Ahh, goal setting. Whether it’s something we’ve been dreaming of accomplishing for years, a desire hidden in the deep realm of our mind, or just something you scribbled down in the bright and shining light that is a new year, we all set goals and sadly we often miss aim somewhere along the way.
So, I’ve taken the liberty of uncovering the cold hard truth behind why you’re failing, and here it is in a nutshell:
1) Your goal is too vague
Achieving your goals won’t magically happen overnight, but nothing is going to change unless you have a specific goal in mind. Want to get fit? Want to master a new language? Want to start saving more money? That’s great. That’s an idea in mind. But these ideas are still too vague to proceed.
So start by narrowing that goal into something more specific, i.e. I want to lose Xkg by DD/MM/YY or I want to have saved $$$ by DD/MM/YY.
If your goal is still too vague, get back to that drawing board and refocus.
2) You don’t have a plan
Once you have a specific goal in mind, the next step is crafting your action plan. If you haven’t thought out how you’re going to lose the weight, save the money or learn the language, then you aren’t yet 100% invested in achieving this goal.
Write a list. Create a calendar. Verbally acknowledge your goal and how you’re going to attack it from day one.
This is the time to day-dream, the time to let your own insecurities and fears aside. If you want to converse with overseas locals in their language, then picture yourself doing just that. Hold that memory dear, and remind yourself regularly.
3) You aren’t being realistic
With that being said, you can’t succeed at achieving your goal unless it’s realistic.
Don’t say you’ll jump from beginners to near-native French in two months, don’t set impossibly high fitness targets, and don’t give up your entire social life to afford that new car/holiday/really expensive but totally necessary item of clothing.
Know your limits, be fair on yourself and acknowledge when it’s just not going to work. It doesn’t mean giving up, it means accepting that you’re human and there will be obstacles in your way to achieve your goal. Reason with yourself and readjust.
4) You’re not held accountable
Being held accountable is a great way to really see results and further your progress.
If you’re looking to get fit, then find a running partner. For language learners, hire a tutor. Looking to triple your savings? Grant a trusted friend or family member access to your accounts.
Plus, you will be less likely to sleep in or skip a training session if you’ve given your word to someone. If you’re letting down a friend, then you’re more likely to lose friendship points, not just a few sacred moments of shut-eye.
Involving somebody else in your goal is a great way to not only make you stick to your action plan, but also provide an extra level of support and encouragement.
5) You don’t review your progress
Measuring how far you’ve come is a crucial aspect to furthering your progress, particularly when you’ve found yourself in an uninspired rut.
You may be annoyed with yourself because you didn’t catch that last sentence in your non-native tongue, or because you still haven’t moved onto the next weight level at the gym.
I urge you to take a step back and review how far you’ve come: what couldn’t you do 3 months ago? What progress have you made? Remind yourself: why am I doing this?
We make progress day by day, and sometimes because these changes are so minute it’s difficult to retain focus, finding that extra push you truly need.
Progress photos, inspiration boards, past essays, stats and figures: use whatever works for you to remind you of your goal and to keep motivation close to home.
The final word
The best of goals aren’t going to happen overnight, and there will be disappointment, speed bumps and struggles along the way to break your resolve and leave you grasping at motivation. So reassess, remind yourself you are human, and remember: nothing good ever came easy. Rome wasn’t built in a day!