Why Goals Fall Flat

blog Jan 25, 2011

Last week I posted my New Year’s resolutions and ever since I posted that, I’ve been thinking about why most New Year’s resolutions fail.  I have been going through in my head my own behaviors as well as the behaviors of people that I know.  I tried to talk to as many people as I can about their successes and their obstacles; as much as I give you my own stories in my books and in this blog, I want to see if my random thoughts are unique to my situation or if they apply to a vast array of people. (I try to write about issues that apply to most situations.)

When people set goals one of the issues is that they bite off more than they can chew.   It’s great to have long term goals.  In fact, I think that the more long term thinking you have, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.  With that said, people don’t break down their goals.  Sometimes they don’t even know where to begin.  When you have a lofty goal, ask yourself, “what can I do today to at least get myself started on the goal?”  Furthermore, when people decide to take action and decide to make a change, they think that they have to do everything at one time—they can go to the gym, eat no meat, get a new job, and come up with the cure for cancer all while writing the next great American novel.  What will happen is that none of it will get done.

When I wrote the post about my New Year’s resolutions, my goals were very lofty.  I was very cognizant of not trying to do too much.  I have other plans for this year and other ventures that I would like to explore but in the end I decided to omit them from the post because I just thought if I put it in there, then nothing would get done.

We all know that success does not happen in a vacuum.  It is very interesting that right after I posted my blog last week, I felt compelled to read articles and go on match.com.  We all need to share our goals with other people because it’s easier to make excuses to ourselves than to other people.  It is important to be accountable to someone else other than yourself.

People also are waiting for the perfect situation in order to start a new journey.  Many people think that they can only start when this or that happens.  They are waiting to get their promotion at work to start going to the gym, when those two have nothing to do with each other.  Each are independent events.

Many people like getting ready to achieve their goal rather than actually achieving them.  I admit, I am guilty of this one.  I had an account to send out this blog three years before I actually blogged every week; I changed the design of the blog twice.  The truth is that I was waiting for the right time and the right time didn’t come.  Furthermore, I was scared that I would run out of things to say.

I have mentioned that finding a girlfriend is my biggest priority.  I started to think of the reason that I was not doing anything about it.  I found something interesting—I am too emotional about it.  It stinks when I email women and I either get no response or I get replies saying “no thank you” or—again—just nothing at all.  I get anxious and uncomfortable because I think is it my disability or what?  Let me tell you—it’s nerve-racking.  In the past, when I decided to go on my noble quest, I emailed 15 girls in one day, got one or two no thank you’s and decided the quest was over.  What I decided to do this time is to email three girls a day four times a week and keep that momentum alive.

I really need a girlfriend.

The last thing is that goals and dreams get superseded by everyday life.  It seems that something always gets in the way, whether it’s the kids, the birthday party we have to attend, the broken down water heater, or the last episode of Dexter.  (I love Dexter. By the way, I emailed this girl on match.com who loves Dexter and I got the obligatory “I don’t think we’re a good match” – ouch.)  We all need to carve out a piece of our day or week for the most important person in our lives—ourselves.  If you want to start going to the gym, then carve out two or three times a week that you must go to the gym.  Make it an appointment with yourself.  It is equally important to define what can and cannot interrupt that appointment.  For example, if your friends call you up to go out to eat, that should not supersede that appointment with yourself, but if your friends call you up and say that they are having a bad day, then that might supersede that appointment.  If you do not define the boundaries from the beginning, then you run the risk of letting any old thing disrupt you from your goals.

Timelapse - Lighthouse (Oct 2012) from IMK Digital Multimedia on Vimeo.

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