Forget About Focusing on GOALS this Year!

The verdict is in. Goals can be super depressing!

While having a visit with a friend of mine who wants to lose a few pounds, she mentioned how every time she loses some weight, she feels “disgusted and upset” with herself.  You would think that she should feel awesome that she is losing weight, since that’s what she wants to do, but NO! When she loses 5 pounds she is frustrated that she ever let herself get SO out of shape in the first place.

She explained to me that she doesn’t feel happy until she actually REACHES the goal that she set for herself. Turns out, this is a common feeling for a LOT of people!

The purpose of setting goals is to give you something to work towards, right?

You need to have direction or you will be like a ship without a rudder, going through life on autopilot. But, if we are miserable and beating ourselves up all the way to each goal, then that’s a depressing way to spend your precious time on this earth!

To make matters worse, when you DO reach your goals, how long do you actually celebrate and congratulate yourself for a job well done?For most people, not long – if at all! You might feel amazing for a few days, and then will quickly be thinking of the NEXT goal you wish to achieve! The ‘goal posts’ keep getting moved. And so continues the drudgery and struggle through life.

It’s time to change things up a bit!

Having a purpose and direction and goals to work towards are all important. However, the focus needs to be shifted… away for the end goal as being the only objective…to celebrating each and every day that you DID something that moved you closer to your goal! In that way you will be focusing on the “Systems” instead of just the Goal!

Scott Adams discusses this in his book How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big. He says, “If you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals. The Goals-People are fighting the feeling of (struggle and) discouragement at each turn. The Systems-People are feeling good every time they apply their system.”

Jim Rohn said, “The formula for success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day!”

What is your goal?

What ‘system’ will get you to your goal? Write it out, and then DO something!

Do something every day that will bring you closer to achieving your goal.

Successful people differ from unsuccessful people, not that they have super powers that make them successful, but rather that they DO the things they know they need to do, whether they feel like it or not.

One of my all-time favorite tips is from behavior specialist B.J. Fogg, PhD, and Founder of Tiny Habits.

The most important thing to consider in creating a ‘habit’ is to DO the thing on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you do it as long or as hard as you intended to do it. The intensity or durations is not as important as the consistency.

For example, if your goal is to start flossing your teeth, instead of saying, “I’m going to floss my teeth every night before bed,” take a tiny baby step and say to yourself, “I am going to floss ONE tooth!”

And then just floss ONE tooth.

This will seem silly, and even funny, but it works! You are making it EASY to be successful, instead of making it easy to fail (if you forget to floss all of your teeth, or don’t feel like it one day you’ve failed). With the “Tiny Habits” methodology, you only need to floss ONE tooth and you will feel successful.

What most often happens is that, once you get the floss out and floss one tooth, you will continue on and do the rest. But, even if you didn’t feel you had the time, or were too tired, as long as you flossed ONE tooth, you would be successful.

The same goes for exercising. If your goal is to walk every day, then it is guaranteed that some days you might not feel like walking at ALL. So, just say to yourself that you will get out there and walk for only 5 minutes, and that way you still did your walk for the day.  Once you have your runners on, you just MIGHT keep going for 20 minutes (or even more), but you only need to walk for 5 to be successful!

Jerry Seinfeld uses a year at a glance calendar as part of his ‘System’ for goal achievement. Whenever he wrote new material during a day, he would mark a big red “X” over that day on his calendar. Those big red “X”s were rewarding for him to look at, and they inspired him to keep writing every single day and “Never Break the Chain”.

Forget about focusing on just your “Goals” this year. Instead, focus on your Success “Systems” – the DAILY steps that will get you where you want to go.

  • Take baby steps.
  • Just floss ONE tooth.
  • Celebrate your daily wins.
  • And “Never Break the Chain.”
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