Don’t be one of the 70% who will fail to achieve their goals

It was a lot of fun this past year to watch my oldest son find his athletic passion in the sport of swimming. As a result, we were required to go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week for his swim team practice. With the time demands of the holidays increasing, little by little, the gym parking lot became less and less full. On January 2nd, the parking lot was not only more crowed than usual, but the gym itself was significantly busier. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself knowing what was most likely about to come. And then like clockwork, within two short weeks, the size of the gym crowd was back to normal.

Every January it’s common for people to join a gym with the best of intentions, and then within weeks, they fade into oblivion. According to Gold’s Gym, their traffic jumps 40 percent between December and January, and quickly dips back down in February.

The unfortunate thing about this example is it’s not just isolated to health and fitness, but a sad commentary on the setting and accomplishment of goals in general. Most people will tell you that setting goals is important and can lead to higher levels of success, but in fact, only roughly 20 percent of the population actually sets goals. What’s even more surprising; of the individuals that do set goals, approximately 70 percent will fail to achieve them.

“Goal setting is perhaps the most vital and important skill of all peak performance, high achievement and self-motivation. Every peak performer is an obsessive goal setter. They have a clear picture of what they want and they are focused single-mindedly on achieving it. When we have goals, we develop direction, focused energy and purpose.”

—Brian Tracy shared in The Psychology of Achievement

To maintain motivation toward accomplishing goals, you must actively set them. It is easy to envision our lives changing in some sort of way, but if we wish to make a change, goals have to be put into place. They are the stepping stones that help us reach this achievement and self-motivation.

4 Reasons Why Goal Setting is Important:

1. Goals help create a “life by design” versus a “life by accident”.

Change is an inevitable part of life. However, the uncertainty that surrounds change can be a cause of tremendous stress and anxiety for many. Goals actually give us the ability to control the direction of that change. This control enables us to steer our lives in a direction of improvement, instead of deterioration.

2. Writing down your goals on a regular basis can reprogram your mind.

Most people make the mistake when crafting their goals of just keeping them in their heads. The average person’s life moves at such a fast pace that between making sure tasks are completed at work, getting the kids to their extracurricular activities, maintaining a clean and functioning household, and so on, it’s way too easy to forget something. That’s why we’ve become obsessed with calendars and “to-do lists,” so these important items don’t actually fall between the cracks. Simply keeping our goals in our heads almost ensures they will become a casualty of one of these cracks.

By writing your goals on a regular basis, you’re not only keeping them on top of your mind, but you’re also effectively programming them deeply into your subconscious. Doing so changes the focus of your inner world. Your outer world ultimately becomes a reflection of your inner world and mirrors back what you spend your time thinking about most. Successful people mostly think about what they want and how to get it. In contrast, unsuccessful people think about what they don’t want, or what they fear, most of the time. Setting and writing down goals helps to keep them at the front of our minds, and over time, this change of focus will be reflected back to us in our outer world.

3. Written goals also lead to higher rates of accomplishment and success.

Studies have shown that the simple act of writing your goals on a regular basis (actually moving the goal from your head to paper) increases the likelihood of achievement by 42%.

A study conducted by the Harvard MBA program has also found writing down goals to be a major factor of increased success. When Harvard MBA graduates were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them,” only 3% answered yes. Ten years later, when the graduates were interviewed again, the 3% who had answered yes to this question turned out to be making ten times as much as the other 97% combined, on average.

4. “The success mechanism is triggered by a goal.”

Author and motivational speaker, Charlie Tremendous Jones, used this analogy:

Every person has both a failure mechanism and success mechanism. The failure mechanism goes off automatically. In the absence of the success mechanism, people automatically fail and go nowhere with their lives. But, the success mechanism is triggered by a goal. Every time we think about our goal, visualize our goal, or write our goal down, we are pushing on the success mechanism and we are triggering ourselves toward high accomplishment.

It is important to be mindful when choosing which goals you are truly ready to pursue. Once you decide on the change you hope to see in your life, go make it happen. Think about these goals and how you plan to achieve them constantly, which will be much easier after they have been written down. It is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not a goal is achievable, and the change you choose to make will determine whether or not you become one of the successful 30% who do complete those goals.


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