Goals Vs Growth

Do you have goals? Are they SMART? That means they meet the 5-word acronym criteria – specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and with a timeframe.  Did you meet the goals you set last year? What happened after you met the goal? Did the actions you committed to and diligently executed upon continue after meeting the goal?

Ever set a fitness goal – run a 10k, complete a triathlon, win a championship? What happened to your routine when you reached your goal? The motivation changed because the goal was hit.  Without the continued motivation, did you fade out of the habits that led to success? You’d be like most everyone else.

Goals, by definition, have a plateau. You meet the goal and now what? With the goal as the driver, the motivator – what takes that place when the goal is met? Nothing without intention. Logically you set a new goal, but often that doesn’t happen, and you begin to experience the up and down roller coaster effect.  Set a goal, do the thing, hit the goal, then….maybe set another goal after a while. Wow, it’s tough to ramp up again!

This is not to downplay goals. They’re very important if set correctly and in alignment with your values and mission.   In fact, I’ve written on how goals drive performance, and they do. But again, when the goal is reached, what is driving the performance now?

Growth, on the other hand, is not goal based.  It is not built on the plateau mindset. No target motivation.  It’s in the attitude of knowing that daily action in a particular area will bring value and compound that value over time, without respect to a specific end result. We’re just getting better, period. 

Growth is a philosophy, a mindset that permeates our lives. Growth drives habits that last a lifetime.

As we were wrapping up a book discussion over the last few weeks, it occurred to me that most of my “goals” were more like “actions” that were geared toward growth – with no specific goal in mind.  For example, I have a goal to read 15 minutes daily from a personal development book – self, business, leadership, relationships, goals, time, etc. This is not meant to take me to a specific point in particular, other than being a better version of me as time progresses.  A better version that I can offer my family, my clients, my friends and my community.

By the way, growth provides an excellent springboard to goal setting and execution.  The habits are already there; the confidence in execution is already there.  Now might be the time to “SMART” out a few goals to enhance that growth.

But if not, just keep growing.