Why Do We Fail To Reach Our Goals?

Let’s cut to the chase and Tarantino this one – I believe most people aren’t where they want to be simply because they fail to get started.

It could be for any one of the following reasons:

  1. They are waiting for the right moment. Hint: There isn’t one.
  2. They are too busy. No, you aren’t. You are failing to make it a priority.
  3. It seems too difficult. Rome wasn’t built in one day. Break it down into baby steps.
  4. You are afraid to fail. Oh, the horror, the public shame!

We all know people that have some crazy goal but seemingly never do anything to reach it. You know – that friend who is going to get back their six pack abs, or another that is going to start cooking at home. Then they eat out every day and continue to carry that keg around with them.

We all know someone like that and hopefully, that person is not you. If it is, here is the best piece of advice that I’ve heard:

Just get started.

No if’s, and’s, or butt’s (Yep, I’m a child at heart :D) and just take that first step. Who cares if you fail at first? Who cares what you look like? If you don’t just start the damn thing, YOU are going to be in the same situation tomorrow, the next day, the next day, and beyond.

Let’s address the above reasons in more detail and show you why these are simply excuses –

1. You are waiting for the right moment.

Sadly, the perfect time to do something has already passed. This is why it is important to start as soon as you can. The stars rarely align if you aren’t moving towards a goal. What you will find over time is that you are taking consistent action each day is that the stars align fairly often.

Secondly, if you aren’t playing in the game then you probably aren’t learning. Take real estate investing for instance. You can’t know if an investment will work out unless you pursue it. (Don’t act recklessly here, do your due diligence)

I spent over two years learning, contemplating, saving and speculating about it, but you really won’t learn unless you get your hands dirty. You learn so much more when you are in the game. It will help you identify those right moments.

2. You are too busy.

If you are too busy to pursue something, then one of two things need to happen:

A. You need to decide if your new priority is more important than a current priority. If your goal is to get out of debt, is it more important that you get drunk at a bar every weekend, or that you save that money to pay off your loans?

B. You need to make time. Look, we all have things going on in our lives. Sometimes you need to say no. More often than not you need to stop watching television and get shit done.

3. It seems too difficult.

There is a reason that social media managers start at $30,000 a year and brain surgeons start at $400,000+. Occupations that are difficult generally pay more. Why? Because fewer people want to or can do them. If you want to make some money in life, do the things that others don’t want to do. That, or solve their issue for them.

  • Lyft and Uber solved a need for cheaper taxis.
  • Facebook solved a need for better online social interaction than Myspace.
  • Airbnb solved the need for hotels without monster fees attached.

4. You are afraid to fail.

Complacency might be one of the most dangerous things out there. If you aren’t consistently learning, trying out new things, or pushing your limits, others will catch up to you. They might pass you. You might end up old and crotchety. Remember that someone out there is hungrier for success than you are. Keep up or it is almost guaranteed that you will be left behind.

To keep up, you need to learn. It really doesn’t matter what you are learning. It takes more than one try to get things, usually. That is why practice matters. Start practicing and stop being afraid to fail. (Fun fact – Studies also show that people are more satisfied with being successful in a difficult craft such as woodworking as their skill grows in time.)

We live in a culture that shames failure, yet failure is what made successful people who they are today. In many situations, failure is a good thing. Do you think that a business tycoon you respect always got it right? Doubtful.

Mark Cuban failed at carpentry and couldn’t open a bottle of wine properly to save his life. Yet he is worth billions of dollars today. He failed and made it. Failing is like building muscle. At first, it is difficult to lift a certain amount of weight, but over time you can achieve it if you keep pushing the limits. Mark may have failed at first, but he eventually succeeded. BIG TIME.

Once you realize that the above scenarios are no excuse to get started, you can actually achieve what you set out to do. If you don’t do anything, you will fail. If you try to wait for the right moment it won’t come. You have to get out there and find it.

If you take a step each day and want it bad enough, you will reach your goal in time. What time? Who knows and who cares? You aren’t there yet. You are still in square one ensuring that you are actually taking a step today.

I’ll leave you with a goal that I tried about 4 years ago, did for six months, gave up, and started again 1 year ago. I wanted to do 20 push-ups per day.  You only burn some minute number of calories doing the exercise, something like 7-10 calories. Sure, over time that does add up. (10 calories each day for a year = 3,650calories. Turns out that is near the caloric equivalent of 1lb of fat, who knew?)

It’s a rather silly goal, but it’s a very attainable thing to pursue. The point is not to do the 20 push-ups. The point is that you start a simple goal and over time much like you work out your triceps and chest with the exercise, you work out your muscles to commit to a goal and daily task. Next, you might try to run each day, write each day, floss each day, anything.

Suddenly each one of those is easier – so you tackle learning the guitar, speaking another language, or working on a business. You’ll find that success becomes attracted to you.

It is not that hard to get started, you just have to actually do it. What’s your goal and why haven’t you started?

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