Probably no one of us started out in life saying, “I hope I’ll end messing up everything.” Just like everyone else, all of us have the best intentions in all areas of life: relationships, health, careers or business endeavors, as well as recreational pursuits that will contribute to our personal growth.
And yet, to leave everything to chance, or to assume that success in achieving our goals is a matter of luck, is a dangerous presumption. We are deluded if we believe that fate determines the ultimate fulfillment of our goals.
Sit back and take a good look at your life right now. Have you achieved most of your goals, or at least, gradually getting to that point? If you’re feeling dissatisfied, consider the following as the possible culprits that hold you back:
(1.) Your goals lack clarity.
Before making a definite plan to go after what you want, first you need to decide what it is that you want. Different people set goals for different reasons. There is most likely an underlying motive that serves as the driving force behind every worthwhile goal.
If you only have a vague or hazy idea regarding what you want, you won’t feel compelled enough to take action.
(2.) Your goals are in conflict with one another.
Some people make an effort to work on several goals at once. This is perfectly all right if each separate goal complements, or is in sync, with one another. To illustrate, let’s say your goal is to learn a foreign language, like Spanish. You then make up your mind that the best way to learn is to take an intensive course in a foreign language school.
So to be able to afford the tuition fee, you take in odd jobs in addition to your nine-to-five, like waiting on tables at the Spanish restaurant near your place in order to become familiar with the cuisines.
Now, if you’re a high school student and you want to qualify for an academic scholarship in college yet you spend most of your time going out with friends because you also consider a social life to be important, this can cause conflict. Make sure that if you want to get on the right track towards a scholarship, strike a balance between doing homework and finding time for friends.
(3.) Your goals are unrealistic.
While it’s good to set a goal that will challenge you to stretch beyond your capacities, there are some goals that are impossible to achieve given a certain time frame. A very good example of an unrealistic goal is to aim to lose 20 pounds in just one month.
A more feasible plan of action would be to whittle away a pound or two a week, not by drastically changing your diet, but by making small sacrifices like skipping desserts, cutting back on soda, or getting up 15 minutes earlier every morning to exercise.
Your goals may also be considered unrealistic if you wish to work in a certain type of career, trade, or profession and yet, you have absolutely no talent or aptitude, or even the right credentials, to have a fighting chance to succeed in that career.
For example, a career in sales requires that a person is by nature gregarious and enjoys frequent person-to-person contact. Individuals who are introverted or have to summon up enough courage before making cold calls are not suited to be salespeople.
(4.) You have no idea if you’ve made progress.
Goals, in order to be effective, need to be measurable. Ask yourself, “Am I moving towards the direction that I desire?” or “Am I achieving what I’m supposed to achieve?”
Devise a system that will allow you to keep track of your progress. Assess yourself regularly to see if you’ve made improvement.
There are times when the results of the goals that people set aren’t tangible. I’ve heard parents say, “I want to grow closer to my children.” Closeness can never be quantified. Usually, to grow closer to their children, parents would need to schedule more quality time with them. While fathers are expected to provide, a mother may decide to give up her career, or juggle her schedule so she can come home early to join her family for dinner a couple of times a week. A father can keep most of his weekends free so he can take his kids camping or biking.
(5.) You’re not fully committed.
Goal setting requires hard work, determination, and a willingness to delay gratification. Making constant excuses or relaxing your resolve when the going gets tough won’t bring you to the completeness of your goals.