It’s one thing to set a goal. It’s another thing entirely to achieve it.
How many articles do you think have been written on goal setting? How many times do you think the words “How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick” appear in cyberspace? (That exact phrase typed into the google search bar will generate "about 23,400 results".) There’s a reason this topic is talked about over and over and over again. As I'm sure you know (and I know too!) setting the goal, in no way guarantees you will actually accomplish the goal. So what happens? Why do people with the best intentions, and all the inspiration and motivation in the world, end up failing to accomplish their goals?
You can’t just want it. It’s not enough to know WHY you want your goal; you also have to know HOW you're going to get it. If all you had to do was want it – there wouldn’t be 8 billion articles on how to accomplish your goals. Once you’ve recognized the ways in which you might be sabotaging your own forward progress with your goals and you’ve then allowed yourself to dream big these are the three most important steps you can take to turn your goals into memories of the amazing things you’ve accomplished.
You Must Choose
Goal Fail: You tried to accomplish too many things at once
You cannot put 100% of your energy into 100 goals. You have to choose, and once you choose, you have to commit. With everything you've got. What is the most important thing for you to accomplish right now? When you try to do too much at once, eventually you get overwhelmed and stop all forward progress towards everything. This is tough when you have multiple goals, but you are going to have to choose which one is the most important to you right now. You have to make sacrifices in order to make progress. So ... which goal will it be?
Break it Down
Goal Fail: You didn’t done enough prep work
Once you choose, you need to get specific. You need to break your long-term goal down into smaller, specific, actionable steps that will direct your efforts towards accomplishing your long-term goal. Create a goal outline by writing out your plan - working backwards – and adding a deadline for each step. (Try getting some big flip chart paper for writing out your big plans!) For example, if you have a race you want to do 6 months from now; what needs to be accomplished each month leading up to your goal? Then break down what needs to be accomplished each week in order to hit your milestone for that month. Then break down how you need to spend your time each week in order to achieve your weekly milestones. If you set wishy-washy goals, you are going to get wishy-washy results. Do the prep work.
Goal Fail: You hit a roadblock and gave up
I’ve hiked hundreds of trails and have yet to see a trail that starts at the bottom and takes a straight line up to the top of the mountain. There are switchbacks; sometimes you lose some elevation and then gain it back again. When you're hiking a mountain, the "downs" all eventually go up. It won’t be a straight shot to your goal. Sometimes sheer perseverance is what eventually accomplishes the goal. Try recruiting some “cheerleaders” to encourage you along the way. (Imagine how awesome it would feel to climb an epic hike and have some of your favorite people strategically placed along the trail to cheer you on!) When your confidence starts to slip away or your initial inspiration starts to fade … who can you reach out to for motivational support? Who knows how important this goal is to you and can help you stay accountable? When you hit a roadblock don't stop, go around it.
I think most of the time people aren't failing at accomplishing their goals; they are failing at "goal setting". They are failing to set themselves up for success by having an effective method for setting their goals. When you've deliberately thought out how you will accomplish your goals you are building the confidence and momentum to go after them. So let's do this. What's your next goal?