How to Really Reach Your Goals in Life
This is Part 2 to yesterday’s blog post How to Achieve Your Goals and Dreams. In yesterday’s post I gave you the blueprint to achieving your goals and dreams. It’s the step by step process you take when you want to slay some serious goals. And while I was pretty thorough outlining what it takes to achieve your goals there’s more to it. That post assumes everything goes smoothly. But you will get in your own way. You will lack key personal attributes or character traits needed. This post walks through what to do when things aren’t really going as planned. This is how to really reach your goals in life.
(Make sure you check out Part 3: Tools and Resources to Help You Achieve Your Goals when you’re done here!)
Have A Big Enough Why
About five years ago I decided to start an eBay business. My mother had sold jewelry on eBay for years and made a nice side hustle income from it. I entered into corporate America at a tumultuous time. My entire career was full of layoffs, reorgs, and pay freezes. I needed a side hustle. And possibly a plan B just in case my name ended up on the layoff list. (It ended up on another list: the fired list). Plus, I wanted to make up for the hundreds of dollars I was paying to Sallie Mae each month.
So I found wholesale merchandise. I purchased it by the thousands. Thousands of dollars that is. I did the math and figured out the margins. I had a winner (I thought). I bought men’s neckties for $1 a piece and sold for $10. I purchased handbags and jewelry for pennies on the dollar. Literally. I should have been multiplying my investment many times over. And in the beginning, on a piece-by-piece basis I was. I felt great. There was excitement and energy. There was just one little problem.
I didn’t enjoy taking pictures, uploading them, and writing descriptions. Furthermore I didn’t enjoy rewriting descriptions and headlines to optimize my listings. So my excitement wore off.
And all the merchandise I had essentially went to waste. My mom did sell some of it on her eBay account though.
So why did this happen? I knew my “Why?”. I wanted to bring in extra income. I wanted to pay down debt and splurge a little. That was my “Why?”.
But it wasn’t a BIG enough “Why?”. It was big enough to get me started, but it wasn’t big enough to keep me going. Most people who know me in real life know that I’m pretty frugal. I don’t buy expensive items unless I really need to. My television is about ten years old. It’s the kind that sits on the floor. No flat screen, blue tooth, LCD for me.Don't just have a Why? Have a BIG enough Why?. Click To Tweet
More money isn’t a BIG enough “Why?” for me. Even further, wasting money on merchandise I had already purchased wasn’t enough to make me spend hours taking pictures, uploading them, and writing descriptions. I didn’t care that I would lose money on my side hustle. If I started an eBay business because I needed the money that might have been enough to keep me going. But I didn’t need the money so I gave up.
Don’t just know a “Why?” Search for your BIGGEST “Why?” and build your vision around that. If your “Why?” is too small you may have a hard time sticking it out. You need to either dig deeper to uncover a bigger “Why?” or you need to identify a new vision. There’s really no other way around. You have to want it bad enough.
You might be working toward something and your reason why is for your parents. It would mean the world to them if you accomplished it. That’s a good “Why?”. But it may not be a great “Why?” and that could be what’s holding you back.
Everything in Part 1 is meaningless if you don’t have this together. You know that your “Why?” is big enough when the vision becomes non-negotiable. As long as it is negotiable or optional you’re not operating from a big enough “Why?”.
What’s your BIG “Why?”?
You will come up against obstacles on the road to success. The key is knowing how to move past them and how to stop them from becoming a problem in the first place. If you are foreword thinking there are some obstacles that you can identify before you even get started. For example, if you’re attempting to change your eating habits to lose weight you can possibly identify situations that can trip you up. If you live with other people and they are not changing their eating habits you can come against an obstacle. If your friends have Fish Fry Friday’s or your coworkers have candy jars around the office you could fall off track.
You don’t want to start a goal without sitting down to identify potential obstacles. It’s better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise. Getting caught by surprise can lead to a setback. Having a plan in place in the beginning can help you avoid a major setback.
Don’t just identify potential obstacles or threats. Create a plan to circumvent them in advance. If you wait until the moment of truth it may be too late.
“Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” – Thomas Carlyle
Circumvent means to avoid, get around, get past, bypass, sidestep or dodge.
Some obstacles or threats that you identify can and should be avoided. This may mean avoiding a person, restaurant, etc. Such as, if you have a goal to practice abstinence you may decide to avoid being alone with someone you’re attracted to. Other times you need to have a method for finding a way around the obstacle. In real estate investing a lot of people partner up. If one person doesn’t have money they find someone who does. If another person doesn’t have time or knowledge they partner with someone who does. You can get past an obstacle of lack of money, time, or knowledge by partnering with someone who has those things.
What obstacles do you foresee for the goals you currently have?
Coming Back from a Setback
Some challenges do catch you by surprise and can cause a major (or minor) setback. This happens when environments or consumer behavior changes. What used to work no longer works. This could happen if a major client doesn’t renew their contract. The economy could change. Rules or regulations could change. Competitors could take some of your market share. Accidents or sicknesses can cause setbacks.
If you really want to reach your goals in life your comeback game has got to be strong.
“Nothing is cooler and more attractive than a big comeback, and that’ll be me.” – Steven Adler
How to Come Back from a Setback
First you want to identify what caused the setback so you can put the best comeback strategy in place. The 5 Whys exercise from Part 1 can help you get to the root cause so that you solve for the right problem. Once you’re clear on what actually lead to the setback you can start solutioning. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Elicit Help – Coaches, consultants, people further along than you or who have already accomplished what you’re striving to accomplish. Never be afraid to ask for help.
Gain new knowledge – Educate yourself on the newest regulations or trends. Talk to your customers about what they want now. Learn more about yourself, your industry, your family and friends. Simply learn something you can use to your advantage.
