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“Goals are useless”. This is what we say for every time we stumble over unkept promises, failed resolutions and unachieved goals. Too often we would just give up. Then, we succumb to our daily grind and take comfort in what is familiar.
You find yourself riding the tide and going with the flow. At the end of it all, hoping that you see a silver lining towards your dream. Hoping for a miracle of golden pot at the end of the rainbow.
Yet again you find yourself in a whirlpool of unfulfilled dreams and dull life. Then you go back to the question – how can I make a difference in my life? How can I reach those freaking goals?
In my years of existence, I also found myself in the same predicament as everyone else. We start each year with a hopeful heart as we set our goals for the year. But halfway through the year, you realize that you are further away from where you started. It is a vicious cycle that you just want to stop. But do not know where to start. Let’s look closely at factors that hinder us towards our goal.
This is not yet my time.
One of the reasons why people end failing in their goal is engaging in a waiting game. Oftentimes, people are too afraid to establish goals. You end up reasoning that the time is not yet right. You believe that you are not fully prepared for the next big thing. An example of this is the low internal application for the managerial post. A common reason is employees believe that they are not ready for a higher position. They fail to set a goal higher than the position they currently hold.
As Napoleon Hill once said, there is no correct timing. One must create their own opportunity rather than wait for the opportunity to come. This is what differentiates the unsuccessful from the successful. Regardless of your current capacity, goals will bring you closer to what were once dreams.
People always have a certain expectation when your goals are made known to the public. It’s like having paparazzi prying and questioning you on a daily basis. Your own expectation gets intertwined with others expectation. What you tend to do is to downplay your goals to our own capacity, what others call safe goals.
In reality, there are no goals too small when you have the right reasons. Big goals started with smaller ones. Our personal goals are not created to impress other people. We create them to find the best version of ourselves. It is only then that we gain respect and admiration from others, ultimately to inspire others into action. We should not limit ourselves from our current state, the bigger the goal is better. It is only then where we can stretch ourselves to find our true potential. From your comfort zone, step out to your courage zone.
In an attempt to make a difference in my life, you create some goals like “I will travel to different places” and “I will lose weight someday.” The problem with these goals is they are vague. It is like aiming for a target that you cannot see. There are no specifics like when and what you will achieve.
Go for BIG AUDACIOUS GOALS but they need to be specific. Write them down and have some pictures if you will. Some even create dream boards to make their goals visible.
A crucial question that needs to be asked is “What do I really want?” Instead of saying “I will travel to different places,” you can change it to “I will travel to 5 countries in Asia this year.” Clarity brings your goal closer to where you want to be. It is something worth looking forward as you wake up every morning.
Set short-term and long-term goals as far as five or ten years down the road.
More than just specific goals, it should be purpose-driven. Setting a goal such as will be a star someday can fall short of empty dreams and heartache when you do not set a reason behind it.
Having just a list of goals can be short-lived. Take for an example losing weight for a reunion. Your purpose is to look good in front of your ex-classmates. But then you realize that some of them are no better than you, you chuckle and say why should you bother anyway. The goal to lose weight goes down the drain.
The main question to ask is “What is my purpose” to avoid burnouts. What we wanted to generate from this question is to find a deeper meaning on each goal, one that gives you happiness and freedom. Let’s say for a goal such as losing weight. When the reason is to look good. It might bring you joy but it’s short-lived versus when the reason for losing weight is so you can have that boost of energy to travel more. And perhaps, to spend more quality time with your family. The reason alone gives you a different drive to make it happen. Motivation is the stepping stone but it is our habit that will keep us going.
“Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits where practice makes them permanent.” – Darren Hardy
Know your why.
After the goal is set, the next question is What do I have to do? To answer this, you need to create an actionable list towards the goal. This is where most people, including myself, fall short. The excitement of now having a specific goal like traveling to Asia now ends up with a long list of things you have to do to make it real – such as flight availability, itinerary, travel restrictions, how much is the budget, and so on. Now, you have a bunch of things that you need to do, not understanding where to start. Then you end up doing nothing. This is when analysis paralysis kicks in. You feel exhausted but unproductive.
