Failure To Achieve Your Goals – Has Your Why Changed?

When setting our own goals – no matter whether they are personal or business goals – at the time they seem right for us, intuitively right, don’t they? Like me, I’m sure that initially you work towards the goals that you’ve set and are completely focused on them …

when you revisit your goals, do they still make sense?

when you revisit your goals, do they still make sense?

But over time maybe your focus doesn’t seem to be as razor sharp as before and other things seem to become more important and more urgent. It may be that the needs of your clients come first or if it is a personal goal, other family members get priority. Life just seems to happen and motivation seems to diminish or shift towards something else.

If you revisit the goals they still seem to make sense and perhaps you say to yourself that you’ll spend more time working on the goals next week. And then next week comes and guess what, you don’t do anything towards the goal. Invariably there’s an amount of beating yourself up because you haven’t taken any action but what has really happened, what’s changed/

When I spend time thinking about the goals that I’ve set and really delve into them thinking about why I achieve some and others have now paled into “a nice to have”, I find my connection to the goal – the feeling that I have for it – has changed. And why has it changed? Exactly that the why?

For any goal that I have set myself and achieved, I keep asking the ‘why”, I start off with some simple questions for example:

why did you set the goal in the first place because delivering x it adds value for my clients?

and why is adding value to my clients important? Because it’s providing a better service to them

and why is adding value and providing a better service important? Because it gives something back

and why is adding value, providing a better service and giving something back important? Because it makes a difference to them

and why is adding value, providing a better service, giving something back and making a difference important? Because I feel that I’m making a difference to them and that’s important to me

And so you can see that in delving into the why, it’s not the monetary things that help to to achieve them. Laszlo makes it very clear that extra money is only a short term incentive (even though it’s very useful to ensure that you can have the basics in life let alone the good things). To be honest, this is an exercise that I’ll often do with my own coach as it’s easier if someone’s listening and playing back to you however, I do it on my own to.

So the obverse to this is where I haven’t achieved a goal – either completed one or not even started the activities towards it. As you would expect, because like you I’m human, initially all sorts of things come up such as time, other distractions and so on but when I do it honestly as I explore the whys often I’ll get down to levels 5, 6 or 7 and find that there was no real feeling behind the goal. The motivator was much more material and now it really isn’t that important.

When talking to my clients about why certain goals haven’t been achieved, whether its business goals or more personal to them, when we delve into the why and get down into the real depth of the why, it’s clear that actually the why isn’t important to them sometimes the why has changed and other times the why wasn’t really there. So intuitively they’ve self selected the goals to work on i.e. The goals that really do mean something where the meaning wasn’t just intellectual. In short the the goals they achieve are the goals they are fully committed to.

Now we are several months into the year, perhaps it’s time to revisit your own goals and think about the why? And if the why doesn’t lead to a feeling when you’ve delved into it then you may wish to reconsider the goal completely. Is it something that you really want to do – where you are fully committed and not just intellectually committed?

Or maybe it’s the start of your business year and you’ve recently set goals for the coming 12 months – it’s worth reviewing these too and finding your why for each of the goals. A bit of an ‘ecology check’ as some might call it

Michael Neill is in his book, ‘you can have what you want’ talks about a client who on a regular basis takes time out with his wife to go check in on the business and personal goals that he’s set for the year; if the goals are no longer relevant he takes them off the list and if they need tweaking he’ll do that too. That way his goals are current, relevant, he is connected to them and motivated to achieve them. Sounds a pretty cool way of working to me!

Clearly there are some activities that are necessary because without them there will be much pain, but then you can perhaps outsource those to someone who really enjoys doing them.

Their ‘why’ for these tasks will be very different to yours!

Until next time …

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