Beware the Dark Secret of Faulty Goal Setting


For insights and powerful methods, join Tom Marcoux’s online course June 11, 2018 – The Introvert’s Formula to Get Clients

“What is a big mistake that people make related to setting a goal?” my friend, Steve, asked.

“They fail to think it through and then they suffer as one goal acts like a steamroller that destroys their life,” I replied.

It’s crucial to realize that one goal that sounds good may create such destruction that you might spend years trying to recover.

I read 82 books last year to keep updated about current research and case histories. One case history involved a man who decided to become a millionaire before the age of 42. He achieved his goal, but he was a millionaire who suffered a divorce*, and his children won’t talk to him. Seeing that case history inspired a thought in my mind: Don’t let a goal kill your life.

* I realize that some relationships simply end. However, to have a truly unhealthy relationship with your children sounds deeply painful for all involved.

To make sure we create sustainable success and happiness, we’ll use the M.A.P. Process:

M – measure
A – align
P – persist with a plan

  1. Measure

It’s vital to measure your progress, but even more important it’s crucial to choose a goal that will not disrupt your entire life.

I’ll give you an example. Currently. I am writing a third novel in a series, and my goal is to write 2,000 words a day. I use a dictation device so it’s not as hard as it would be if I was typing.

However, if I was overly ambitious or doing what I call “overstretch,” I might set a goal of 4,000 words a day. This would disrupt my other business activities. Business owners know that they need to devote enough time to lead generation and follow-up each day. In this way, you make sure that you have a have an appropriate amount of clients or customers at any given moment. You need to plant seeds to have future blossoms.

So, my choosing 2,000 words a day is appropriate and not an “overstretch.”

Measure your progress. In my book, Power Time Management, I wrote: Keep score and achieve more.


  1. Align

Earlier in this article, I mentioned the man who chose to devote full strength to becoming a millionaire by the age of 42, but he neglected the necessary actions to be available and present for his wife and children.

His goal of being a millionaire by the age of 42 and working in an obsessive manner reveals that he was not aligned with having a healthy, happy, fulfilling life.

Ask yourself:

  • Have I set a goal that is not realistic in terms of what else I want to be present in my life?
  • Will this goal provide me a breadth of good experiences so that I feel that I’ve had a fulfilling life?


  1. Persist with a plan

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

An effective plan includes suitable breaks and days off, and times for renewing yourself in the comfort of family and in the comfort of your alone-time. (In recent research, breaks are noted as vital so one avoids terrible mistakes. Such breaks are called “Vigilance Breaks.”)

The most significant projects require a consistent devoting of energy and attention over a long period of time. So, your plan needs multiple layers.

When I work with clients to develop a list of goals, I invite them to include “Green Goals.” Think of evergreen trees. The goals include actions like daily quiet time (or prayer time), exercise, family time, solo time, so my clients stay strong.

No matter what your schedule or plan has in it, some tough surprises are coming. With a plan that helps you stay strong, you’ll be able to have a reserve of energy and good health so that you’re able to withstand the storms of life.

In summary, be sure to think it through (and to feel it through)—as you develop a plan so that a goal can support the best in you and help you create your best life.


Tom Marcoux
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, 45 books so far 🙂

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