Setting goals is the EASY part.
The “achieving your goals” half of it is a whole different story!
Most of us FAIL to meet our goals… repeatedly, attempt after attempt after attempt.
But… it doesn’t have to be this way. Not anymore.
What if I let you in on some of the most effective goal setting strategies and several of the best goal setting steps that you can adopt and follow to finally succeed with your business or personal goal setting?
In this post / session of the Online Business FM podcast, I’ll tell you all about that, plus offer you some great goal setting examples and I’ll finally make you see why most people fail at goal setting and — more importantly — at goal getting.
Episode 13 is a super special episode of the OBFM show.
I invited not one, two, nor even three guests on to the show… but a staggering amount of TWENTY FIVE of them to answer a simple question: “why do people fail at goal setting?”.
I wanted that these influencers and high achievers from all walks of life and from the four corners of the Earth to make you understand the most common mistakes people make when setting new goals and trying to achieve them. And this is what they answered.
What You’ll Learn
- Why people fail at goal setting and goal getting
- The most common mistakes people make when setting goals and trying to achieve them
- How to finally succeed at business / personal goal setting
- Several of the most effective goal setting strategies
- Best and easy-to-follow goal setting steps
- Some great goal setting examples
Download the MP3 File
If you prefer, you can download this episode’s MP3 file to your device for later listening. Just use the link below and follow the instructions to do so.
Links and Resources Mentioned
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the following links below may be affiliate ones, which means I earn a commission — at no extra cost to you — if you end up purchasing anything after clicking through those links.
- What Comes First: Goal or Aspiration? article by David Kirkaldy
- Behind the scenes with health expert and business owner, Lisa Raleigh podcast episode by Lisa Linfield
- Creating a Strategic Plan for Your Side Hustle – Goals podcast episode by Shannon Mattern
- Productivity & Goal Setting resources by Doug Cunnington
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- Live It! by Jairek Robbins
- 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever! by Michael Hyatt
- Marketing Secrets podcast with Russell Brunson
25 Influencers Answer ‘Why Do People Fail at Goal Setting?’
Did you know that about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February?
I mean… we usually begin each new year all pumped up and motivated to do some serious changes in our lives or, at least, to achieve something great.
And we set ourselves some big goals like losing weight, going to the gym, writing a book, starting our own business…
And then… life just happens! And we kind of forget all about our resolutions, our aspirations, our goals…
I remember last year, I set and wrote down some big, exciting goals for the entire year. Later down the calendar, I decided to revisit them and you know what? Some of them, I didn’t even remember I had set them in the first place. Let alone accomplishing them or doing something towards that.
But why does it happen? Why do we keep failing to meet our goals continually, year after year after year? Why do we fail at goal setting and, more importantly, at goal getting?
To learn why, I decided to invite some people on to the show.
Hi! My name is Louie and if you happen to recall this show’s intro episode, I told you this wasn’t going to be your typical interview-style kind of podcast, but today we have not one, not two, not three, nor four or five guests but… twenty five of them to help us finally figure it out.
For this very special kind of episode, for this expert roundup episode, I posed one simple question to 25 people from all walks of life and from all corners of the Earth.
From bloggers to authors, from podcasters to YouTubers, from psychologists to mentors, coaches and course creators… From the United States of America to Australia, from the United Kingdom to South Africa and back to Europe…
I asked them “why do people fail at goal setting?”. And this is what they answered.
Understand the Difference Between Goals and Aspirations
Let’s kick it off by understanding what goals and aspirations actually are with no one but podcaster, author and small business coach Candice Coppola.
[Louie] Candice is right. We often confuse goals with aspirations. Goals are far more specific and actionable than aspirations. Aspirations are our “why” or “purpose”.
But is our “why” or “purpose” really that important to succeed at meeting our goals?
The Importance of Having a “Why” or a “Purpose” Behind Our Goals
[Louie] So… having a “why”, a “purpose” that pushes you into achieving something that you want, into going after your goals is important. It’s actually one of most important aspects of succeeding at goal setting.
It’s all about forming that personal connection that Ashley was talking about which will then help you stay committed along the way.
[Louie] Right! Looking beyond just your goal and tying it to something deeply personal is key to feeling motivated and staying committed along the way.
But, besides that, we need something more.
Let’s listen to what Dr Shannon Irvine — a strategist, mentor, philanthropist and host of the Epic Success Podcast — has to say about it.
This means that we need to keep coming back to, not just our list of goals (so we won’t forget about them), but also to our “whys” (so we keep ourselves motivated and committed). And we should do it every single day.
In light of that, it’s also a good idea to look at our goals as if they have already happened so as to try and feel what we would like to feel if we were to accomplish them thus living our “whys” in advance.
Hence the “something deeply personal” aspect of this, like Nadalie was saying, which is all about looking into your feelings, your emotions and the vision you have for yourself, for your family and your life.
