It’s still early in the year, but many of us are already falling behind on our goals. It’s getting harder to get up in the morning to go workout. We just haven’t found time to read that book. And the resolve we had on January 1 is beginning to wane.
Why do we have so much trouble achieving our goals? Here are six reasons why you’ll never achieve your goals…and what you can do about it.
1) You haven’t identified your goals.
The best way to fail at your goals is not to have any. What seems simple–identifying your goals–proves to be remarkably rare. What would you like to achieve this year? If you had to write a ‘Top 10’ list for 2013, what would be on it? I recently took some time to jot down some goals I had for different areas of my life: spiritual growth, family, school, health, and more. I felt more motivated just by getting clear on what I wanted to accomplish.
2) You haven’t written them down.
There’s something about writing things down that makes them more real. The physical activity of putting an idea onto paper or into a document morphs an intangible thought into a visible reality. You bring your goal out of your own head and put it into the world, so now it becomes an actual ‘thing.’ Take a few moments to write down your goals. Let your eyes see what you want in words, and watch how much harder it becomes to ignore them.
3) You haven’t made a plan.
Actually, it’s fairly easy to forget a goal once it’s written down. Within a few days you’ve gotten back to life as usual, and nothing changes. Unless you’ve got a plan.
A plan is simply a particular task with a deadline attached. For instance, one goal that I have this year is to read the Bible twice. So my plan is simple: Finish reading the Bible (a particular task) by June 1 (a deadline).Of course, I have to break this down into a weekly and daily plan, but you get the idea.
Take the time to write down the steps it will take to achieve your goal and attach a completion date to it. You’ll be surprised at how much more urgency you feel about reaching your goal.
4) You haven’t scheduled time to implement your plan.
Even after you make a plan to attain your goals, that’s still not enough. You have to make time to execute that plan. Many a goal of mine has fallen by the wayside because I didn’t block out time to work on my plan. Once you’ve broken your goal down in to action steps with a timeline, open up your calendar app and schedule time to take those actions.
5) You haven’t publicized your goals.
Who knows about your goals? If you keep them all to yourself, then you don’t have anyone to cheer when you’re successful or encourage you when you’re tempted to quit.
There are all sorts of ways to publicize your goals. You can type them up in a sort of contract that you sign and a witness sign. Write your goals in an e-mail and send it to a friend asking him to inquire about your progress from time-to-time. You could write your goals in a blog and post it. You can even just tell your spouse or significant other about your aspirations.
Regardless of how you choose to do it, publicizing your goals helps keep you accountable.
6) You haven’t included rewards for achieving your goals.
Most of the time realizing your goal is reward enough. But how do you reward yourself for pulling off the daily baby steps that get you there? You’ll have much more motivation to persevere when you give yourself little perks along the way. Rewards should be simple, like letting yourself check Facebook or watching one television show after you’ve completed a certain task for the day. If you incentivize your goals while you’re working toward them, then the entire journey will be more joyful.
It may sound like a lot of work, but you can achieve your goals. Taking the steps above will increase the likelihood of your success exponentially. At the end of year, I hope you can celebrate the many goals you’ve attained.
Question: What is one goal you have for this year? Publicize it by writing it in the ‘comment’ section below.