• Learning and Goal Setting

Why Much of Your Learning Has Been Fruitless

Do you have a veritable library of self-help books, yet continue to struggle with the same issues?  Have you invested in expensive programs that promised to make a difference only to find yourself right back at square one?

I’d like to give you some good ideas about why that happens to many of us.  One major reason we often continue to do what we’ve done is our lack of focus on and commitment to ONE goal.  Not two goals, not five goals, not 25 goals…ONE goal.  Why is this a big, hairy deal?

Because human beings, by nature, are distractable.  The more often we get derailed from our goal, the longer period of time we stray from that focus, the greater the likelihood we will not accomplish that goal.  The research on multitasking has shown that all we get out of multitasking is lower quality work.  Conversely, the more single-minded we can be in our focus on our ONE goal, the greater the likelihood we will smash that goal to pieces and forge on to another one!

In the words of Darren Hardy, “Better to listen to a single program repeatedly, deepening the impact; letting it seep down into consciousness” than to spread ourselves thinly amongst a laundry list of programs, methods, and trainings.  Reading 15 books on a particular topic is a great way to get yourself DOING nothing.  Reading one book and applying what you’ve learned, tweaking what isn’t working, trying again, evaluating results, more tweaking, etc will go a long way toward upleveling yourself.

I’ll give you an example from my own life.  When I was in qualification to become a Sales Director in Mary Kay, there was one CD I listened to relentlessly.  Joanne Barnes, a National Sales Director, the highest position in the sales force in Mary Kay gave a lecture entitled “What You Talk About”.  I had that lecture memorized!  I can still follow along with that CD and repeat it word for word.  I had listened to it daily, up to six times a day, for the entire period when I was in qualification.  I burned Joanne’s words into my heart and soul.  I believe that single-minded focus on one method for upleveling myself made all the difference in accomplishing that goal.

And I believe that is the key to you accomplishing whatever your goal (not plural!) is.  As it says in the Bible, we cannot serve two masters.  In other words, to spread your focus amongst several goals, for example losing weight, getting your degree finished, finding a mate, etc means that it’s likely none of those goals will be accomplished.

On the other hand, if you pick ONE of those goals to focus on for at least a month (I’d recommend three months actually) and keep a single-minded focus on that goal and that goal only, the odds of you having completed the goal or, at least, having moved yourself much closer to completion are very high indeed.

Now just picking out the goal is, of course, only the first step.  There has to be implementation, doing, effort put forth, etc.  So what do you do after you pick out your big, juicy goal for the first quarter?  You steep yourself in everything about that goal!  What steps will it take to get there?  What skill set do you need to develop to make it happen?  What kind of support do you need to put in place to be successful?  Keep asking yourself questions that have you looking at your goal as a conquerable mission.  What’s next?  And then next?  And next?  If you aren’t sure, this is where having people to bounce ideas off of is very valuable.

Picking out your support network is another area where we can sabotage ourselves.  A quote that I think fits masterfully right here is “Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t gladly trade places with!”  When seeking advice, be sure to select those who have already accomplished what you’re aiming to accomplish or, if you’re forging new territory, people who have accomplished something of significance in a related area.  There’s no value in the opinion of your deadbeat brother-in-law!  Who has walked the walk?  That’s the person whose advice has value!

So now I’d like to invite you to take the first few steps with me on your way to Goal Accomplishment #1.

  • Step 1:  What is ONE thing you’d like to accomplish in the next quarter?
  • Step 2: Brainstorm all of the steps, resources, supports, etc necessary to accomplish that goal.  Don’t worry about making this a tidy, chronological list.  Just throw up everything on the page.
  • Step 3:  Pick out one step that will move this goal forward.
  • Step 4:  Take action on that step TODAY.  Not tomorrow or next week.  TODAY!   Then shoot me an e-mail letting me know what you’ve chosen for your goal and what step you’ve taken.

Here’s to a highly productive quarter!!

About the Author:

Dr. Bonnie Nussbaum
Dr. Bonnie Nussbaum is a holistic coach and clinical psychologist who believes people are capable of far more than they think they are.

5 Comments

  1. Lynne Fredrickson January 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    This is great, Bonnie! Thanks. I used to pride myself in my multitasking abilities. I now know the value of focusing on one thing at a time, BUT I need to be reminded of it frequently and reading this post is so very timely! 🙂

  2. Nicole Wettemann January 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your wisdom Bonnie! I tend to be one of those multitasking people. I wrote down your steps for goal setting and am so on it!!

  3. mary Darud January 4, 2017 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    You are so right Bonnie about paying attention to who you take advice from. It pays to work with a coach and surround yourself with people who have goals and a higher vision for their life.

  4. JulieBef January 13, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Good post! I read your blog often and you always post excellent content. I posted this article on Facebook and my followers like it. Thanks for writing this!

  5. Tina Games March 30, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

    What a timely blog post, Bonnie! I’ve been spreading myself way too thin lately. ~ It reminds me of something my father used to say, “When you’re a jack of all trades, you’re a master of none.” ~ Scattered energy always brings scattered results. ?

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