Goals. Dreams. Resolutions. There are many different words to describe them, but what I want to discuss in this article is how to achieve them. How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? So many people will say that they want to do something and then never achieve it. Goals are incredible tools to get you where you want to be, but if you do not set the right goals you could be setting yourself up for failure. In this article I will talk about why people do not achieve their goals, and then give you a few tips to hopefully help you start getting what you want out of life!
Why Don’t People Achieve Their Goals? At the beginning of every year millions of people come up with a New Years resolution and have abandoned it by February. The amount of different goals that people set are countless (lose weight, make more money, find a spouse, quit smoking, etc.) and I believe that most people really want to achieve the things that they say they do. However, when it comes down to implementing what needs to be done, most people fall short and quit. Here are four reasons that I believe that people don’t achieve their goals.
1. Setting the wrong goals
Most people set goals that are largely out of their control. By saying that you want to lose 10 pounds or qualify for the CrossFit Games or make a million dollars you are setting goals that are largely out of your control. Your hormones might be messed up from years of under eating and it might take time to get them right before your body starts responding and burning fat. You might do everything in your power to qualify for the CrossFit Games and just have better people in your region or have bad workouts come out. You might have some unexpected life events that drain your finances. I believe that it is much better to set goals that you can control. Instead of saying that you want to lose 10 pounds say that you want to track your calories and macros every day for a month. Instead of saying you want to qualify for the CrossFit Games say that you will complete every piece of your program every single day with 100% effort. Instead of saying you want to make a million dollars say that you will put 10% of your earnings each month into a savings account, no matter what. By setting goals that you can control you will gain momentum by achieving them and develop habits that will eventually get you to where you want to be (or make you realize you never really wanted it in the first place or that you aren’t willing to put in the work required to achieve it).
2. Not having a process in place
I do think that it is ok to have those big lofty goals in place IF, and only IF, you have a process in place to help you achieve it. There is a great book by a sports psychologist named Dr. Bob Rotella who has worked with some of the best sports performers of our time called How Champions Think. This is an incredible book that I highly recommend, but one quote really stood out to me. Dr. Rotella says “That ability to take a dream and use it to create a process is what separates exceptional people from mere dreamers.” This quote is spot on to why most people don’t achieve their goals. They set these lofty goals but never put a plan in place to get there. Once you set your goal figure out what you need to do EVERY SINGLE DAY to achieve it. What daily habit do you need to develop? What coach do you need to hire? What knowledge do you need to acquire? By developing the process and sticking to it every day you will set yourself on a path to achieve whatever you desire.
Accountability is very important in achieving our goals, but it might not be the type of accountability that you think of. Most people believe that the more people you tell about your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. The opposite is actually the case. Every time you tell someone about your goal or what you want to do you get a little dopamine response. It makes you feel good. You start to feel like you have already achieved it. By telling a whole lot of people or posting it on social media you will have already gotten the feel good response you would have gotten from achieving your goal, and you are much more likely to quit trying to achieve it. I think a better strategy is to tell one or two people who you really trust to hold you accountable. These people should have the right to ask you about your process to achieve your goal whenever they want. They should also be willing to call you out if you aren’t doing what needs to be done. If you can get the right people to hold you accountable, I think that you will be much more likely to succeed.
4. Not setting big enough goals
This might be a little counterintuitive, but bear with me. I think that most people don’t dream big enough. They set small goals that they think they can achieve, but if they don’t achieve it won’t really matter that much. This way they protect themselves from failing big and getting hurt. I think that you should set big, lofty, scary goals. If your goals don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough. If some people don’t think you are crazy for what you are going after then your goals are too small. By setting big goals you will force yourself into action because you know you have so far to go. Another benefit is that even if you fall short of your goal and only come close you will still most likely be in a much better position then you would have been if you set a small goal.
When you are setting goals this year I hope that some of these tips will help you. I am a big believer in goals to help you get where you want to be, but they need to be set in the correct way. By following these guidelines I think that you will be setting yourself up to achieve what you really want.