Setting and achieving goals is tough. Most people give up in the first couple weeks of the year. They fail to reach their big ambitions, not from a lack of desire, they just don’t know how to make their goals stick.
Today, I’m going to share three things that I’ve seen keep people from achieving their goals and how to beat them.
1. Not Setting the Right Goals
When you set a goal, what’s the first thing you think of? Maybe it’s a plan to go running so you can get healthy. Being fit is a good thing to want, but the path everybody else takes might not be the best for you.
The biggest trouble with your goals is that they’re not enjoyable to you. You gravitate toward the most common goals that people set without taking thought of what you really want out of life.
You’re kept from your goal not by roadblocks but by a clear path to a more common (and less enjoyable) goal.
So ask yourself: what do I really want to achieve? Who do I want to become? What goals light me up inside when I think about working toward them?
Take some time, a few hours or days even, to identify the identies and values that make you happiest when you live them. Then, center your goals around those principles and personality traits.
Make both the end goal and the process enjoyable. If you like to rollerblade, for instance, use that to get fit. Try this with every area of life, whether it’s spiritual, social, financial, or fitness.
As you do this, you’ll start to see that goal-setting becomes more fun. You’ll enjoy working on your goals and seeing the results. And you’ll start to see more results, too, because you’ll stick to your goals more easily.
2. Over-complicating the Process
SMART goals don’t really work. In all my 15+ years of goal-setting experience, I’ve only ever heard people talk about SMART goals but never actually seen it work in the real world.
It’s a good theory and sounds nice, but it’s too complex for actual humans.
Your goals themselves don’t have to be that complicated, either. The basics are the basics for a reason—they work. Movement and diet always get you fit, time with loved ones always gets you happy relationships, meditation always grows your spirit.
Your goals only need two components to succeed:
- An outcome
- Action steps to get you to your outcome
Say you’re setting a financial goal. Your outcome will be something like “get to $100k income per year” or “make $10,000 next month.”
Once you decide this, you figure out what you need to do each day to make it happen. It might be sales calls, job interviews, or blog posts. Then you complete your action steps every day until you reach the outcome you want.
It really is that simple. And the most successful and happy people I know are all using this method to reach their goals.
3. Giving Up Too Early
There’s a popular image that depicts two miners digging two different horizontal tunnels. One of them keeps working despite no results, and the other is walking away.
But the funny thing is, the diamonds are just a short distance away from both of them. One of the miners will get rich because of his determination.
The principle here is that when you want to give up most is when you’re closest to a major breakthrough.
I see this all the time with writing. New writers publish just one post thinking that the world will love it and then they wonder why they hear crickets. Even months into it they might not see results and they give up, frustrated that people aren’t seeing their work.
But the top writers I know and work with regularly all have one thing in common. They kept at it for years before they saw great success.
This is how it works in every realm of life. You have to stick with the exercise routine, budgeting, or family time if you want the results.
And remember that you can’t undo years of bad habits with just one month of work. If you’ve eaten unhealthy, managed your money poorly, or treated people poorly for a while, then it will take a while to resolve that.
It’s worth it, though, because nobody can be happy when they’re poor, unhealthy, alone, or morally bankrupt.
True fulfillment in life comes when you’re spiritually aligned, socially connected, financially free, and physically fit. These things all take consistent work over a long period of time to achieve and maintain.
In Summary: What Keeps You From Achieving Your Goals
You aren’t kept from achieving your goals because you don’t want them badly enough. You just fall into the same traps everybody does of not setting the right goals, over-complicating the process, and giving up too early.
That’s not your fault, though, and there’s no point in wasting time worrying about the past.
Focus on the bright future and exciting goals ahead. You can achieve your goals if you set goals you love, simplify the process, and stick with them until you see results.