Raise your hand if you've failed to follow through with one of your goals?
One day you're feeling inspired. Maybe you watched a motivational TED talk or read a blog post that set your heart on fire. You've been wanting to make a change in your life and today's the day you finally decide do it.
On day one you follow through flawlessly. Days two and three go well. Perhaps you make it an entire week. But sooner than later, you fizzle out and you're back to square one. Your diet ends in a depressing binge. That book you wanted to write made it a whole three pages and you're ready to scrap it. You start that new website and no one visits it so you give up.
What's the key to cracking the goal setting code? How are some people able to follow through and get results?
Today I'm going to share some warning signs that you're destined to fail before you even start working towards a dream or goal. I'll also tell you how to fix it once you've identified it.
You Tell Other People About Your Goals
There are a couple of reasons why it's smart to keep your mouth shut when you're in the beginning phase of working towards a major goal or a dream. First, science has shown that once you announce your dream to someone your brain believes you've already accomplished it, therefore taking away your motivation.
Second, if your dream sounds lofty or unrealistic, chances are your friends and family are going to shoot it down, convince you that it's dumb, and rain all over your parade. That big idea you once had quickly turns into self-doubt because you're not strong enough to deal with negative opinions. Tell everyone about your big idea after you've executed it.
You Focus Way Too Far Into The Future
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." -- Lao Tzu.
We've all heard that quote before. But many people don't heed Lao Tzu's advice when working towards a goal. What do they do instead? They focus on how hard it will be to complete all one thousand miles of the journey.
In the book No Hero, the author describes an intense and extremely difficult rock climbing session. His instructor tells him to "focus on your three foot world." The key to finishing the climb was ignoring everything else except for what was immediately in front of him. What does your three foot world look like? Find the most important things you need to do towards your goals right now and ignore everything else.
You Chase Instead Of Attract
"Success is something you attract by the person you become." -- Jim Rohn
You run towards a certain outcome, but you never think about the kind of person you need to become to achieve the outcome. The most common mistake people make is trying to change their circumstances. You have little control over what happens around you, but you have the power to control what's inside of you.
Instead of thinking "I want to be rich," think "I want to know how to make money." Instead of thinking "I want to be in shape," think "I want to live a healthy lifestyle." Working on yourself makes the outcomes you desire happen.
You Make Up Stories
"Argue for your limitations and they are yours." -- Richard Bach
You see reality as something you're a part of instead of something you create. You make up stories about the way the world works to rationalize the fact that you're scared. You say things like:
- You need a bunch of money to start a business
- Without the right connections you have no chance of succeeding
- If you don't have credentials people won't take you seriously
There are examples all around you that contradict these type of limiting belief statements but you ignore them. Instead, look for examples from people who live outside of the norm -- who went from rags to riches, who are normal human beings who achieve extraordinary things. Read the biographies of the world's most successful people. Their stories will inspire you.
You Don't Create Systems
You don't put any thought into creating a process that will allow you to succeed. You make the decision to change but nothing in your routine changes. Successful people realize that willpower can't be relied on. You need the right environment to succeed and a system to help you follow through. Here are some examples of creating systems that help you follow through:
- Take one day out of the week and prepare enough healthy meals to last you. Then when it's time to eat you already have nutritious food on hand.
- Set a block of time to do your important work each day. It doesn't matter what time it is. just make sure it's the same time.
- Set goals for the month, break it down to the week, and finally down to the day.
We're creatures of habit. When you create a system you allow yourself to build habits that will allow you to succeed.
You're Worried About "How"
Here's how some people operate. They'll read a new business book with insights and strategies on building something of their own. They'll say "Sure, the book was inspiring and motivating, but it didn't dive deeply enough into how to actually do it." They want a complete business plan guaranteeing them millions of dollars... for $14.99.
Getting caught up in how you're going to accomplish your dream will stop you dead in your tracks. First, make up your mind that what you're trying to achieve is possible. Second, make up your mind that you're going to learn how to accomplish it. That's it. Getting caught up in how masks the fact that you're scared to begin.
You Avoid Pain
Pain makes you a stronger person. You shouldn't want everything to go your way one hundred percent of the time. If it did, you wouldn't be appreciative of what you've done. Pain provides the contract we need to feel joy. You can even find joy in your pain.
Instead of trying to avoid pain, learn to love pain. The grind never stops. Sure, the quality of your life may improve when you're building that dream but there will always be new challenges that present themselves. We see entrepreneurship through rose colored glasses. Most entrepreneurs will tell how fucking hard it is to stay on top.
Human beings aren't wired to be comfortable. We're wired to work. Maybe you'd be better off if you accepted that life isn't supposed to feel warm and fuzzy all of the time.
You're Chasing The Goal For The Wrong Reason
When you're building something for yourself, do it because you enjoy it. I write because I enjoy writing. When I started I had no intentions of pursuing it to the extent that I am now. It started as a hobby and it grew into something I plan to pursue for the rest of my life and build a business around.
You don't need to be Mark Zuckerberg. Honestly, the majority of you aren't cut out to be founders of venture founded startups. You don't need to create an app. You don't need to fall under the trance of shiny object syndrome and chase whatever is popular.
With today's technology you can find a way to take the skills you have and the things you're interested in and turn it into a venture that supports your lifestyle. Hell, if you're comfortable staying at your job and you like it, stay there. Everyone doesn't have to be an entrepreneur.
Figure out what's right for you.