I have always been rather suspicious of goals. So I was delighted (!) to find a recent post by Jeff Trexler pointing to this Harvard Business School paper and a Boston Globe article on “Why setting goals can backfire“.
The late, great coaches’ coach Thomas Leonard remarked in 1989 that “goals are overrated and unnecessary”. Perhaps some evidence that he was right is finally starting to emerge.
As the HBS paper succinctly puts it, it’s not that goal setting doesn’t work. It’s that it’s “a prescription-strength medication that requires careful dosing, consideration of harmful side effects, and close supervision.”
So take care. Be careful what you aim for.