Find new resources – If money ran out find a new source of money.
Identify and correct issues in your processes – Sometimes setbacks occur due to a breakdown in processes. Perhaps you don’t have the best process in place. Maybe a new piece should be added.
Upgrade systems – Similar to breakdowns in processes you can have a breakdown in systems. As things change you need to make sure that your systems and processes are sufficient in the new environment.
Create a new strategy and new tactics – In Part 1 I talked about how I had a strategy to increase my Facebook fans to help drive business growth. After a year of no movement I have created a new strategy which includes SEO and Pinterest. So while this isn’t a setback per se it’s an example of creating a new strategy with a new set of tactics.
Make a pivot – Making a pivot is different and more intense than creating a new strategy because it requires you to make a higher level change. A change of strategy could be rethinking how you list and price your products on eBay. A pivot would be moving away from eBay all together and going to etsy.
End partnerships – You may have a setback due to partnerships you’ve formed. Ending those partnerships can help put you back on the road to recovery.
Get creative – Sometimes a little creativity can resolve the setback so get creative. Business leads dried up? Try something you have never done before. Hit a plateau in your weight loss? Again, get creative.
Step it up – Sometimes we have setbacks because we’ve been doing the same thing the same way forever. Hey, it works so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That is until it breaks. If you’ve gotten lax or simply stale step your game up.
Make tough decisions and sacrifices – Sometimes you know exactly what to do but it’s tough. It’s tough on you, your family, or your employees. Be willing to make tough decisions and to make sacrifices along the way. For example, if you’ve had a financial setback you may just have to tighten the belt and make sacrifices.
Be patient – Sometimes you just have to wait it out. If you’re doing the right things and there’s nothing else you can be doing patience (and consistency) will get you back to where you need to be.
Grow as a person – There could be some parts of your character that led to the setback. For example, if you have poor follow-through (you don’t do what you say when you say) it can start to catch up to you. If you want to have a comeback (particularly with those people that you didn’t follow-through with) you have to grow in that area. You have to learn to do what you say or hire/solicit someone to help you.
Have you ever made a comeback? How did you do it?
Consistent can be defined as “possessing firmness or coherence” (Merriam-Webster). If you really want to reach your goals in life you have to be firm about it. It means doing what needs to be done at the appropriate intervals over enough time to accomplish the goal. I know you get it. Consistency isn’t a difficult concept to comprehend. It is a difficult habit to adopt, however. If you want to be more consistent try these:
Master your mind – This is mind over matter. You know exactly what to do. You just need to do it.
Set a schedule – Schedules can keep you consistent (if you have the mental strength to follow the schedule). Set a schedule for what you want to be consistent in. Set an alarm to go off at the appropriate time. And then be mentally strong enough to do it.
Schedule reviews or check ins – I have a standing appointment on my calendar every Friday to review my clients files. Why? Because I worked with a coach who NEVER did anything she said she was going to do. I don’t want to be that kind of coach. So I go through my notes and make sure I’m delivering on what I committed. As you seek to practice consistency toward your own goals you can adopt a similar practice. Once a week take some time to review your progress. If you’re not delivering on your commitments to yourself your weekly check-ins will be your time to adjust.
Always get back at it – You will fall off but consistency is more important in the long run than the short run. You can exercise everyday for a week and it won’t get you far. If you exercise several times a week over the course of three months you will make progress even if you skip an entire week here or there. So when you fall off don’t stay off. Get back on.Consistency is more important in the long run than in the short run. Click To Tweet
Discipline is a bit different than consistency, but they work together. If you are disciplined on a task level or on a daily basis you can be consistent. Put another way consistency requires your discipline. It requires you to do what you know you need to do when you need to do it. As you improve your self discipline it can help to focus on the task or on just today. You don’t have to commit to being disciplined for the next six months. Just make it a practice to commit to being disciplined today.
I joined the usher’s ministry at my church earlier this year. I had toyed with the idea of being an usher for YEARS but I didn’t think I could be disciplined enough to show up to church every Sunday. You see, while I always attended church most Sundays it was not above me to skip out to watch Super Soul Sunday. Or the weather was bad. Or I overslept. Or whatever. Now I go to church every Sunday (unless I’m traveling) rain or shine. I don’t worry about being disciplined enough for the next 52 weeks to get to church on time. I just focus on being where I need to be this Sunday.
Take the pressure off yourself by thinking about discipline simply for the day or the task at hand.
You can also build your discipline by attaching an award to it. I actually enjoy serving in church so it’s not a stretch for me. Or I enjoy a protein shake after a workout. It’s actually something I look forward to.
Mastering your mind and setting a schedule are also key components of discipline. I know I’m going to church every Sunday because that’s the schedule. It’s not a question. Have a schedule for the tasks you want to develop discipline in. If you set a schedule you have to be mentally strong enough to follow through especially in the beginning. Over time you will likely get used to the schedule.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
Discipline is about self-control. You are controlling your feelings and impulses in order to do what you know you need to do. Any time you can circumvent sabotaging feelings or impulses you set yourself up to win the game of discipline. This could be doing important things earlier in the day. I’ve read research that says we get decision fatigued when we’ve had to make too many decisions in certain time frames. Or our self-control dwindles when we’ve exercised it too many times already. If this is something that is true for you you may want to shift when you do certain things. Self-control can help you keep to the schedule you set.
Accountability can also help you with consistency and discipline. If you know someone is counting on you to show up or to do something you will be more inclined to do it. If you want to be disciplined and your struggle with getting their on your own find an accountability partner or coach to support you.
How will you stay disciplined and consistent?
Don’t forget to check out Parts 1 and 3.