If You’re Not Succeeding at Accomplishing Your Goals, This is the #1 Reason Why.
I wrote a blog post recently on how to plan and analyze the current way you spend your time. Once you know exactly what work and ongoing tasks you're doing that generate the greatest return on investment (the 20% of work generating 80% of your results), it's time to figure out how to do more of the stuff that's making a difference through goal setting. Goal setting is a hotly and widely talked about topic. It sounds pretty straightforward: Figure out what you want to accomplish, choose a specific goal and then create some benchmarks so you can assess how you're performing. Right? Except that plan doesn't work. How many times have you set a goal, and it just didn't materialize? So, you're sitting there wondering, "Is it me? Am I not smart enough? Motivated enough? Skilled enough? Do I need a bigger network? Do I need more money?" When you don't hit your goals, you start to feel like it's you that's lacking something. And that's because you are.
Be authentically connected to your goalsBut it's not smarts, skills or motivation you're lacking. You're lacking a roadmap. You're lacking a list of extremely simple habits you can adopt every single day, one or two at a time, that will actually allow you to turn a dream into something real. But more than any of that, you're lacking authentic connection to what it is you really want to accomplish. I can't stand all the crappy advice out there. It's like listening to a broken record on repeat. The same advice gets doled out over and over again:
- Create a "big picture" of what you want to accomplish in life
- Create a personal mission statement
- Break down your big goals with smaller goals on a to-do list
- Make sure your goal is specific
- Make sure your goal is attainable
- Give yourself a deadline
- Make your goal public
- Ask someone to help keep you accountable
Stop making excusesSome of you may be reading this now thinking to yourself, "Well, that's really easy for you to say that, Melissa. You're single, and you don't have kids, a car payment, or a mortgage to worry about. You can take risks that I can't take." Let me tell it to you straight: you're most likely lying to yourself. We all have our fair share of challenges to work through. Maybe everyone else's set of challenges don't look exactly like yours, but that doesn't make what others are going through any less challenging. And honestly, what's the point in being stuck there? Nothing good comes from telling yourself repeatedly about all of the things you can't do. That's a made up idea in your head. Plenty of people have found a way to thrive in various different areas of their lives even with kids, a spouse, a car payment, a mortgage, a lack of education and a low-paying job. Trust me, you can find numerous people out there who worked through a more dire set of circumstances to accomplish huge, huge things. If they can do it, there's absolutely no reason why you can't do it. We'll do whatever we can to find an excuse, because that's the easier thing to do. It takes a ton of hard work and reflection to decide what your goals are in the first place. We all want quick fixes. But here's what happens: we rush to set a goal that doesn't really matter to us, then scramble to try somehow to make it happen, and then we end up upset and demoralized when it doesn't work out. If you're really connected, you'll find a way. You've literally got everything you need in that head and heart of yours to make your goals work.
How to create authentic goalsSo here's the exercise I want to ask you to do today:
- First, find a pocket of silence. Take one day this weekend to completely disconnect and just allow yourself the breathing room to think and reflect.
- Next, answer the question, "What do I feel like I was put on this planet to do?" Just freestyle write. Don't worry about it making sense or being realistic. Just write everything down that comes to mind. What sorts of things have you always been drawn to? What are your most favorite activities? If you could do anything—no limitations—what would it be? What are your gifts? Strengths? Skills? What do you do better than everyone else you know? Write down absolutely everything that comes to mind.
- Finally, pretend this year was your last year. What one big thing would you want to accomplish? Just choose one thing. What's the biggest thing you'd want to accomplish in the next year of your life? In 12 months, what would bring you utter joy to say you'd done? What would have made it a year worth living?