Why you keep falling short of your goals

By: Chi Bang

I initially composed this article for the new year.  However, it seems even more relevant now post New Years Resolutions – enjoy the read!

As we enter 2019, we can make lofty goals and try to use the momentum curated by our social media channels (there will be chock loads of platitudes and motivational quotes and videos) to power our attempt to defy the odds AGAIN. What we really should be doing is taking a look back at the history of ourselves. If you’ve nailed every goal of yours year after year, great job and I’d love to hear more on your strategies behind your habit of success. If you have failed time and time again, what you should be doing is pulling out the microscope and carefully examining your experiences and why you fell short.

The problem is your goals

Why do you keep failing and not attaining the results you seek?  The answer is HABIT.

You have not been defeated until you have accepted this failed attempt as a reality as Bruce Lee states. If you have failed at reaching your goals in the past, you have taught yourself that failure is okay. I know that we all will face failure at some point in our lives but we do not have to be defeated by it.

Defeat occurs when we fail and give up and cease to continue attempting our goals. These failures are pure gold. We can learn from these failures and treat them as lessons and not make the same mistakes again in the future. When we give up on unattained goals and just pick up a new one, are we really learning anything new? What we are doing is depriving ourselves of the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to be truly honest about our personal issues, our triggers and most importantly, our why.

If we keep stopping each time things don’t go exactly as planned or becomes difficult, we are making a habit of quitting before we achieve success.  After years of doing this, we will be left with suitcases filled with unfinished business and broken dreams, ready to embark on the express train to Fail City (not sure if that is a real place but doesn’t sound like a place anyone wants to be).  

Are you starting to see the problem yet? We are creating a cyclical pattern of giving up when faced with adversity which lead to our habitual acceptance of this as a norm.

If you want it bad enough, time is on your side.

“Oh it’s going to take forever so why bother?”

This is a typical response I hear when people aren’t really committed to their self-assigned goals. No matter how big or small any of your resolutions or goals may be, if they don’t mean anything to you, chances are high that failure lies ahead.

On the flip side, if it means the world to you that you complete your resolution, I am sure you will attack this task with great fortitude and conviction. When faced with the opportunity to throw in the towel, our “why” will not allow us to give in when we really really want it. I’ve worked with clients who have surpassed goals by margins they could never have imagined.  I had a client whose goal (wasn’t even a new year’s resolution) was to drop 60 pounds in a year. He was a high school student who had been bullied because of his weight. There was his why: to take away ammunition from his bullies.  He was on a mission and did everything exactly to plan.

There were a few hiccups along the way, but he jumped right back on that horse and by the end of a year, he had exceeded and smashed his goal of 60 pounds of weight loss.  He lost 100 pounds! Had he tried to lose the weight before unsuccessfully? Absolutely, but if he stopped when he failed the first time, he never would have had the opportunity to see it through when we worked together.

The greatest part about this story is that unlike most people who experience extreme weight loss, he was able to keep it off for the rest of his life.  I have seen a photo of him recently (well over a decade later), he still looks great and never put the weight back on. His goal was a lifelong one and it meant the world to him to achieve it.  He’s battled it and came out victorious, not because he never failed, but because he refused to quit until that goal was his. He created the habit of relentless pursuit of success. That is the real secret to success.

To respond to the question of it taking forever, I say this, “If you don’t pursue your goal, in 10 years or however long you think it will take, you will still never (insert your goal here).  

Next time you are writing down your NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, think carefully to yourself and be honest. I’m all for trying something new, but is there any unfinished business that you can tackle and really nail it?  Why not start creating a the habit of success and keep getting after that goal until you have attained it. So what if it takes you a decade, why should this stop you?  If you want it badly enough, why does time matter? If you don’t keep after it, guess what? In a decade, you still will not have completed your goal. But if you do keep pursuing it, in a decade you will have at least come that much closer or succeeded.

Ask yourself, does success have a time limit? For me, the most fulfilling goals are the ones I’ve had to work the hardest to achieve. From those lessons I’ve learned that if I put my mind to something and never take my foot off the gas, I will eventually get there.  So here’s to 2019 and to a year filled with success for us all. It’s yours if you want it bad enough.