The Difference: Achieving Your Goals vs. Failure

by RJ

in Psychology

Let me know if the path I was on sounds familiar.

I would set a big goal. Typically, sparked by something I read. For a few days, I had all the motivation in the world.

Around day five, negative thoughts start to creep in. Thoughts such as, this is too hard, why am I doing this, etc…

For a few more days, I might have enough motivation left to carry me through completing the task. Although, the quality has diminished.

It’s now day ten. I can’t stand to continue. I end up quitting and going to watch a Seinfeld.

My Example

Last year, my goal was to write an eHow article a day. For the first few days, I had no problem. The dreams of passive income were fresh.

But then, the typical negative thoughts crept in… This is stupid idea. Why am I giving away my content? My time is better spent elsewhere…

Again, I put out some poor work for a few more days. Finally, calling it quits around day ten.

The Pattern

The first time this happened, I thought quitting was a good idea. I thought it was the right thing to do. I would say to myself, “This wasn’t a great goal anyways.”

But it happened again. Then, again.

Either, I was setting horrible goals or I had a problem following through.

I would have loved to tell you it was the former, but I would have been lying to myself. I didn’t have a problem setting goals; I had a problem doing the work.

What’s been Working

I stopped looking at every goal as a success or failure. I started looking at my previous goals as results.

I wanted to learn everything I could from each result. What worked? What didn’t work? How long did I last?

Through trial and error, I was able to finely tune a goal-setting system that worked for me. At the end of each day, I ask myself two questions:

  1. Was I better today than I was yesterday?
  2. What can I do to make tomorrow better?

I spend one minute per question. At the end of a minute, I have an action on my To-Do list for the following day.

That’s it.

A Homework Assignment

What are the big things in life you want to accomplish? Make a list of the top 5 to 10 things you want to see happen.

Don’t worry about setting SMART goals or using a particular type of goal setting system. The idea is to write down what you really want to accomplish. What excites you. You don’t need an elaborate system for that.

Now, set aside 2-minutes either in the morning or at night to ask yourself (you have to change the wording around, depending on what time of the day you do this):

  1. Was I better today than I was yesterday?
  2. What can I do to make tomorrow better?

Starting Small

Start small. I mean really small.

If you want to improve your career, set a goal of making one new connection today. To improve your finances, set a goal of saving just 1% of your income.

Concentrate on improving day by day. It won’t be long before you see yourself achieving the things, you have always wanted to achieve.


Photo by: Ewiemann

Related Posts on Gen Y Wealth

{ 1 comment }

Briana @ GBRNo Gravatar October 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

This is a great idea. I think we focus on SMART goals so much we don’t really take the time to come up with action plans for them. I’m going to implement this into the categories of my 5 year plan, and hopefully it makes the outlook a little brighter :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: