The Fear of Setting Goals and Reviewing Progress

Jason Lam
2 min readJun 7, 2021
Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

It’s a whole lot easier to keep pushing forward instead of questioning if you’re moving in the right direction. You only have to focus on the micro and do what you’ve been doing, what’s most familiar, remain in the narrow view of your comfort zone.

As much as I’ve applied productivity techniques for my day-to-day work and one some days even felt like I was flawless in my application and execution, I would still be running the risk of focusing on the wrong work if I refuse to reflect. It’s much easier to tell yourself “run” and “go” or even “run to that point” rather than remember 15 different twists and turns beyond the horizon that you can’t see.

And while execution is critical to succeed, discretion defines what success is. All that execution will be wasted if if the right discretion isn’t exercised.

Maybe success is a personal goal like learning a language to a certain fluency level, completing a kettlebell workout regimen with a certain weight, or publishing daily for 90 days.

Or maybe success are professional targets like finally sticking to the internal deadlines, reaching a revenue goal, or restructuring a service with revised KPIs that better align towards achieving it.

I now understand the value of setting goals and regularly reviewing progress towards them. The former defines success while the latter measures if you’re moving towards it. It’s much easier to not set goals and review progress because we can’t fail if we don’t define what is success and what isn’t. It’s hard to confront failure on a frequent basis because if we wish to avoid failure, then we must fix our failures to recalibrate our discretion and execution back towards success.

Setting goals and reviewing progress puts ownership on ourselves, asking us not only what we want but also if we are making the necessary moves to achieve it. Once we know the answer to the second question is “no”, then the most important question that should follow, a question that is more important than why, is “so will you?”