• Goal-Setting and Success: A Swift Kick in the Butt

    Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

    by Michelle Cederberg, Health and Productivity Expert

    Welcome back to Dream BIG, think small! In the last episode, I implored you to roll up your sleeves and do the work. We’ve got success in our plans for this year!

    This time, I want to inspire you to new levels of success with one of my favorite sources, Calvin and Hobbes:


    We all need a swift kick in the butt, don’t we? With our business, with our health, with our finances. And we see the dream just right there at our fingertips …

    And yet we come up with every excuse in the book why it can wait until tomorrow, or Monday, or next month.


    Your big goals need daily, kick-butt action! No more excuses! I want to help you to identify your excuse ‘command post’ so that you can start to take control and really kick some butt in your business, your finances, your health – wherever it matters.

    Locus of Control and Goal-Setting

    When things in your life go haywire, it’s easy (and sometimes feels better) to redirect blame away from yourself. “It’s not my fault that I failed the entrance exam.” Or, “the test was too hard.”

    At the same time, when self-esteem is low, or when we’re strong enough to handle the truth, we’ll readily accept blame for something we’ve done: “It’s my fault that I failed the entrance exam. I didn’t study hard enough.”

    Locus of control is an idea that originated in social psychology in the 1950’s. It is defined as, “the degree to which you believe you are in control of the events in your life,” and suggests that we all have an external and an internal locus of control:

    Those individuals with a high EXTERNAL locus of control believe that luck, fate, chance, or something “out there” determines the outcome of circumstances that affect them.

    Those individuals with a high INTERNAL locus of control believe that what they get is a result of what they do.

    In truth, we’re never simply one or the other, rather we draw on one viewpoint or the other dictated by our mindset and circumstances at the time.


    The question to consider is whether the choice to adopt an external or an internal stance on any given circumstance at any given time is accurate or inaccurate.

    External locus of control shows up in conversation like this:

    • It’s not my fault I can’t exercise. My boss keeps me late, the kids’ schedules are crazy, and I have too much to do at home.
    • It’s not my fault I have no money. Rent is expensive, the cost of living has risen, and I don’t get paid enough.
    • It’s not my fault I’m miserable. I hate my job, I’m single and I don’t like where I live.
    • It’s not my fault the relationship ended. He was a jerk.

    In each of the above examples, the victim points a finger out toward the cause of their problems.

    By doing so they refuse to take responsibility for their pain even though, in some instances it may be theirs to take. More on that later.

    Internal locus of control shows up in conversation like this:

    • It’s my fault I can’t exercise. I’m lazy, I don’t prioritize, and I won’t ask for help.
    • It’s my fault I don’t have any money. I spend more than I make, and I haven’t cut expenses where I can.
    • It’s my fault I’m miserable. I push everyone away, I don’t take care of myself, and I don’t do anything fun anymore.
    • It’s my fault the relationship ended. I’m clingy, uninteresting, and out of shape.

    In each of these examples, the victim points a finger squarely at themselves – taking full responsibility for their pain even though, in some instances it may not be theirs to take.


    If you look at all of the external or internal examples above, depending on the situation, all of the conclusions could be true.

    Sometimes your boss keeps you late so you can’t exercise but sometimes you’re just too lazy to get off the sofa. Which is more accurate?

    Sometimes he is a jerk and doesn’t deserve you, but sometimes it might be you. Where does the real truth lie?

    Your Number One Goal: Strive for Accurate Thinking

    Your goal then is to strive for accurate thinking as often as possible – even if that requires you to look pain square in the face, work a bit harder, or accept that you’re not perfect.

    Your goal is to strive for accurate thinking even if that means you have to accept that you are more attractive, nicer, smarter and more motivated than you give yourself credit for.


    Be honest with yourself. Accept responsibility for the things you have done (good, bad or in-between) that have brought you to this point in your life and then ask yourself: “How can I do better?”

    Listen to what’s going on in the excuses you are making. You KNOW when you are selling yourself a bill of goods. You KNOW when you’re focusing on the wrong stuff. You KNOW when you’re not doing the work.

    I’ll Say It Again: DO THE WORK!


    • Focus on the things that will bring you success.
    • Focus on getting stuff done DAILY toward your goal.
    • Focus on doing the work.

    That’s it! Short, sweet, simple. Now you’ve got work to do!

    I’m serious – GET GOING.

    If you need inspiration, go back and read the previous installment in this series.

    And then do the work. It’s time to go out and kick some butt!

    Stay tuned for the next installment in this series. Until then, continue to dream BIG and think small!

    (published June 19, 2013)

    michelle cederberg motivational speakerMichelle Cederberg is a Certified Speaking Professional, Co-Active Life Coach, Health Expert and Author. With a Masters in Kinesiology, a BA in Psychology, and a specialization in Health and Exercise Psychology, Michelle combines mind, body, and practicality to inspire change! She speaks with humour and passion, and encourages her audiences to put their own health and well being back on their priority lists with a small steps approach that leaves them believing they can. The author of Energy Now! Small Steps to an Energetic Life, is also a bit of a video girl, regularly posting helpful (and at times hilariously funny) videos on her Energy TV channel. Learn more at www.ifyourlifesucks.com.