Do you have goals that govern you and how you live your daily life?
I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m something of an organizational product junkie. I have had to learn to stop looking for “one more thing” that will make me more organized in the proverbial “three easy steps”. But over the years, before I got over this, I’d read so many books and articles on the topic of setting goals.
So I’d set goals.
The problem is, the goals just seemed to sit there and, in some ways, mock me, as I failed to reach them.The goals just seemed to sit there and, in some ways, mock me Click To Tweet
Why Do Goals Fail?
First and foremost though, I think the problem is setting goals that are either unrealistic or require circumstances beyond our control to achieve.
What do I mean?
A goal of losing two pounds a week is only partly in my control. Some weeks, no matter how well I eat and how much I work out, I lose nothing. Other weeks I’ve lost ten pounds. It’s not just about what I’m eating and how much I’m moving, but also in other factors — heat makes me retain water, illness, metabolism changes…
A better, more realistic goal, one that I can control is to follow the eating plan I am on, and press towards the goal of healing my liver, lowering my cholesterol, and getting healthy.
This applies to pretty much any area of life, by the way. I’m talking about building my marriage, raising children, growing in Christ, being frugal, and pretty much anything else you might imagine.
A Failure to Work on Goals
Another reason why goals fail is that I have often failed to work those goals into my everyday life.
Using that weight loss goal again, if my goal is to get healthier, and yet if I set the goal then continue to ignore my diet and exercise needs, then I’m going to not hit the goal. Every day, in every way, I need to take small steps towards health and getting back on track when I mess up.
Goals can also fail when we give up on them.
Giving up on our goals is the surest way to fail with them. Unless a goal has proven to be an unrealistic pipe dream, keep pushing on in the direction of that goal. Even if you don’t hit it exactly, you’ll be closer than you were when you started.
Goals fail when we view our best efforts as “not good enough” in reaching our goals
As a young mother, we met with someone about retirement planning. They gave us some big spiel about how we’d need to save what was, at the time, half of our monthly take home pay to cover retirement and college.
Seeing a number like $1500, and being told that if I don’t start right now, we’ll never get to retire or send our kids to college, or have a happily ever after really can freak me out. I’d lay in bed and panic over it. So, since we couldn’t possibly put that much aside, what did we do? Nothing. Nada.
Pushing towards the right direction, even if someone says our little maximum effort isn’t “enough”, is still better than doing nothing. Right now, we have a savings plan that makes many people who are big investors look at us and laugh. But it works. Every time I get a $1 bill or a $5 bill, I tuck it away, and put it into savings. So, if I get change from shopping, the $1’s and $5’s (and the coin) doesn’t get spent again. You’d be shocked how fast that adds up. Is it $1500 a month? Absolutely not. But it’s more than $0.