Goals: why we fail and what to do about it, Part I

In order to start making a positive lifestyle change, you must first pick something to work on. In order to succeed, you must set goals.

Yes, I know… goal-setting (I can hear the distaste as you spew this word out), the often avoided and seldom followed through method of achieving success. With this truth in mind, let’s consider some reasons why we fail at goal-setting and how to overcome this major obstacle to your successful future.

Creating the future you desire involves commitment and planning. We, however, prefer the mindless path of least resistance. A path that requires no thought, only going through the motions. See my post: Why we don’t get off the couch (even when we know we should) for more on this.

Goal-setting is difficult. It requires you to think… specifically. It is not something that can be completed in three minutes. Because it is hard, most people avoid or do not finish goal-setting.

I know I have started to set goals many times but never got through to the finished action plan, which we’ll cover in a bit. This is a form of self-sabotage because you never fail if you never start!

Goal-setting holds you accountable for your future circumstances. This is a scary thought. By committing to certain goals, you are responsible (and the one to blame) if you do not succeed on time.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand life happens. We can’t help it if we’re in a car wreck and hospitalized for three months and fail to achieve our goals. THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

But if I set a goal to be debt-free in a year and I’m not because I bought an iPhone, a new computer, a new car, went to Europe, and visited Starbucks every day… it’s no one’s fault but my own. Get my drift?

For example, many cancers are avoidable. Yep. Avoidable. Preventable. You do not have to get them. Environmental factors like a junky diet, little sunshine and poor sleep habits over a lifetime damage your body to the point of cancer. I don’t mean to step on toes here, but instead of pumping billions of dollars into the cure for cancer perhaps we should deny ourselves the temporary and poisonous pleasures of cake, pastas and pies (a.k.a gluten & fructose) now for satisfying, disease-free and active lives, now AND as we age.

I like my breasts and my husband likes his testicles, thank you. (Note: breast and testicular cancers are the most common cancers strongly associated with vitamin D deficiency) And I definitely consider myself at least 80% responsible for whether I get cancer later in life. I am accountable through my lifestyle habits. I have taken responsibility for it and taken action accordingly. You can too.

But I understand that taking responsibility for your future is scary. Welcome to maturity.

Goal-setting may require sacrifice now for benefits later. Because we can have whatever we want whenever we want, we sometimes cannot fathom denying our self for something greater later on. Our present situations are are that matters and one or two years from now is something distant and unfathomable.

Fat loss goals require a change in diet. Perhaps you have to (need to) give up your favorite foods – cake, sugar, brownies – to reach your goal. But won’t it be worth it when you fit into those favorite jeans again? When you feel attractive again?

Financial freedom requires downsizing, budgeting and being debt-free. At first it may seem like sacrifice, but as time wears on, you realize you didn’t need all that stuff anyway. And when you have the freedom to travel anytime to anywhere, help as many people as you want, and not worry about next month’s bills, life is much sweeter.

I’ll admit, this was the hardest for me to overcome. I feared moving back to my hometown so much that I literally had anxiety just thinking about it. No matter how much my loving husband told me how temporary this situation was, I couldn’t think past tomorrow. Just for two years? Refused to believe it. Two years, you know, is a lifetime.

Looking back on my faulty preconceived thoughts and notions, I think how silly, but I literally could not see past tomorrow to the future. The global picture was lost to me. I expected life to be exactly how I wanted it when I wanted it… no exceptions, no investments.

The upfront investment of many goals keep most people from setting goals and following through with them.

Now that we know why most people fail to set or follow through with their goals, why should we do it anyway??? Stay tuned for the next post!

What do you find most difficult about goal-setting? Comment below!

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