Here are some important reasons you might have missed reaching your goals in 2020. Any one of them could cause you to fall short of the results you needed, but a combination of them may also be the cause. Use this list to prepare yourself and your goals for the coming year.
Not Enough Clarity: You may not have had enough clarity about what you wanted and how exactly you were going to bring that result to life. The idea that a goal should be specific is useful, but what’s more important is making it something that you truly desire. The reason successful people reach their goals is that they are hungry; they desire something with enough intensity that they acquire it.
Not Your Goal: Your company’s goal for you isn’t your goal, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you have a target or a quota you must reach to provide your company with the result they need. While that responsibility is all fine and good, it is someone else’s goal. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and then go about accomplishing your real goal, the one that sets you on fire. It’s your life and it’s your time—even if you spend some of it contributing to someone else’s goals, you should find a way to make your goal your own.
Too Small: You may wonder how on Earth you might have missed a goal because it was too small. It might seem more likely that you missed your goal because it was too big for you to reach, but that’s not the problem here. A small goal harms your chances of creating some result because it doesn’t frighten you enough to make you think about all the things you are going to need to do—and who you are going to need to become—to reach the goal. Any goal that doesn’t require you to make significant change is too small to be of any real value to you.
No Intrinsic Motivation: To reach your goals, you need to be intrinsically motivated. You have to want something badly enough that you can’t imagine not doing the work necessary to reach your goal. There are two types of intrinsic motivation that together compel you to move towards your goal. The positive intrinsic motivation that pulls you forward is the reason you want to achieve the goal, answering the question, “What will this allow me to do or become?” But many of us are also motivated by negative intrinsic motivation, something that we are moving away from by reaching our goals. That type answers the question, “What negative consequences will I suffer if I don’t suffer for my goals?”
Undisciplined: Attaining your goal in large part reflects your willingness to commit to a set of simple actions, taken with incredible discipline over time. When you see an individual produce a specific result, you can be certain that the actions they took to generate the result were visible only to them, since they were the one doing the work. Given the choice between simply writing your goal down (an incredibly important practice) and enacting a set of disciplines every day, without fail, over a long period, the disciplines will produce better results. Every day that you failed your disciplines moved you further away from your goals.
No Blocked Time: To do the work necessary to reach your goals, you have to block your time. Show me your choices and I’ll show you your results. If a quick peek at your calendar shows that you allow other people and their priorities to dominate your day, you might reach their goals but you won’t reach your own. Each day, you make progress on your goals only when you give them your time and attention.
You Settled: It is not only possible that you missed your goal in 2020 because you settled for some lesser result—it’s likely. You may have chosen comfort over effort. Comfort is the enemy, and effort is your ally when it comes to goal attainment. Settling for a lesser result represents some level of compromise, but those who reach their goals consistently refuse to compromise.
You Traded Goals for Excuses: Your id works very hard to prevent you from feeling bad about yourself. In some way, it’s a co-conspirator in your failure to reach your goals: it tells you that it’s okay not to reach them, rationalizing your actions—or more accurately, your lack thereof. It’s the part of you that tells you that it wasn’t your fault that the things that you needed to do didn’t get done, reminding you that you were distracted, that there was a global pandemic, and that no one can hold you to account with so much going on. The better part of you knows that excuses are lies we tell ourselves, often contributing to missing goals we should have met.
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