Yeah you, the one with the big aspirations and dreams for 2018. The one who laughs at the “new year new me” jokes, but secretly hopes it defines them since 2017 used ’em like a bad ex-girlfriend. The one who furiously writes down a few goals once the new year rolls around and probably never looks at them again.
Yeah, that probably describes you to a T. Now, about those goals.
You’ll probably never reach them. Here’s a list of common goals and how I foresee a lot of them going, in the categories most people love:
- Lose weight: gained X number of pounds.
- Make way more money: make slightly more or the same amount of money.
- Eat healthier: still eating starchy carbs and desserts like it was a side hustle.
- Find a better job: stuck at the same job.
- Get out of toxic relationships: stuck in the same relationship.
You can snicker at the fact some random internet stranger who runs a personal development blog is calling you out. But this random internet stranger has seen it happen time and time again, including to himself. And thus I’m calling it like it is.
I am? Prove me otherwise, you spicy human. Here’s how.
Understanding Why You Won’t Achieve Your Goals
All of us set goals at some point or another because our species possesses enough intelligence that we can live outside the moment. Unlike nature, where you’re fighting day to day with your life, we generally enjoy the comforts of life and it allows us to focus on things outside our immediate vicinity and attention.
As much as we love to set goals, all of us generally fall flat on them. Time and time and time again.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen that quote. In other words, we set goals over and over again and somehow never quite reach them. Why? Goal setting isn’t an art, it’s a science. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re going with the flow a little bit too much.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
If you want to get into the science of achieving your goals, you need to realize a few key ideas.
It comes down to three things:
- Your goals aren’t specific enough.
- Your goals aren’t outlandish or crazy enough.
- Your goals require discipline.
Your Goals Aren’t Specific Enough
Fortune favors the bold. Fortune also favors specificity. Notice the earlier goals that people generally fall short on. Lose weight, make more money, eat healthier, leave toxic crap, and find a better job. This basically hits the four key areas in life: finances, relationships, health, and career.
That’s wonderful, but where is the tangible crap that you can measure against? No wonder you don’t ever really reach them – you have no benchmark against which to compare. How do you know you’ll get better at something if you forget where you started?
So make it a point to write down that you’ll lose X number of pounds by X date. Make it a point to say you’ll make 10% more through a promotion by X date. Make it a point to say you’ll cut out starchy carbs or chocolate. Make it a point that you’ll find a job doing X, Y, and Z by X date. Make it a point to leave that stupid, useless, toxic, and energy-sucking relationship.
Your Goals Aren’t Outlandish or Crazy Enough
If you pay attention to one part of this article, pay attention now.
Soak this in: you will more than likely fall short on a lot of your goals. I get that, your friends get that, your dog gets it, and you need to get that, too. That is the entire premise of this article. It is part of being human, but it is also severely disheartening to not reach something you’ve set. It’s the biggest reason why people walk away from setting goals and sticking to them.
How do you get around this crappy vicious cycle and emotional rollercoaster?
You set your goals to be so crazy and outlandish, even if you don’t reach them, you’re still going to come out ahead.
If your goal was to make 10% more at your job, which is a decent raise at best, and you somehow only end up making 5% more, you’ve technically failed this goal. Scratch out the technically – you failed it. The worst part is you failed at achieving a very achievable number. That fucking sucks, doesn’t it?
If your goal was to make 10% more at your job, this is where you stop and rethink your goal-setting capabilities. Make your goal 50% more at your job. Fuck it, make it double your current salary. What a crazy idea, right?
Guess what happens. You’ll probably fall short on doubling your salary. But because you had this in your brain, and you worked your ass off to try to make something of it happen, you ended up with a 30% raise.
You failed, but you came out ahead.
And your original goal was to make 10% more. You sucker.
Try applying the same logic to losing weight. You want to lose 10 pounds by April? Bitch, please. Get to the back of the line. Make it 20 pounds. April rolls up, and you’re down 12. Well, guess you failed.
But did you really? 10 pounds was your measly and respectable goal. You decided to make it crazy. And you came out ahead.
See the pattern here?
Your Goals Require Discipline
If you’ve set the crazy goal, you’ve made it specific and given yourself a certain date to achieve it, then all that’s really left is applying yourself to make it happen. The first two give you a road to travel on, and the last one, discipline, is where you have to actually travel.
Funny enough, I wrote an article detailing just how to get some discipline in your life. You’re welcome.
You can talk the talk all day, but if you don’t walk the walk, you’ll still be eating potato chips on your mom’s couch a year later.
What are your goals for 2018? Do you need help rewording them so it knocks your socks off? I’d love to hear from you, comment below and put yourself on blast while holding yourself accountable.