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10 Reasons Why You’re Not Reaching Your Goal at All

10 Reasons Why You’re Not Reaching Your Goal at All

Most of us have big dreams of accomplishing great things within our lifetime. We’re pursuing a feeling  by setting goals that force us out of our comfort zones and into new spaces where we become better versions of ourselves. Every single one of us has the capacity to be better. Before I talk about what holds you back from reaching your goals, I want to emphasize one important point: You are enough. Yes, you. You have the potential, the drive, and the zeal to accomplish every one of your dreams. But sometimes, you get in your own way. We all do it. Here are some reasons why you’re not reaching your goal.

1. Because you stop when it gets difficult.

Anything that’s worth getting is difficult to do. No matter your goal, whether it’s the finished manuscript, the weight loss, the marathon, or the million-dollar startup, getting to that goal takes a lot of grit. Along your journey, you will feel discouraged or stuck as often as you will be inspired to keep going. There will always be setbacks, but as long as you keep moving forward, you will make it there. So feel the burn, breathe into it, begin again, and know that the sweat and tears that you give to your goals will all be worth it when you get there.

2. Because you expect it right now.

If we don’t see the results we want right away, we give up. In our culture of instant gratification and immediate communication, we’ve gotten used to having things we want right away. So it’s not surprising that we’ve lost touch with working hard to get results we want to see. When they don’t show up right away, we feel like they never will, so we quit early and leave it up to our future selves to try again later (if at all).

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3. Because you don’t go with the flow.

When we have expectations that our path is set in stone, we get lost if it doesn’t lead where we thought it would. We stop looking for alternative routes, or worse, we turn around. Achieving meaningful goals is all about trying now things we’ve never done before. Be flexible on your path. Don’t get discouraged; take on the challenge. The saying, “it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey” is a cliché because it’s the truth—and solid advice.

4. Because you research without pulling the trigger.

With increasing accessibility to the Internet, we have a seemingly unlimited supply of information, research, and resources for just about any question we have. The other side of the coin is we have an unlimited supply of information. For every goal we make for ourselves, there are about a thousand people that have blogged, vlogged, or shared insight that relates to that goal. It’s definitely easy to get caught up in information overload and stall out before we even begin. Research what you need, and then get started like tomorrow is the deadline!

5. Because you sabotage yourself.

I can’t tell you how many times I wasted a killer workout by eating the most indulgent dinner that same day. Because, hey—I deserve a treat for that hard work! But that’s not what I need. We may not even realize we are sabotaging ourselves. Habits that are deeply engrained in our brains are not re-routed overnight. When I do something that helps me toward my goal, I feel realllly good. And to keep that good feeling going, I offer myself something else that I know feels good, like losing myself in a Netflix marathon, or eating that slice of cake, or buying that new bag I’ve been eyeing. But all of those things are designed to give me pleasure, not the intrinsic satisfaction that I feel when I do something that contributes to my long-term goals.

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6. Because you don’t manage your time.

There are only 24 hours in a day and it’s our choice how we fill that time up. And like changing our habits, changing the way we normally flow through our day does not change overnight. It’s up to you to say no to something that doesn’t contribute to your higher goals. You will never find time; you have to carve it out.

7. Because you lack a plan.

Reaching a goal means knowing exactly where you’re headed. Starting from the end and working backward is the easiest way to build a plan that will get you where you need to be. If you don’t know where you are trying to go and what milestones to reach, all it takes is one setback to stop your progress. Making a plan holds you accountable and keeps you moving in the direction of your ultimate goal.

8. Because you don’t want it enough.

Maybe you choose your goals because you think it’s what other people expect of you. When we see what other people are doing, especially when they are successful at it, we get a bias that influences our decisions. Don’t fall prey to the trap that we have to do things the way someone else has before. Every single human is unique and no two paths will be exactly the same. Stay true to what you really want.

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9. Because you lack clarity around why you want it.

This all comes down to the reason why we want the things we want. How do you want to feel? What are you pursuing on a more spiritual and authentic level? What’s your mission statement around the big goals you make for yourself? When you know this reason, never stop reminding yourself. Write it on your bedroom wall. Stick it on a post-it at your computer. Make it your morning mantra before you begin each day. Never let go of the why. It will help you remember why you started.

10. Because you procrastinate.

I waited until the end to write this.

Because putting off something is always way easier than doing it. Whether it be laziness, a lack of inspiration, or fear, it’s scary to do things that force us out of our comfort zone. We’re ALL guilty of this one. Ask yourself why you are resisting doing the work. Just wait. And I don’t mean put it off. When you find your attention span drifting away from the thing you’re supposed to be doing, don’t do something else. Just wait. And when you’re ready, get back at it.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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