Rather than being overwhelmed with your to-do list, ditch the list. Instead, refocus on the OUTCOME rather than the task of achieving these goals. Traveling is one of those goals that took me years to realize. Like so many, I was bounded with a lot of questions which made it impossible to even take one step. The key is to simplify everything and focus on what we want to achieve rather than how we can make it work. As the popular clich goes, focus on the WHY and the HOW will follow. Traveling, for me, is to explore the world appreciating the life that was given to us. It is also a great way to connect to other cultures to understand how life works in other countries. These are experiences that cannot be learned in textbooks, a treasure that you can share to the next generations to come.
With that mind, the outcome of being able to travel supersedes any fear I have on what I am supposed to do. I took the chance and book my flight after checking the best time to travel in the country of my choice. Booking that flight made all the difference in the world and now, I am one step closer to my goal. A goal is only achieved once we apply massive imperfect actions, no matter how big or small.
Simplify. Take one step at a time.
Working hard is enough
Working hard is not enough, you have to work smart. Creating habits or system to make it easier for us to achieve our goals. As Zig Ziglar once said, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
Another reason why people failed to achieve their goal is when they are too focus on what they are about to lose rather than on what they will gain. For people who fail to lose weight, they are often torn between not being able to eat their favorite food.
Abundance mentality is the way to the future. We need a paradigm shift towards looking for the gains rather than the pain of losing. Focus on the result rather than the sacrifices that you have to make towards your goal. Instead of worrying about the food that you cannot eat because you are trying to lose weight, explore options for losing weight that does not make you feel deprived. The advent of different diet systems such as intermittent fasting or keto could be an option to look at instead of being sad because you will be missing your favorite pizza or skip that sumptuous steak. Be careful who you listen to In our life, there will be a lot of people who want to give you an earful on the things that we want to achieve. We will always encounter bashers and supporters toward our quest for our goals. The saddest thing is when those people who are closest to you would be the first people to bring you down. Take for an example, someone who is trying to lose weight. What do they hear from the people around them? “That would be impossible,” “Quit the nonsense,” and so forth. The worst is the negative self-talk we give ourselves doubting our very purpose why we need to achieve these goals.
Zig Ziglar pointed out a very interesting take on this which is not to follow people who gave up on their dreams. For instance, people who talk you out from losing weight because they failed to do so. Their behavior is not a reflection of you but more of their own reflection – their failures and disappointments. Your environment will play a vital role in the achievement of your goals. As they always say, you are the average of the five (5) people you spend time with. Ensure that you are in the presence of people who will help you towards your goal. More importantly, avoid negative self-talk. Instead, find reliable mentors who will teach and challenge you. The first step to making a difference is a shift of mindset from being a captive to a captain. As a captain, you are expected to stir your own wheel of life despite the threat of strong winds or wave. Looking at goals from a different perspective is a key element towards its success. More than just a checklist, a goal opens the opportunity to your own personal growth and inspiring other people to follow suit.
Here is a summary of what you have to do to achieve these goals:
1. Define WHAT you really want. Write them down. Be very specific.
2. Understand WHY you need to achieve such a goal.
3. PLAN ahead. As Zig Ziglar once said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
4. Cluster your activities depending on the result or outcome you want to achieve. This is a better option compared to a mere TO DO list.
5. Use the tool, do not be the tool. There are myriads of different tools and system that can be used to organize your goals and action plans. Relying on stock knowledge can result in goals stuck in one place. From time management tools to habit tracker, there is a vast array of app and printable materials to choose from.
6. Review your goals on a weekly and monthly basis to check progress. Create alteration along the way without changing the end goal.
7. An accountability form can help you get back on track. Better yet, find an accountability partner or mentor to help you.
8. Have WHATEVER IT TAKES attitude.
9. Don’t stop learning.
10. Shy away from toxic environment.