Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work

By Lauren | Marketing

May 02


I love the idea of exercising, it’s the actual doing of it that I find difficult.

Once I had a goal to lose about 10kg and decided that I would go for a bike ride every morning. I found a nice flat circular route of about 10kms and set my alarm to go for it first thing in the morning.

All my clothes, hat and shoes were ready by the bed so there was a seamless action as I jumped out of bed and got dressed, out the door and on the bike before my brain had really woken up and started telling me how crazy I was to be cycling while it was still dark.


What really helped was that by 7:30am, I had completed the exercise, made school lunches, served breakfast, dropped off at the bus and was sitting at my desk beginning work just like any other normal day. All I had done was get up 30 minutes earlier and voila, I had achieved my exercise goal for the day.

Then I reached my goal weight, in fact I smashed it by losing 15kg in about 3 months just with exercise and a change in my nutrition (glass of water with lemon in it 40 minutes before eating really helped)….and so I stopped riding my bike with the same regularity.

Sometimes an entire week would go by without a single bike ride. I started finding excuses, taking shortcuts and before I knew it, the exercise that had become a daily habit, fell out of consistency.

Of course, over time the weight started to creep back, 1 kg at a time. Until I noticed my jeans were shrinking and my shirts were tighter.

Amazing how achieving a goal can be a bad thing. Just shows you that you need to continuously plan and set goals in order to maintain your success, let alone exceed it.

So now I’m back on my bike, with another goal - this time it isn’t to lose weight, the goal is to make a daily bike ride part of my everyday habit. Doing a little something everyday, for life.

I’m actually enjoying the rides much more because I see them as feeding my soul, not just a short term blitz to get somewhere. There is no pressure. My bike rides have become my ‘me’ time. A quiet, calm place to think and assess the day ahead (thankfully the roads I use are not full of traffic!).

It occurs to me that this approach would be really very helpful with building your brand. There is always so much to be done in business and so little time to do it. Most business coaches and mentors would tell you that you just need to set a few more goals. Great idea, but what is really going to motivate you to set them and then go for them. What is going to keep you going forward after you have reached your goal? How can you keep on developing and promoting your personal brand?

Do you really needs the pressure of a huge goal in your hectic life?

Perhaps instead of trying to brand yourself in one hit and eat the entire elephant, a more sustainable approach would be to set aside a bite sized chunk once a day. A 30 minute break from putting out fires and ‘doing’ stuff, to focus on defining who you are, how you provide a service or why you are so passionate about what you do. Time to discover your uniqueness and develop a plan so that everything you do reflects your brand promise. A quiet space to brainstorm marketing tactics that amplify your brands uniqueness. Time to think about how you can create an environment where you can live your brand. Time to consider who you can JV with to rocket launch your brand awareness.

The saying goes that it’s more important to work ON your business rather IN your business, but most of us entrepreneurs don’t feel we have time for ‘naval gazing’. We put off branding and marketing or shuffle it to the end of the ‘to do’ list and it never gets properly focused on.

Maybe the answer is to spend time on it first thing in the morning.. Just 30 minutes with a cuppa, before the phone starts to ring and the emails come pinging in. Before our brain has shifted into task mode.

Just like early morning exercise, I wonder what would happen with your brand and your business after just one month, if you implemented this brand exercise daily and it became a habit?



About the Author

Lauren Clemett is the Best Selling Author of the “SELLING YOU” series of practical guidebooks Know Me, Like Me & Trust Me. She is a personal branding specialist and award winning Neurobrander, helping service providers and consultants generate more income from their expertise. For more information Click Here.