Goals are an integral part of how most successful people reach the heights they do. It is very rare that someone will say, "I became incredibly successful and I wasn't even trying to accomplish anything." In fact, I would argue that there is no pure triumph without goals, effort, and dedication. It can feel like your dreams have gone up in smoke if you never make any progress. But I always believe there's a way to overcome failure. (In fact, I wrote about 5 easy ways you can do that). Here are 11 reasons why you're not reaching your goals.
1. There's a lack of focus.
This is the number one problem for people who never seen to be able to accomplish their goals.
Think of how detailed your number one hope or dream is. Answer yourself honestly about whether it is realistic or even well defined. Here is an example of lack of focus vs. slam-dunk focus.
Lack of Focus: "I want to lose weight."
Slam-Dunk Focus: "I want to lose 30 pounds by December 1, 2015 by exercising and eating healthier."
The first example isn't really considered a true goal at all. It's a wish, a hope, an idea. A realistic goal is a clear, well-defined target that anyone can reach, even if it initially seems far-fetched. But they must start with slam-dunk focus!
2. There's no accountability.
For the sake of this post, let's pretend you want to reach the goal listed above and lose 30 pounds by December 1, 2015 by exercising and eating healthier.
So you start jogging every day and buying overpriced fruits and vegetables from Whole Foods. But then life gets a little hectic and you buy one snack size bag of candy for an extra boost in energy. No big deal, right? I mean, it was just a bag of candy and who would find out anyway? That's the problem!
You're more likely to stick to your goals if you have a partner doing it with you or cheering you on. You need someone to turn to and confide in if you start to lose your resolve.
3. There's no timeframe.
Expectations often become realities through hard work and deadlines. You wouldn't hand twenty 3rd graders science homework and say, "Just get it back to me whenever." To ensure their educational development you would set a due date and build upon the progress they make.
We start teaching our children this way for a reason because human nature will sometimes respond very well to expectations. You'll be more inclined to work hard and stay focused if you have a deadline.
4. Energy is wasted on distractions.
There is usually something more entertaining to do than the undertaking of complicated goals. In the example of losing weight, you could spend hours staring at Pinterest for cute outfits and swimsuits you can't wait to try on. But if you spend all that time wishing and not working towards your goal, you may never get there.
Stay focused by writing out a step by step plan. Then be sure to complete these tasks in order! Don't jump around at random and get distracted. You've got this. Just stay focused.
5. You're listening to negative influences.
One of the best ways to cheat on your diet is to hang out with someone who doesn't believe you have the willpower to lose weight and baked you a cake to prove it.
Negative comments like "I don't know if you can do this," or "It's okay if you just give up," are things that you don't need to hear.
No, it's not the end of the world if you never reach your goals. But don't be convinced that you'll never cross the finish line before you even start the race.
6. There's a lack of measurability.
We all need a little encouragement when the going gets rough. Taking note of the progress you've made is the perfect incentive to keep up the good work.
Remember when you listed all of your goals with a deadline in number 3? Start keeping track of how close you are to completing each step. Continuously ask yourself, "Where am I compared to yesterday? Am I making progress or falling behind?"
7. You're too hard on yourself.
Negative influences can really make or break your self esteem. Other people may say negative things to you but you should also consider whether you are being too hard on yourself.
Do you beat yourself up for failing to reach small targets? Or do you give yourself a pep talk to overcome the challenges you're facing? Be determined in your efforts but also be your own number one cheerleader.
8. Nothing is written down.
This weakness ties in with the first problem I listed. Where there's a lack of focus, there's usually no written structure.
Taking pen to paper (or computer ink to computer paper) will sometimes trick our brains into thinking our goals are more realistic. You can hang them up above your desk or on your refrigerator. They act as a constant reminder of who you want to be, where you're going, and how you're going to get there.
9. You focus on everything and nothing at all.
Do you know the phrase "spreading yourself too thin?" Say that you've created a list of 10 things you should do to eat healthier, exercise, and eventually lose weight. Do you focus on one step at a time or do you try to finish all ten at once?
As tempting as it is to dive right in and power through everything, you'll go much further by being patient and making progress one step at a time.
10. Your goals are not your own.
Spend the next few minutes thinking about your top ten hopes and dreams. What do they look like? How do they change your life? Does the idea of seeing them come true make you smile?
How can you pour 110% of your being into a goal that is not even your own? Let's go back to the example we talked about before. Are you losing 30 pounds for yourself or for someone else?
11. You're not being patient.
Be patient with your work and you'll often find things operating more efficiently. If you rush past all of your duties, you'll miss important details or steps that cam hurt your progress later on.
I've taken on large projects thinking, "If I can just quickly work through this I know I'll see results in no time!" Nine times out of ten I either failed or didn't put in my best work because I was in a hurry.
Did any of these eleven problems sound familiar to you? If the answer is yes, you are not alone! I wouldn't be able to write about them if I hadn't made the mistakes myself.
How do you reach your goals? What other ways might hurt someone from reaching their goals?