Why your big goals don’t stick and what to do about it

"A staggering 92 percent of people don't achieve their goals." - Thomas Oppong

Why do we set goals every year, but fail to hit them time and again? Why do we start the year with gusto and then by March find we’re feeling deflated as we've gone off track?

Maybe it’s that we’ve got the whole process all wrong.

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Goals that excite you, not exhaust you

It's a great strength to live knowing that if you lost every material possession, you would still have a life worth living. - Unknown

Have you ever set a goal, reached it and then feel as though you need to hit the next mountaintop as soon as you’ve reached the first?

This feeling of constantly struggling for the next big thing is often because we focus on Extrinsic Goals, goals that are based around getting something, buying something big, making x amount of money. 

These Extrinsic Goals are often things that we think other people will admire in us, but they are inherently unfulfilling.

There’s a lot of pressure these days for entrepreneurs to “push it”, “win at it”, “get to the top”, but getting caught up in this social competition is not going to help you set goals that really mean something to you.

Intrinsic Goals come from things we love to do.  Just think about that for a second, what do you love to do each day, rather than what do you want to own?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting nice things, but these are then desires, not really solid business goals and it’s important to distinguish between the two.


Find Your Intrinsic Drivers

Don't focus on the victory, focus on the task. - Coach Erik Spoelstra

When you’re focusing on your Intrinsic Goals, you’ll find you start thinking “I want to build [this thing] that helps people do [that thing]”, “I want to be more creative every day”, “I want to do more of what makes me excited to get up”. 

This is when you’re working in your “zone of genius”.

Think back to the last time you sat down and worked on something for 2 hours and were so involved that you didn’t check your social media, you forgot about the time and you just felt in the zone. 

That’s you working in your “zone of genius”. Tie your goals to this kind of work, not what you think you should be doing. 

Stop “shoulding” all over your business!  One of my goals for 2018 is to not say “I should be…” anymore.  Rather “I want to…”, “ I choose to”, “I will do…”. 

There’s a lot of research on how this small change in your vocabulary makes a big change in your mindset and makes you more likely to achieve the goals you set.

To find your Intrinsic Goals, focus on how you want to feel in 2018 rather than what you want to own by the end of the year.


Achieve your biggest goals in 2018

Now that you know what daily activities fire you up and what internal feeling you’re trying to create for yourself in 2018, let’s see how that fits into real goals for the year.  

It’s important to get specific about how much income you’ll need for you to feel relaxed and happy in your life. 

Setting your income goals may seem like an Extrinsic Goal, but it’s not if its tied to your values and what you are really comfortable with, not what you think others would be impressed with. 

What number makes you feel free and what feels like a stretch, not a stress?  And does it make you feel good or make you feel like others would be impressed?  Stay focused on Intrinsic Goals.

Next, you’ll think through what kind of impact you want to have in the world.  Who do you want to serve? 

It can be people you want to help in your business or charitable causes you want to give to financially or with your time.  How will you make a difference in the world in 2018?

Then you need to think through your personal goals.  What would you like to achieve this year that isn’t tied to your business? 

Who in your friends and family circles would you like to bond with more and how?  What personal achievements would make you feel fulfilled?  Climbing a mountain? Running a race?  Meditating every day?

Try and choose 1-3 in each category and write them down in the workbook below.

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Create your Plan Of Action

"When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time." - Creighton Abrahms

Now that you have your goals written down, it’s time to turn them into a realistic, attainable plan.

And that’s exactly what we have to do with big, audacious goals – break them down into smaller, more digestible projects and then even smaller tasks.

Take a look at your income goal to start with.  Take the number you want to achieve in 2018 and break that down into projects that you’ll need to complete to achieve it.

So, for example if you want to make £30,000 this year, then what exactly will you need to do to get there?  How many customers will you need to serve?  How will you find those customers?  What will you offer them?

Do the same for your impact goals and your personal goals.  Write down 3-5 projects you’ll need to complete to achieve those goals.

Now that you have 3-5 projects you’ll be focusing on this year, space them out across each quarter of the year. 

So, for example, 2 big projects in Q1 could be “launch new website” and “create flagship online course”.  Or it could be “run half-marathon” and “test product in US market”.

By spacing them out through each quarter of the year, it gives you enough time to see big results and there should be enough variation to keep you interested and excited through the year.



Identify your new habits

There’s plenty of new research on how high achievers get so much done and it’s become evident that habits are the most important thing to focus on to keep yourself going. 

We can set our big goals for Q1,2,3 and 4, but there’s a great chance we won’t actually hit any of them unless we change our daily habits.

If you have a goal to write a book, then sitting down every morning for an hour or two will get you there.  You’ll have to imbed that habit into your daily life to see big results.

If you want to run a marathon, getting up and running 3 times a week will get you there.

What habits do you need to create in your life to make those goals a reality?

Then choose one small action you need to take each day to begin the habit.  For example, if I think I need to run 10km this morning that may sound intimidating, but the thought of just putting my running shoes on is a small step I can do each day.  And that small step will be the catalyst for getting out and running the miles I need to do.

If making 10 sales calls a day is what you need to do to hit your income goal, and the thought of it terrifies you, then make your catalyst as simple as getting up and setting put your contact list before you sit down to make the calls.

James Clear has done decades of research on this and he uses the simple act of getting a glass of water before he sits down to write and that helped him write an entire book!  It helps your brain to get into the zone before you begin.

Define your habits then pick a catalyst.

What did you struggle with the most and what goals have you set for yourself?  Please comment below, I'd love to know!

Photo by Hope House Press on Unsplash