Your Vision, Your Emotions, Your Transformation
[Louie] So, on the one hand, you have your more practical and analytical side making sure you’re disciplined, prepared and do the work that is required to achieve your goals.
On the other hand, you have your feelings, emotions, intentions and motivations, your emotional intelligence, fueling your “whys” or “purpose”.
Both things combined can be really powerful allowing you to transform yourself whenever you try to accomplish your goals.
I wonder what Candice Dick, host of the EQ Evolution podcast has to say about this.
[Louie] The practical, analytical side of goal setting might not be for everyone.
Likewise, getting in touch with your inspiration, feelings, emotions and intentions and use them as a pull for accomplishing your goals and aspirations might also not be for us all.
But it is probably crucial for the more creative among us, like Linda Schwartz, a stand-up comedian and podcast host.
[Louie] Thanks for that, Linda.
Let’s now rewind a little bit to what Dr Shannon was mentioning… starting to become the person we need to be to reach our goals and fulfill our ambitions, our aspirations is one of the secrets to success that all high achievers share.
Quite unsurprisingly, this also happens to be one of the success principles that Jack Canfield (co-author of the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series) talks about in his other book, The Success Principles.
Forming some positive habits — such as rewriting your goals, revisiting your “whys” and starting to behave like the person you need to be to reach your goals — actually sends a message to your subconscious mind kind of “forcing” it to try to narrow down the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future (in regards to your goals).
And before you go “ah, this sounds too mystical to me, I don’t believe in this kind of magical stuff”, before you go like that, just listen to what Heather Christian has to share.
Change Your Belief System
[Louie] You see… this helps keep your goals and your “whys” fresh and present at all times, which then contributes to having your subconscious mind doing part of the work for you. And this has nothing to do with magic or mysticism.
Understand that, each day, you get bombarded by millions and millions of bits of information from literally everywhere.
Now, obviously, your brain needs to filter that huge amount of info so it only stores what’s more important to you. When you rewrite and/or revisit your goals and your “whys” constantly, you’re sort of telling it “this is important to me, keep it at the top of my priorities”.
What this does is it stimulates a very specific part of your brain called RAS — which stands for reticular activating system.
Once activated, the RAS function will pay more attention to the things that are most important to you — your top priorities — allowing you to find new clues and opportunities, enabling you see things you wouldn’t see otherwise that may be helpful for you to reach your goals and achieve the success you’re looking for.
That’s why when you buy a new car, learn a new word or even fall in love, you suddenly begin seeing that car or that word or that person’s face like everywhere.
That’s why when I bought my new used car last summer, a model which I had only seen once before, it suddenly seemed that everyone owned the same exact model and had picked the same exact color.
And if this isn’t enough to convince you… forming this successful habit will enable you to start shaping your new beliefs.
[Louie] If we don’t actually believe that we can achieve our goals… then we have two options.
We either set less ambitious goals that are easier for us to believe we can meet or we change our beliefs.
But setting less ambitious goals just because they’re easier to accomplish doesn’t make us grow and evolve in order to become the person we need to be to fulfill our ultimate dreams and aspirations.
And, if our overall aim is growth and evolution, then we definitely have to change our underlying belief system and our habits to reach higher goals and achieve greater things.
[Louie] It’s all about changing that underlying belief system of yours, unlearning some bad habits and forming new ones.
At the same time, don’t look at your big goal as something you need to tackle as a whole or to accomplish in just one go. Doing that will only get you overwhelmed and you risk getting burned out in the process.
Trust me, I’ve been there multiples times.
Instead, break your big goals down into smaller bite-sized pieces or tasks (as my buddy Jason Skinner was saying), something you can control and within a manageable time frame.
Then, every time you complete one of your micro-tasks, celebrate those small wins. It’ll keep you motivated, committed and on the right track to reaching your bigger goals.
Break Your Goals Down Into Smaller Steps
[Louie] Exactly, Rae and Pauline! And that’s yet another disadvantage of setting less ambitious goals: they don’t have the exciting factor.
Setting exciting goals is a crucial goal-setting strategy.
Make them exciting but, again, avoid easily getting overwhelmed by them by breaking them down into smaller steps.
Always remember: bridges, monuments, great feats and even careers weren’t built overnight, just like that.
Don’t you agree, Ellen?
[Louie] It’s just like what Ellen Jackson — host of the Potential Psychology Podcast which you can find at potential.com.au — just said, the risk of setting big and exciting goals is getting overwhelmed which leads to procrastination which then leads to failing to achieve your goals.
Hence the importance of breaking down those goals into smaller manageable chunks.
Another excellent goal-setting advice is to set middle-sized goals (which are composed of those smaller manageable chunks or bite-sized tasks) within foreseeable time frames in order to avoid overwhelm.
Let’s listen to what Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist and growth coach, that you can find at amandacrowell.com, has to say about it.
[Louie] By now, you might probably be like “okay, I understand the benefits of breaking down my big goals into smaller steps, but how do I actually do that?”.
Well, Bill Widmer, from BillWidmer.com and host of the Better Life Better Business Podcast is here to explain.
