Why We Don’t Reach Our Goals and Keep Our Resolutions

What could be better – in business or in life – than the ability to create anything what we want?

Magic wands, Aladdin’s lamp, wishing wells, fairy godmothers, even the Law of Attraction… all symbolize our ultimate desire to turn our dreams into reality.

The fact is, most of us have big dreams, but sometimes the gap between our dreams and our reality can be overwhelming.

  • We want to lose 25 pounds, but we can’t lose one. (My friend Mark Combs recommends losing one pound 25 times….)
  • We want to double our incomes, but we find ourselves struggling just to maintain.
  • We want to fall in love, but we haven’t been on a date in ages.

If the gap between your dreams and reality is a bit large for comfort, then take an honest look at how you are approaching your goals, intentions and resolutions.

See if you’re making any of these fatal mistakes:

You have no structure in place for creating what you want.

You set a few goals or made a few resolutions, and next January, you’ll do it all over again. It’s “make or break,” with no strategy, no accountability, no plan to correct and continue built into your calendar. Maybe you improve for awhile, but then after setbacks and failure, you throw in the towel and forget about it til next December 31st.

You’re not setting goals, you’re making wishes. Throw some change in a fountain or blow some candles out on a cake, then get serious about creating the life you want. It’s a nice idea to make decisions at the start of the year (month, project, etc.), but if you don’t have a structure and a plan for how you might move towards what you want, good luck!

You’re relying on incomplete, outdated technology.

If you’re using “S.M.A.R.T. goals” as your template, you need to update your technology bigtime. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Specific, Measurable, Acheivable/Actionable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive, but this formula is decades old and falls short of giving you real momentum in closing the gap.

I recommend you DON’T (just) write your goals… Super-charge them with imagination and emotion! Use different learning styles (visual, audio and kinesthetic), utilize your senses:

  • Visualize
  • Memorize
  • Role-Play
  • Write poems or rhymes
  • Express your intentions in movement
  • Draw, paint or sketch something that represents your goals
  • Collage a Vision Board
  • Argue your goals with a willing antagonist
  • Journal
  • Write your goals with your non-dominant hand
  • Speak or sing your intentions
  • Write and repeat affirmations
  • Practice thinking, speaking and feeling from the place of realized goals. In other words, imagine that you’ve already reached your vision. As you become comfortable with the new vision, you create tension with your current reality. You’ll also access greater creativity and momentum to attract what you want.

You haven’t changed your environment.

You created a new vision, but then you walked into your old office, got distracted by the same distractions, kept the same habits and saw all the old people who expected the old you. Not exactly a recipe for transformation.

Change can happen from both the inside out and the outside in. Clear the clutter (and better yet, paint your office a new color and redecorate). Eliminate the distractions, change up your habits and hang out with people who are working towards (or better yet, have realized) the same dreams.

You’re not accountable to anyone.

Do you think the contestants on The Biggest Loser have some motivation to lose weight? I’d say that having to report my weight on national TV each week would definitely accelerate my results! Weight Watchers has always motivated its participants with a weekly “public weigh in” because accountability changes people’s behavior. Simply put, it works.

Don’t try to achieve your goals in a vacuum. Very few people can do that. We need to be accountable for our actions to people who will help us hone our ideas, encourage us or give us a kick in the behind when we need it. We need ongoing support from people who are committed to seeing us acheive our goals. (And see above – if you don’t have a structure for that happening, it probably won’t!)

Get an accountability partner, join a committed mastermind group, hire a coach (or all three – some successful people have several coaches and accountability partners!) Just make sure that you’ve got people to keep you on track, and that if you don’t move towards your goals, somebody will notice!

You’re setting the wrong goals.

Year after year, if you’re not reaching your goals or attaining your resolutions, it’s time to examine the target, not the arrow.

Maybe your law practice has never gotten off the ground because, after all, you never really wanted to be a lawyer anyhow. (That was your father’s goal for you.)

Perhaps you have internal conflicts, such as is common with financial goals. (You want to be a multi-millionaire, but you have judgments about people with money.)

Or perhaps your conscious mind and your soul wisdom are pulling in two different directions… which might happen if your goals aren’t aligned with your passions or your highest good, or when you’re simply too attached to the outcome. (Observe how someone desperate to be in a relationship ends up repelling potential dates with their neediness.)

You want things to change, but you’re not willing to start with you.

Sometimes we try to grow our business without growing ourselves. We think our relationship will get better when our partner gets their act together. We’re still looking for the magic pill that will help us lose 20 pounds without changing what we eat. More clients and more success sound fantastic, but we think all we need is some “technique.” (Get a Twitter account and a Facebook fanpage and it’ll all be good….)

The reality is, you have to grow yourself to grow your business. You’ve got to look at how you’re managing your time, your finances, your relationships, your health, your clients.

How are we living life? With focus and discipline, or without it? With a good attitude and positive expectations, or with cynicism and dread? Are we obsessing over the economy and external factors, when we should be focusing on our own productivity, environment, and mindset?

You’re focusing on what you don’t want instead of what you want.

This is probably the simplest and yet most difficult secret of making any kind of change in our lives. (Simple to explain and understand, difficult to do consistently.)

Often we get stuck in a place of “resisting what is” instead of “creating what’s next.” We make excuses and defend why we don’t have what we want. Maybe we feel resentful, or jealous that others are enjoying the love, the money, or the fitness that we desire. Worse yet, we might be stuck in fear, our energy zapped by our fixation with potential “worse case scenarios” rather than applied to forward momentum.

Sure, you may have your affirmations posted, right next to your dream board. You might start your day with intentionally visualizing your realized goals, and you even have a coach or an accountability partner. But try setting an alarm every hour for a week as a reminder to observe your thoughts. Where does your focus naturally go?

You don’t even set goals or make resolutions.

Maybe we’re not confident in our ability to create what we want, or too cynical to think we can have it. Perhaps we’re tired of making excuses for why our dreams seem so elusive, so we don’t even start. (Or maybe we’re not aware that everything we create in our life first begins with a thought, an intention, an idea. We think that things just “happen to us” passively and so we don’t even try to influence the outcome.)

It’s hard to win the game if you’re not on the court. This year, instead of watching from the sidelines, jump in and play. And if you don’t have powerful practices, rituals and support to move your intentions forward into reality, you might want to make that your #1 Resolution for 2010.

(reprinted from Biznik.com)

2 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Reach Our Goals and Keep Our Resolutions

  1. Mike Caldwell

    Great submission. I especially agree with your points on accountability. Too many of us keep our goals a secret. “Won’t they all be surprised when I see them this summer 25 pounds lighter”. But if you don’t tell them this winter that you’ll be 25 pounds lighter this summer, then what are the consequences if you don’t lose any weight? There aren’t any! You know it and your subconscious knows it. So if you haven’t lost the weight by this summer, then “no harm, no foul”. You can lose the weight and “surprise them” next summer instead…

    Yeah right!

    You don’t need to share your goal with the world. But share it with somebody you trust and respect and who you don’t want to disappoint. That person doesn’t necessarily have to believe in your goal, they just need to believe in you and have the ability to provide you with the support you need.

  2. Kate Phillips Post author

    You are right on, Mike! Keeping your “goals” a secret takes away all risk, investment, accountability and even potential support to reaching it.