Why Can’t I Achieve My Goals?

All my life exercise and sports have been a huge part of who I am. As I got older and entered into the “real” world of work, family, and other responsibilities, I soon found myself in a position I had previously not known. I was 30 pounds overweight. It got me before I even noticed it was coming.

One day I heard an expert talking about exercise, the benefits of physical activity and the regret of doing nothing at all. He brought up the point that in many decisions we make in life, we can either discipline ourselves to do what we know we need to, or regret later doing nothing. One thing I know, “discipline weighs ounces”, “regret weight pounds”! I had to make a change.

I immediately set some goals for myself, and after three months I had lost 20 pounds. I was feeling great. Better yet, it was noticeable to others. One friend asked, “What are you doing? You have lost a lot of weight and are looking good. What diet are you on?” My reply was, “I am on the GOAL diet.” He looked at me confused and so I explained to him that I set goals for myself and then worked to achieve my goals.

By the look on his face, I think he was expecting a different answer. He went on to tell me that he had a goal of losing 25 pounds in 6 months, but he’s had that goal for 2 years. His biggest frustration was, “Why Can’t I Achieve My Goals?” I thought about the question for a while and here are three things you should ask yourself if you are struggling to achieve goals.

  1. Are your goals written down and reviewed daily? This is vital to your success in achieving goals. The old saying is, “Goals not written are just wishes.” Reviewing your goals on a daily basis will keep you focused and keep the Goal in mind every day.
  2. Is your Main Goal divided into “Mini-Goals”? My friend’s goal was to lose 25 pounds in 6 months. That was it. He didn’t have monthly, weekly, daily goals. Now that doesn’t mean divide the 25 pounds by 6 months to get your monthly goal and then divide that by 4 for your weekly goal. That would be the same goal. You need goals for specific actions that will help you achieve your Main Goal. In this example, a good weekly goal would be, to exercise 4 times this week. A good daily goal would be, to not have any sweets today. All these “Mini-Goals” keep you on track in reaching your Main Goal.
  3. Did you share your goal with someone else? There is something to be said about accountability. If we are only accountable to ourselves, it is too easy to justify a sub-par effort. Just knowing that someone is going to ask how we are doing, gives us more motivation to succeed.

Setting goals are important in all aspects of our lives. Used correctly, goals help to keep us on track and motivated to work hard and achieve what is most important in our lives. Used incorrectly, goals can hinder both our short-term and long-term success. As in the example with my friend, he had the goal for 2 years. Because he was not able to achieve that goal, he felt inadequate and unable to ever make the change. Therefore, he stopped trying. It is important to set our goals to be realistic and achievable (with some good effort). Then ask ourselves those 3 questions to make sure we are on the path to successful goal setting. If you Prefer Rules: 1. Write it down 2. Divide into Mini Goals 3. Create accountability.

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About the Author

Brian Miyasaki