Why You Don’t Achieve Your Big Goals
If you want to avoid a squirrel, where do you need to go?
The answer? Squirrels exist in almost every habitat on Earth and there are over 285 species across the world. If you want to avoid one, well you need to travel to the poles of the earth to get away from the furry creatures.
In the winter seasons, there is very little food about for the squirrel. If they want to survive then they need to collect nuts before winter. They then bury them in different locations across the forest floor. When winter does finally hit, they go out hunting for those nuts. They spend the whole year working towards one big goal. To survive the winter by collecting nuts daily.
When we look at achieving our own big goals, how comes we can get sidetracked from daily action? Why can the squirrel stay on track, when most people can’t?
How many new year’s resolutions or goals get left unfulfilled?
The difference is a purpose. If the squirrel doesn’t collect enough nuts the squirrel will die. They have a strong purpose and that keeps them motivated every day.
How can you create the same purpose behind your big life goals?
Why you should set big goals
If you don’t set big goals, you will never reach your full potential. It’s like cruising through life in second gear. It is our big goals that stretch us outside of our comfort zone. They create problems that your mind will find solutions to. If you don’t feel a little uncomfortable by your goal, then it isn’t big enough!
Here are some examples of big goals:
- Publishing your first book
- Get out of debt
- Lose 80 pounds
- Start a business and leave your job
- Find a partner
- Or get a promotion
We only get one life so why wouldn’t you want to live it to its full? In the book ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’. Writer Bronnie Ware explains, through the experience of working in palliative care. That one of the biggest regrets people had on their deathbed was all their unfulfilled dreams.
She goes on to say that this was their biggest regret when faced with the end of their life. In most cases, over 50% of dreams were left unfulfilled. Don’t be one of these people. Don’t live a life of regrets.
So why do people fail to achieve their dreams, using big goals?
Goals fail because they lack purpose
Let’s have a look at publishing your first book. If I wanted to achieve this goal by next year. What do you think will happen?
This is what it might look like:
- You start with loads of energy
- You start to read books on how to write
- You start writing your book
- You might get stuck.
- Nothing happens for a few days
- Your motivation drains, there’s no urgency
- Before you know it a month has flown by
- The goal’s forgotten
Where is the purpose in writing a book by next year? Where is the urgency? This was the way I used to set all my goals. I would start by setting a goal that is S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). I thought I had a good goal.
The problem was, this type of goal had no purpose, yet.
How to set goals with purpose
Looking back at the squirrel example, they had a purpose. If they didn’t collect nuts every day then they would die. I call this a good purpose! I am not saying you need to ask someone to shoot you if you don’t achieve your goal. But you can definitely give your goal more meaning and purpose.
It all starts with the domino effect.
What happens when you push over the first domino in a line of dominos? They fall down, one after another, in a chain reaction. You should set your goals up like a row of dominos too. I learned this approach from ‘The ONE Thing’ by Gary Keller. In his book, Gary explains how goals should be linked together like a row of dominos. When you achieve one goal, it helps you achieve the next goal and then the next goal and so on.
If you achieve your daily goals, they will have a knock on effect on your weekly goals, that will have a knock on effect on your monthly goals and so on…
Let’s say you want to start your own business and leave your job in the next year.
Your 1 Year goal will be starting your own business and leave your job. What would your 6 month, 12 week and one-month goals look like? What would your goal for today be?
Link your goals together
If you want to link your goals together in this way you only need to ask one question.
To achieve my (TIMEFRAME) goal…
What’s the one thing I need to do in the next (TIMEFRAME)?
Let’s take a look at the publishing your first book example:
In this example, you could publish your first book in 12 weeks. But you can use this example for any goal, even if it was something small that would only take a month. Use the questions to break it down into smaller pieces.
This is the power of the focusing question which helps create purpose at every stage of your goal.
What has more purpose today? Writing 500 words towards your book or publishing your first book? The first one has more urgency, is less daunting but will also take you closer to your big goal.
Like the squirrel, link your today’s to your tomorrows using this one focusing question.
Now go break your own goal down to give it purpose. It would be great to see your own examples in the comments section of this post.
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