not like you're a goal-setting expert. 

Truth: I am capable of doing the work to get where I want to go.

Good news: the PowerSheets process is simple and straightforward, and it's been put to use by everyone from 13-year-olds to 73-year olds :) You definitely don't need to be a goal-setting expert to set or achieve goalsmostly, you just need a willingness to believe in the process and try something new.

And we'll be with you each step of the way! It's our official guarantee, and we take it seriously. The PowerSheets® are like a coach in your pocket, guiding and empowering you as you move through each step, and the podcast, blog, and Cultivate community are full of wisdom, encouragement, and practical help, too.

Cultivate What Matters Fresh Start Planner

Lie: I don't need a goal planner to make progress.

People have been setting goals for ageseveryone knows how to do it, right? And if you really need to write something down, a notebook will be just fine.

Truth: I am worthy of tools that help me make progress.

You are absolutely right: no one needs a goal planner to make progress. But the thousands of women who have made their dreams happen with PowerSheetswomen had previously given up on their goals year after year, who came to us discouraged and defeated—might tell you otherwise.

Using a helpful tool is not weaknessit's wisdom. Taking a shortcut (one based on research and years of listening to and learning from goal-setting women!) to a really good destination will always be a smart move in our book. And you're worthy of it.

Lie: I have to do it perfectly if I'm going to do it at all.

Your goals really matter to you. They feel high-stakes, and sometimes, it just feels easier not to try at all rather than risk trying and failing.

Truth: I can embrace progress instead of perfection. 

There's a reason why "progress, not perfection" is the phrase Cultivators latch on to with more enthusiasm than almost any other. You'll find incredible freedom when you begin believing that not every step of your goal-setting process has to be perfect. You'll be free to just START! (Which is something too many people never do!)

And once you take those first few tentative steps, you'll begin to see that there is true beauty in trying, making a mistake, correcting, trying something newand doing it all over and over again. As long as your efforts are pointed in the right direction, you'll soon see that even mistakes are simply part of the process of getting there. 

No one is perfect, and no goal has ever been perfectly achieved. Progress, not perfection!

Lie: I've tried and failed in the past. I'll never be able to change.

You're burdened by your past failures. Maybe you've used a goal planner before (maybe you've even used PowerSheets before!) and you're haunted by the empty pages. It's embarrassing and makes you feel guilty and you just don't even want to try anymore.

Truth: Any day can be a fresh start.

Any day can be a fresh start. What more refreshing truth is there than that?! As long as you are still breathing, you have the opportunity to changeto do things differently than you did the day before, to believe something new, to try again, to set out boldly even where you failed before.

Any day can be a fresh start. This is true for you. So let's start!

Friends, we'd love to hear: does one of these truths resonate with you, or has it tripped you up in the past? Please leave a comment and let us know, along with any encouragement for fellow Cultivators!

P.S. Thanks to our friend Val for inspiring this post! Be sure to check out her version, 9 Lies We Believe About Prayer.

1 comment

I’ve tried and failed, I’ve tried and failed. That is so true with my weight loss goal setting. I can set the goals but I never ever reach them….


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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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