No one that I have ever met has desired to fail to reach their goals. We set the goals because they seem important. On January 1 of every year, thousands of people around the world set New Year’s resolutions and will faithfully commit to follow those goals or dreams for a few hours, a few days – and some, a few weeks.
By the end of January, most have forgotten what they set out to accomplish. Don’t be like them. Strive to overcome these key factors that often keep people from reaching goals and you will be able accomplish them, regardless of when you set them.
What Really Prevents People from Reaching Goals
1) Lack of Focus
Most fail because of a lack of planning. Likely, the most common goal deals with weight loss. Unfortunately, the goal is usually stated as something like, “get healthy” or “lose weight”. If your goal is that nebulous, you are practically guaranteed to fail.
Make your goal something solid. Things like, be able to do 1000 push-ups in a day, OR run a marathon, are much better indicators of health. I remember once, that my mom wanted to fit into a specific dress. She bought the dress and hung it on the outside of her closet.
That was a very focused goal. Every year on Veterans Day, I want to be able to fit into my Army dress blue uniform. That is the same concept. I am focused every year on finding time to exercise and the motivation to push the fudge away.
Other areas of life work the same way. Determine to be a subject matter expert at something. Pick that something, and then put your mind on the possibilities. Focus is critical when it comes to reaching goals.
How will you know if you succeeded or not? Look at all of your goals. If you cannot answer that question, than you need to establish some focus.
2) Lack of Understanding
Many fail because they don’t really understand what it takes in reaching goals. Most will over-estimate their own abilities and underestimate the difficulties that they will face. In today’s information-centered world, there is NO excuse not to fully understand what it will take to accomplish anything of value.
Watch videos, read books and articles (like this blog entry), search websites, and visit people who are trying to accomplish the same sort of things as you are. Ask questions and seek answers. Doing this will build your desire as well as your knowledge base. What mistakes have people made in their attempts? Learn all that you can and then determine if you are really ready to pay the price for your success.
Another piece of the understanding is to consider how reaching goals will impact your family and friends. Part of our understanding must include them, as you will need them to help you push through the dark times.
3) Lack of Planning
Once you get some focused goals, you can begin some REAL planning. Write down that goal and then think through the steps it will take for you to accomplish it. Make a concrete plan with a timeline of different stages of development. Be aggressive but realistic with your plan.
Have a plan in place for what you will do when you want to quit. Have a plan for where you foresee difficulties. Someone who wants to drop 20 pounds might want to have a plan in place for holidays and other food-centered events. What is your plan for exercise when the weather is terrible? Make a plan for every contingency that you can think of.
How does your plan work when you are on vacation or on a business trip? Write out your plan. Look at it often. Then be flexible with it. Help the plan to live. Work out as many details as you can to include the right equipment and clothing, or a plan to purchase training that you might need.
The more time that you took to complete the research, the more likely it will be that you will have discovered what it takes in reaching goals.
4) Lack of Discipline
A plan is useless if you don’t follow through with the action. Often, this will be a joy, sometimes, it will be a struggle.
Dig deep within yourself. You will not feel like waking up early every day to run. Do it anyway. You will want to eat that donut with the icing and the sprinkles. Consider, is that in my plan? If not, do the least practiced exercise, the push your plate away.
Yes, your eyes are tired and you feel as though you are rowing the boat against the current. Keep your heart and mind focused on the goal and push through the negativity. Create daily habits that will push you toward your goal. Create certain rituals that will train your brain on how to think.
A ritual can be as simple as having coffee after your morning run. If you create this habit, your brain will begin to actively partner with you to force you to run, so that you can get to the coffee portion of your day.
Rituals are a powerful tool to help with you discipline but they take time to establish. Take that time early in your planning process.
5) Lack of Hunger
For a season, you can check the box on discipline. But if you lack the hunger for success, you are destined to fail when reaching goals.
Success does NOT come cheap. There is real pain that stops most. Consider that while everyone wants to be a success, how few pull it off. It is often the lack of real desire or hunger that is holding them back.
Imagine yourself having succeeded. Force yourself to taste it and feel it. Fill your nose with that scent of your success. Place yourself right there at the finish line. Imagine telling your great, great grandkids about how you lived your life.
Find that hunger wherever you can. Seek motivation from others who have walked that path before you. Find the faith to believe that you have it in you to pull off whatever goal that you have set for yourself. Push hard and see what you have within yourself.
You are going to overcome the factors that have prevented you from succeeding in the past. You are going to pull it off this year. THIS year, you will be among the few that accomplish things above the ordinary.
At some point in the future, you will have accomplished those goals that seemed like a dream when you created them. Then, you will be stoked. Your reward will be that gut feeling that reminds you that you are extraordinary.
You are a hero.