I had a friend who collected frogs, but I wonder if he ever ate one? Of course the French turned them into a delicacy, well the legs at least, however I am not sure if they served them with fries!

Now there may be some who read the above with a wry smile, others may be wondering if I have had a difficult weekend and they probably haven’t read Brian Tracey’s book Eat That Frog.

Brian equates the most difficult thing you have to do that day with eating a frog, not nice but once it’s over you feel really good! Human nature being what it is, I am sure that you too have looked at a task that is important but is going to take some time, or some research or just going to take us out of our comfort zone, and decided that you would rather do something else and do that instead. At the end of the day we have completed a load of unimportant stuff, but the frog is still sitting on the plate.

Other days, we gird up the loins and say “This is it – today the frog goes!” but then we allow the petty stuff of the day to overtake us. Interruptions, telephone calls, impromptu meetings at the water cooler, or we might spend the time trying to decide exactly how we are going to serve the frog – shall we have it with or without fries?

The trouble is that we can find dozens of other things to do to ensure that the frog lives another day – eventually the urgency of the task means that we are forced to complete it without due care and attention to detail, merely because we just couldn’t face it sooner. Rather like eating a frog.

This analogy is usually used in training about time management, but today I want to talk about goal setting, and their importance. I was brought to the realisation that goal setting is considered ‘so nineties’ by some of the younger generation of graduates when Trish was debriefing us on a recent training session. “Goals? What do we need them for?” seemed to be the general attitude of the participants. (All Gen Y+). I must be stuck in the nineties because I believe that goal setting is still the most important tool for us to create the life that we want rather than allow circumstances to dictate our outcomes.

“What do we really want in our future?” is still a valid question. And I do not believe that the younger generation are so lacking in ambition for themselves that they have never considered it. Their goals may be different, the preferred outcome for their lives may astound and surprise us, but I do not believe that they have not thought about it.

It does not matter what that outcome may be, if it is merely thought about, day dreamed about but never really verbalised then it stay within the realms of dreams. It takes on the same reality as those dreams we have of winning the lottery – and it has the same chance of succeeding – very little.

The link between goal setting and success was discovered in the 1950’s when Yale University researched the effect of committing to goals. They surveyed the current graduates and found that only 3% of them had clearly defined their goals, and written them down. Astoundingly, 20 years later they found that those 3% who had written goals were now worth more that all the other 97% put together.

They measured success in terms of financial achievement, (well they were business graduates I understand) but the principle is the same whatever your preferred outcome. The only difference between goal setting and day dreaming is writing the dreams down and committing to them. Nice-to-have dreams usually need a fairy godmother with a magic wand, because that is the only way that they will ever come true. On the other hand, a clearly defined goal with a definite workable outcome becomes the map for our future. Without it we can be blown from pillar to post (I’m into clichés today!) and while we can hope that serendipity will come to our aid, we had better duck because here comes another pig!

So, have you set yourself some goals – or are you just sailing wherever the wind takes you? If there is at the back of your mind a secret dream of what you would really like, then you can achieve it if you truly want to! Make it your frog today, and the only thing you really need to decide is “Do you want fries with that?”

Here to inspire you is something I found recently and I play every day, just to get me in the mood for tackling all those things I would really rather put off – like goal setting, so what are you waiting for – go get to it.

Michele @ Trischel

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