Do you need help achieving your goals? You start multiple projects, new hobbies or set new intentions only to never see them through to the end. Sound familiar? Or make a commitment to get healthy, only to go to spin 7 days in a row and then give up? Do you make a resolution to turn things in your life around, only to blame your circumstances when nothing changes? If any of this sounds familiar I have something to tell you. It is all your fault!
I also used to start things and never finish. So the good news is I am going to explain why and how you can finally change things for good. Start achieving your goals!
Reasons you are not achieving your goals
You emphasise short-term quick fixes
I am going to use weight loss as the best example of this. Whenever weight loss supplements or regimes are advertised it is always with the focus on speed. “Lose two stone in one month!” We often emphasise short time results at the expense of long term prosperity. Our relationships, bodies and environment are all abused in order to fulfil the immediate.
In the case of weight loss, most us will not succeed in meeting such unrealistic goals. Why? Because you are ignoring the very thing you are trying to improve – your body! If you put your body into starvation and also punish it in the gym you will be both physically and psychologically drained. You cannot maintain that existence. So you fail. You start and you don’t finish.
You go into something with an ‘all or nothing’ attitude
In this day and age we are made to believe that to be the best you must apply yourself 100%. This was the trap I fell into. If I wanted to do something I had to do it 100% of the time without deviation – or I was a failure! When it came to my health and fitness I had to follow every workout session in the plan and every macro to the gram. But never allowing for flexibility can be extremely draining on your mental health.
I applied this psychology to all parts of my life. My home had to be spotless. Every job on my list had to be completed no matter how tired I was. I needed to have my hair perfectly styled and my outfit on point. I needed immediate success in any endeavour I tried or I was a FAILURE. It was all or nothing. There was no moderation. And social time had to be put to the side.
As you can imagine I could never sustain this for long periods of time. I either became ill or I developed such anxiety I struggled to cope. This then put pressure on my relationships. But once I was over the worst I always set myself another unobtainable goal.
You blame your circumstances
So many people start something and then blame their circumstances for not following it through to the end. Excuses tend to range from not having enough time, that family or friends made it difficult, that actually another date would be a better time to start or that other circumstances ‘out of your control’ got in the way. This is actually the key problem of setting a goal and never planning how you will achieve it.
I have to say I never suffered from this problem. There are two different types of people: reactive and proactive. I am very much the latter.
Are you proactive or reactive?
To find out which type you are answer yes or no to the questions below (and be honest):
- Are you likely to say the phrase “I could do that if I had x”?
- Do you agree with the statement “I have no control over whether I am promoted. All I can do is work hard and wait”
- Someone tells you “Don’t bother reading this book/taking this course/learning this topic, I did it and it didn’t help me” – do you follow their advice?
So that was a very simple test, but if 2-3 of your answers are yes then you are a reactive person. Usually the reason you do not have something or have not achieved something is due to someone else, or some other circumstance that you “do not have control over”. Does this sound familiar? Now this takes some insight and self-awareness to admit you are reactive. But the second you do then I promise you that life becomes easier, funner even!
How to start AND finish anything: steps to achieving your goals
Look at what the proactive person does
A proactive person does not blame their circumstances, but looks at what they have control over within them. Of course there are elements of life we do not have control over (the weather, the price of food or rent). However, we always have control over how we deal with these things.
Next time something happens in your life I challenge you to take a moment before you react to list what the areas are outside of your control, and what the areas are within your control. I think you will be surprised at what truly is within your power. Stephen R. Covey provides clear examples of this in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Plan your goals properly
In order to stop burn out AND to overcome challenges you need to draw the map that will take you from A to B. You would never start a journey to a location you had never been to before without checking a map and at least plotting a rough route. There is no difference with achieving your goals.
In my free resource library is a comprehensive, step-by-step workbook on planning and achieving your goals. I highly recommend you download this.
My workbook will help you to:
- Identify what your true goal is and help you understand whether this is actually realistic
- Plot out the short-term goals, or stepping stones, that will take you from A to B
- Outline all the tasks that you will complete between each short-term goal
- Plan your time
These steps are CRUCIAL to overcoming all the issues I listed above on why you start and do not finish something.