[Louie] To sum it up really quick: set your big goals, write them down, break them down into smaller mini-goals by reverse-engineering them by asking yourself “what do I have to do this year, this month, this week, today, right now to achieve my goals?” and write those mini-goals down, too. Set a time frame for the achievement of those mini-goals.
And then, as you complete your mini-goals, celebrate that, and track your progress by checking them off of your mini-goals list.
So, basically, what you need to do is make a plan for how you’re going to go after your goals and prepare for every eventuality in order to tackle them in the most effective way.
Make a Plan, Prepare for the Unexpected and Track Your Progress
[Louie] I think the most important thing that we take from Zac’s advice is that we have to make a plan and make sure we’re ready for everything; for obstacles as well as successes.
In a sentence, prepare for your journey before you leave.
[Louie] There’s a great quote by Benjamin Franklin which perfectly illustrates Maven’s answer that you need to keep in mind at all times: «By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail».
And what is actually failing to meet our goals? Is failure such a literal concept?
Goal Achieving Success Isn’t a Black or White Measure
[Louie] That being said, let me rephrase or change my earlier question:
What is actually succeeding to reach our goals?
[Louie] These two answers tell you that failure and success aren’t that literal after all.
Create S.M.A.R.T., Actionable Goals and… Take Action
Now, let me ask you, my friend, are you 100% responsible for achieving your goals? Are the goals that you have set based 100% on what you can do to achieve them?
Listen to Jacques Hopkins’ answer and think about it.
[Louie] This means that you have to make sure that your goals are really actionable. That you can control the necessary steps you need to take in order to meet them.
If you fail to do it, you’ll be doing goal setting in the wrong way.
Now, to help people do it right and be more effective at goal setting, a very specific goal-setting methodology (that was mentioned earlier) was created.
Doug Cunnington, from NicheSiteProject.com and host of the Doug Show podcast, is here today to talk about that methodology, the S.M.A.R.T. goals methodology.
[Louie] Totally! Setting goals like “I want to be healthy” are definitely not specific, meaning you don’t actually really understand what you need to do to reach that goal.
Better yet, that’s not even a goal, it’s more of an aspiration. Again, you should not confuse the two. And since you don’t know what to do, you’ll be stuck and will end up doing nothing.
You can find Doug’s links and all of the resources mentioned in the show notes page for this episode at onlinebusiness.fm/13.
In the end, the core essence of goal setting is truly about… taking action.
And who’s better to talk about taking action than Brendan Hufford himself?
[Louie] Right on, Brendan! Thanks for this.
It’s funny and kind of ironic, but there’s clearly a tendency, when we set goals, to focus more on the outcome, on the end result than really on what we need to work on, on the required actions to get there.
We kind of forget to actually do the work.
And another important element to being successful at achieving your goals is who you share them with and the people you surround yourself with to support you, to help you, to hold you accountable and to guide you along the way.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded Individuals
[Louie] There’s a strong reason as to why Jim Rohn said what he said, one of his most famous quotes: «You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with».
And that reason was perfectly described in James Travis’ answer.
Recheck Your Commitment Level to Make Sure You Stay Committed
Everyone of us who is listening to this show is already aware of everything that it takes to be successful, to set goals the proper way and to achieve them.
We have most of this knowledge already within us.
We just have to be remembered of these pieces of advice every now and again.
We just have to stay focused. And, most of all…
We just need to be committed.
Who You Are Now Determines Who You’ll Become in the Future
[Louie] After all that was said and as a conclusion to this episode, there is a final thing, a word of warning, that you need to be aware of when setting your goals.
Azul Terronez, educator, author, entrepreneur, writing coach and host of the Born to Write podcast has the final piece of advice to offer you on goal setting.
[Louie] Never forget that who you are right now is the very foundation of the person you’re striving to become and that what you do now and how you do it is what actually defines you — not the kind of goals that you set.
And we are done for today!
I really hope that you have enjoyed and, most of all, learned a lot from this episode.
I’d like to take a moment right now to thank everyone who accepted to be a part of this audio roundup on goal setting — and even to those who for one reason or another couldn’t participate this time, I’m sure other opportunities will come along.
Thank you. I truly appreciate you ladies and gentlemen taking time out of your busy schedules to record your invaluable contributions to this very special episode of the Online Business FM podcast.
I had a lot of work putting this together but, at the same time, a ton of fun, as well. This was one of my goals for the beginning of this year and I can now say: accomplished goal!!
Join Us Next Time
As for you, dear listener, do join me again in the next episode of the OBFM podcast!
All Links & Resources
Navigate to onlinebusiness.fm/13 to get the all the links, resources, all that was mentioned, plus the episode’s transcription and more info about today’s guests in the show notes page for this session of the podcast.
Thanks for listening!
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See You Soon
See you next time!
From Lisbon, Portugal to the world, this is Luís Miguel Correia a.k.a. “Louie Luc” and I’m signing off!