Every single human being on this planet has dreams and aspirations that they hope to achieve one day in their lives. But how come so few succeed, and that so many of us will keep struggling forever to turn our dreams into reality.
The fact of the matter is that most people understand the relevance and importance of goal setting. Yet a vast majority of us don’t set concrete and proper thought out goals. And from the ones that do, only a small percentage actually reach them.
If you are someone that has set many goals but reached very few, improving on the following 6 things will drastically increase your chances of succeeding in life.
Lack of Understanding of What Setting a Goal Means
I am sure you can all think of a personal example where you might have set a goal for yourself, be it about getting in shape or you getting that job promotion. But did you actually set a proper goal?
A goal isn’t a just a statement you make, its a road map of how you are going to achieve something. To make a proper goal, you also need to make a step-by-step plan of how to achieve that.
So lets take the example where you set a goal of getting in shape. This in itself is already a very vague statement. Do you mean you want to be able to run a marathon, have the endurance necessary to climb Mount Everest, or do you simply want to stop being out of breath every time you climb a flight of stairs?
Each of these above goals are all about getting in shape to do something, but all require vastly different strategies of training to get there.
If you do not narrow down your goals, you will be lost as to what you actually need to focus on. This will lead to frustration, and likely means you will quit before you see any results.
A much better example of “getting in shape” would be; “I want to be able to run 5 km within 25 minutes”. Now you know what sport to train and the time frame of your activity.
Now you can google the best ways to run 5 km for a beginner, and you will get a step-by-step plan to achieve that goal. Make your goals as concrete as possible, so that you know exactly what to do and when to do it in order to make it a reality.
In the first few days of starting a new activity in order to reach a goal, we are full of motivation. Unfortunately this wears off over time. This in combination with a lack of results can often lead to impatience and pure frustrations.
We might think we are not doing it properly, or that we simply cannot get through it. Any thing in life worth achieving, is going to take time. So make sure you give yourself adequate time of analyzing your progress before you decide to switch things up or to stop altogether.
Another cause for impatience can be an unrealistic plan, or unrealistic expectations of yourself. Whenever you set a goal for anything, have a look at what the average person is able to do.
If on average people can run 5 km in 28 min, don’t set a goal to run 5 km in less than 20 minutes for example. Keep it real!
That being said, not everyone is going to be good at everything. If you start something new, make sure to stick with it for at least 2-4 months. If you do not enjoy the activity anymore or realize this just isn’t for you, you can quit knowing full well you gave it your best shot. But make sure not to give up too early!
A big reason why goals aren’t being realized, isn’t necessarily because people are lazy, but because their goals are simply uninspiring and boring!
When you set a goal, they might seem fun and motivating. But if you have no deeper emotional connection to that which you want to achieve, you’ll fall off the path to success. When you set a goal, ask yourself how badly you want it.
If you simply wanna workout to “look good”, you will likely get frustrated when you don’t see big results a couple of days into your training. Meanwhile if you understand and truly care about the long term benefits that exercise provides, you are much more likely to stick with your game plan!
Always try to form some attachment to your goals, it will help you keep going when that initial motivation fades!
Lack of accountability is disastrous for anyone setting any kind of goal or target in their life. If you have made a proper roadmap for a goal you set, make sure you stick to it. Even a minor deviation from your plan can prevent it from turning it into a habit, making it infinitely more difficult to achieve.
One great way to hold yourself accountable, is to keep a personal journal with you at all times. Every morning you write what you plan to achieve for the day, and every evening you reflect on how successful you were.
People find it difficult to let themselves down, so here you are essentially playing a game with your ego-self.
Giving yourself rewards for doing the work you have done is another great way to build up personal accountability. You will subconsciously keep yourself accountable, just because you are craving to receive that reward when the work is done. Make sure you stay disciplined and not reward yourself too much or too early!
If you know that you are terrible with personal accountability, you can always employ the help of a friend. Set a goal together with a them. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by not doing the work, so you will be extra motivated. You can even turn this into a competition if this would help you.
When you pick a person to do this with, make sure they are reliable and dedicated to seeing it through to the end. You need someone that will drag you out of bed to go the the gym when you are not feeling it that day. You should also be the one motivating your friend to go when they feel like slacking off.
Not Having a Set Deadline
Setting a deadline is an integral part of the plan you make to reach you goal. We all procrastinate on our work at sometime, so having a deadline will keep you in check and ensure that you do the work that is necessary.
I know that for me, I work the best when I am under the pressure of a deadline. Lets take an example from my exam schedule from university. I would much rather have 3 days in-between exams, than 1 week. Why? Because the pressure of having only 3 days until my next exams will make me so much more productive than having a full week. Knowing that I have 7 days for an exam, will mean I spend the first 3-4 days basically doing nothing.
Since I hate wasting time, I would much rather get rid of these unproductive days. When that deadline comes closer, you get an extra boost of motivation that can often times make up for any lack of discipline you have. Use this to your advantage!
When there is no pressure to go and do something difficult, it is very hard to try and get yourself to put in the effort and do the work. So when you are setting deadlines for your goals, it is always a good idea to put on the pressure.
That being said, make sure you still keep it realistic. The last thing you want is to set a strict deadline for an exercise related goal, to then get injured because you pushed yourself too hard. Be smart about it!
Fear of Failure
If you are someone that struggles with low self-esteem and dwindling confidence levels, this is likely to affect you a great deal. You might have also tried to achieve a particular goal many times before, but failed.
Never fear failure, instead you have to learn to embrace it. We learn more about ourselves during our greatest defeats, than in any other time. The only way to grow as a person, is to put yourself out there and fail. You will learn invaluable lessons that will help you conquer whatever you set your mind too.
I even go so far to set goals so difficult to achieve, that I almost expect myself to fail. Because in the moments I realize I might not reach this goal, is where most of my self discovery and self improvement happens.
The more you fail in life the more you will succeed later on. That is a given!
Setting and achieving goals is not easy, and we all struggle with it. I hope you found some areas with which you struggled while reading this article, and now know how to improve upon. Best of luck!