For many professionals, setting business goals is seen as much more serious than setting New Year’s resolutions for example, but do these goals really have a higher achievement rate than resolutions? While they may be taken more seriously, statistics show that they’re just as likely to be wanted badly enough to be worked on for a couple of weeks and then just as quickly given up on at the first obstacle!
No matter what string of events has apparently blocked you from achieving your goals, blaming fate, circumstance or misfortune for your inability to accomplish your aims isn’t going to get you anywhere! So what is it that keeps you wanting your goals so badly and yet at the same time holding you back from achieving them?
Working with hundreds of clients has allowed me to identify four categories of pitfalls among entrepreneurs who find themselves at a dead end in regard to their goals.
1. You have conflicting goals
Humans are multifaceted beings; therefore, it isn’t entirely out of the question that we may find ourselves setting goals that either directly or indirectly conflict with each other. You might have a true commitment to achieve your goal, but you might simultaneously and unconsciously hold competing goals and so you don’t take consistent action forward and the result is that you don’t achieve those goals.
Be honest with yourself and take the time to reflect on the goals you are setting. Ask yourself, by achieving this goal, am I compromising on other important goals? Are all your goals aligned, how much does achieving one goal affect the others? etc.
The second important question to ask is; is your goal in conflict with any belief? ie. I want to improve my sales skills, but I don’t want to self-promote and come across as arrogant. (Which is a belief you hold – self-promotion = arrogance). Your beliefs drive your behavior, not your goals.
2. You have insufficient belief in yourself
Taking an honest approach to evaluating your skills, abilities and resources is one thing, but having doubts about your ability to improve, learn and achieve your goals altogether is another.
Do you believe you can achieve your goals and can you see yourself achieving them? Or do you actually hold a lot of doubt and uncertainty about what’s possible for you? If you have more doubt than belief in yourself, you’re probably unable to fully, 100%, commit to your goals.
There is no point in taking action, pushing yourself forward, if you don’t actually believe that it will bring you the results you want. Again, reflect and be honest with yourself, do you actually believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve what you want? If not, why? What needs to change so you do?
3. You are all talk and no action
If you’re quick to talk, make promises and set goals without properly turning them over in your mind or giving yourself time to process your desires and emotions, then you’re more likely to let yourself down when you’re unable to achieve what you said you would. When talking without taking action becomes the norm for you, your words will eventually carry as little weight to others as they do to yourself! You find you set goals and give up, set them again, and this actually becomes a habit.
Too many people say they want X, but when they start to tell you what they are doing to achieve X, it’s immediately clear why they aren’t reaching their goals. It’s either very minimal action they are taking or the wrong action and often, no action at all.
Don’t commit to things you can’t take action on. Just because you speak a lot about what you want or you are going to do, unless it is backed up by action – it’s worse than not saying anything at all because you actually decrease your confidence. Every time you say you are going to do something and then you actually go and do it – you boost your self-confidence. Take one action every day towards achieving your goal, no matter how small, and let this be your habit.
4. You have an ambiguous vision
Vague goals result in vague plans that are usually never clearly outlined and are therefore typically either never embarked on to begin with (how would you even know where to start?!), or don’t have a well-defined end-goal so are never really ever completed! Abstract goals can leave professionals lost in trying to connect all the stepping stones towards dubious outcomes. Lack of motivation shows up immediately, accompanied by inaction when you have too vague a vision.
It cannot be overstated that if you are not crystal clear on what you want, why, and how to move forward – you won’t reach your goals. You will know when you have articulated your goal well enough because it will be so clear and exciting that you might even find yourself welling up with tears of happiness at the thought of achieving it.
Are you able to relate to any of the four categories above? If you are, then at this point you’re probably wondering what magic pill successful people are taking to overcome such obstacles and where you can get your hands on it! The reason that professionals looking for quick-fix, cookie-cutter solutions to their problems are rarely able to resolve their issues is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for matters relating to productivity or achievement.
Ask any successful person how they got to where they are today and they’ll tell you it’s all about working on your habits and mindset, and that contrary to popular belief, these pillars of achievement actually take significant time and effort – things that you absolutely cannot put a price tag on!
Developing the right techniques to using your time and resources productively can be a challenge, but if you’re ever feeling like the cards are stacked against you, think about this line: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” (Henry Ford)