I will answer that question in a bit. First, let’s take a look at the numbers. Research consistently shows 90% or more of people do not achieve their goals, and therefore do not experience success. Although this is a shocking number, it is easy to understand why. It has to do with our brains and how we are built as human beings.
Over the years, I've had thousands of coaching conversations with people from all walks of life and businesses. I would ask, “Tell me about your goals or what would your goal be for X?” Almost within seconds, they would say, “I want to sell X or I want to earn X.” The action of setting a goal comes so naturally for most. Goal setting is the easy part.
In most cases to achieve a goal, one must take a different action and change something they are doing right now. This is where the process begins to break down. Human beings do not naturally embrace change. In fact, they fight it. Even though logically they realize it means they likely will not achieve the goal. Let me give you an example. I am sure I'm not the only person that has ever done this.
You see it and don't believe it
You are driving down a road that you have driven down thousands of times, and you see a “ROAD CLOSED” sign. As you look beyond the road-closed sign, you don’t see any construction equipment or workers. It appears no pavement has been disturbed. So one’s initial thought is, “No, that road is not closed." You then decide to drive beyond the road-closed sign only to discover the road is truly closed beyond the signs. This is an example of fighting change even when clearly we must change in order to move forward. After all, someone didn’t just decide they had an extra road closed sign hanging around in their garage. They didn't think it would be cool to drop one right there to force you to go a different direction.
Here is my point, once we set a new goal, we must now do something different. Something we are not currently doing, which will likely be uncomfortable. In fact, just the thought of having to take the action will many times push our brain into a protective or shutdown mode. Now it becomes a whole different conversation about the goal we just set. Think about it, within minutes we went from excitement about the new goal we set, to fear about what it will now take to achieve the goal.
So, how do we fix this? As a coach, my job is to get our clients focused on the most important step in the process, FIRST! Focusing on the benefits and impact of achieving the goal is critical. What do we get to do, experience, or give because we succeeded? There is also an impact on others around us, whether that is our immediate family, friends, community, coworkers, etc. Goal achievement has impacts far and wide. Then by correlation, when we do not achieve goals, the impacts are far and wide.
So, let's put a ribbon on this. When you set a goal, don’t focus on what it is going to take to make it happen. Focus on what will achieving that goal do for you and others around you. Why would that be important to you? How would that make you feel? Why is that feeling important to you? How would achieving the goal make others feel and what would that do for them?