Are you good at goal setting?
I would assume the answer is, yes.
I mean… we do live in a goal-driven society. If you want proof, go check out any of the 84.4 million posts on Instagram under #goals.
So, clearly we’re some goal setting ninjas.
A better question, then, is, are you good at achieving your goals?
And I’m not talking about little, routine, checkbox type of goals.
I’m talking about the big, audacious goals in your life – are you good at achieving those goals?
For the sake of keepin’ it real, let’s just be honest and say that most people aren’t.
Most people set goals, maybe take a little action, then give up and go back to life as usual.
Whether it’s losing that stubborn weight, finishing that book or project, starting that business, or leaving that job to pursue something you’re more passionate about, we’ve become pros at throwing in the towel somewhere in the process.
Can you relate? (Tell me in the comments below about a big goal you’ve started and stopped multiple times or given up altogether.)
As someone who’s done my fair share of giving up, and has also helped many people achieve their biggest goals, I know just how big of an issue this is.
The question is, why does this happen? And, is there something you can do about it to finally break through and achieve that goal?
Well, I’ve got some thoughts on the first question, and the answer is absolutely “YES!” to the second one.
So, if you want to learn why you keep setting goals that you fail to achieve, and what you can do to finally achieve them, then keep reading.
What’s the issue?
Before we dive into how you can achieve any goal, let’s take a look at what the issue is.
Now, as a success coach, I fancy myself as being pretty knowledgeable about goal setting and goal achievement.
I mean, if I didn’t, the term “success coach” would be pretty misleading, right?
The reason I’m very confident in these areas isn’t because I’m some guru – I’m definitely not.
I’m confident because I’ve studied and coached enough people, as well as fallen flat on my face enough times, to know where and what the issues are, and why we’re great at setting goals, but suck at achieving them.
And the issue isn’t what most people think.
Most people think that it comes down to a lack of action. That people just don’t want it badly enough, so they’re not taking the actions necessary to achieve the goal.
But that’s not the case. Or, at least it’s not the biggest issue that I’ve seen.
So what is it then?
Making the goal too big
See, just like anything else, goal setting and goal achievement are processes.
Or, at least they’re supposed to be.
There’s supposed to be a systematic process that you follow in order to get from point A (where you’re at now) to point B (where you want to go).
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s common sense.
But, remember, common sense isn’t always common practice.
So, the error most people make is, they try to attack the entire goal at one time.
Ever heard the old saying, “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”?
Well, as weird as that saying is, it’s totally true in this instance.
I’m all about putting the pedal to the metal and making things happen – I’m just wired that way.
Or, as my Coach likes to say, “Dude, you’re like a dog to a bone!”
But, most people aren’t that way. Most people don’t wake up consciously thinking about their goals, and how they’re going to attack them.
I’m weird that way (remember, the whole “UNCOMMON” thing? Yea, this is just another example of that).
The point of my rambling is to say that for the vast majority of people, trying to eat the entire elephant (yup, still sounds weird) at one time, just isn’t an effective or smart way to go about trying to achieve a big goal.
Because It’s overwhelming.
It makes seeing progress towards the goal just about impossible.
And, depending on the goal, it makes it feel like the achievement is nowhere in sight.
You know as well as I do, when we experience those types of things, it makes quitting or giving up on the goal very easy to do.
I mean, who wants to continue to chase something that feels like you’re never getting closer to?
Very few people, that’s who.
So what’s the solution, Justin? How do I go from just being a goal setting ninja, to being a goal achieving assassin? (<— See what I did there? Ha)
Ahhh…. I’m glad you asked.
Break the goal down to the ridiculous
I remember the first time I heard a mentor of mine, David Neagle, teach on this topic. I immediately thought it was pure gold.
To be honest, I felt kinda dumb for not figuring it out myself.
I’ve been coaching people in some capacity for over a decade, and this simple strategy, at least not in it’s complete sense, never occurred to me.
So, let’s go back to what I said the issue is for most people.
When we try to go after the entire goal at one time, it gets overwhelming, we don’t see the progress, and we give up.
But, what if, rather than looking at the entire goal and trying to figure out how to achieve it, we broke it down into parts?
Ahhh…. Now that seems much easier right?
Let’s look at a few examples to see what it looks like in action.
> Running a mile
If I tell someone who hasn’t made an athletic move in over a decade, to go run a mile on the track, they may pass out at the thought of it.
But, what if, rather than thinking about the goal of running a mile, they break it down into individual laps, and take it one lap at a time?
Suddenly, it seems so much easier.
I don’t know about you, but, even though they’re the same, running 4 laps seems much less daunting than running a mile.
> Losing weight
Trying to lose 50 lbs seems like an impossible goal for most people when they think about it overall.
But what if I told you that 1 pound equals 3,500 calories, which means you only need to cut your current calorie intake by 500 calories a day in order to lose 52 pounds in a year, WITHOUT EVEN EXERCISING?
It don’t seem so hard all of sudden, right?
> Making $100,000
Trying to make 6-figures a year is a super relevant goal for so many, so let’s give it a look.
If you take $100,000 and divide it by 12 (12 months in a year), you get $8,333.
If you divide that by 4.3 (average number of weeks in a month), you get $1,938.
Let’s divide that by 5 (5 days in a typical work week), and you get $388 a day.
And, lastly, divide that by 8 (typical hours in a work day), and you get $48.45.
When you see that all you need to focus on is getting to $48.45 an hour in order to hit 6-figures, that’s much less overwhelming than thinking about trying to $100,000.
(If you’re looking for a great way to grow your income and break that 6-figure, or next income, barrier, starting a side hustle is a great option.)
This strategy applies to any goal you can have. Stop setting goals and then trying to figure out how to accomplish the entire thing.
Rather, when you’re doing your goal setting, take your overall goal and figure out how to break it down into manageable chunks.
When you do that, you take away the stress and overwhelm that tends to come along with going after a big goal.
Life is so much better when you’re able to achieve big goals. And I want that for you.
So, do yourself a favor, and stop trying to eat the whole elephant at once (Okay, I’m done with that saying). Rather, focus on eating it one bite at a time by breaking it down to the ridiculous.
Do that, and you’ll go from just setting goals to achieving them in no time!
If you’ve got a big, audacious life or career goal that you want to go after, but are looking for some help, I’d love to chat with you about it. You can click here to book a complimentary coaching call.