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Unrealistic Goals Are a Danger to Your Bottom Line

A researcher at a Netherlands university conducted a study to see if women who want to lose weight are more motivated if they see a picture of a skinny model. The volunteers were given diaries to note what they ate and when. Half the volunteers got a diary with a skinny model on the cover and every page. The other half received a diary with a logo.

The results: The women with the diary with the skinny-model picture actually were not able to lose weight or gained weight, while those with the logo diaries lost weight.

The conclusion: The researchers said that “repeated exposure to models with unrealistic body sizes changes the dieter’s belief about the attainability of a thinner self.” This demotivates the dieters and they tend to move away from rather than towards their goal.

How does this relate to your finances?

You may have been told to build a treasure map filled with your dreams for success or to pick a really wealthy role model to stimulate your ability to generate more revenue.

Or perhaps you’ve heard a self-proclaimed successful business person tell you that because they achieved a huge amount of success, you can too.

Or perhaps you are trying to emulate someone you perceive “has it all.”

Like the women in the skinny-model study, the goal you are picturing may be so far out of your experience that, deep down inside, you know the goal is unattainable, and you resist taking the actions that can move you forward.

Set Realistic Goals

Many people I talk to have what I consider grandiose goals. A person making $50,000 a year might want to earn $100,000 a MONTH! That kind of goal, like the pictures of the skinny models, can be demotivating.

Grandiose goals can also exacerbate entrenched not-enough feelings, thus perpetrating a less-than financial position.

A better idea is to set a smaller goal, such as increasing your income by 10% or 20%. Doing this allows you to develop a practical strategy to reach the goal. You can figure out how many more items you need to sell, how many new clients you need to add, or how by much you should raise your rates.

I like to use a spread sheet where I can do if-then scenarios. I can test different prices for my products or services and varying numbers of units sold to see what it takes to reach a specific income goal.

Then I can determine if there is a market for what I’m offering at the price I want to charge, and I can adjust my marketing accordingly.

Smaller goals also raise your chances of experiencing genuine success and give you the opportunity to adapt to managing increased revenue.

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