Aaaarg... Charlie Brown said that.

Well maybe not you in particular, but a good majority of those I know have a problem with achieving goals… it doesn’t happen.

Our goals always seem like good ideas when we first get into them, whether it’s getting in shape, finishing your doctorate, or finally completing Fall Out 3 which you’ve been frustrated with for the last year or so.

If they’re easy goals, they get done. But nothing easy is ever worth it so let’s assume these goals require more than just “go to the store and buy a calendar.” By the way, if they’re that easy, they aren’t goals… those are called tasks. Moving on.

There are plenty of reasons why it does not happen. A good reason is time, there isn’t enough time to get things done and move on, but for this article let’s take that excuse out of the equation and suggest we have all the time we need. Let’s also take another, possibly, big reason out which is money, or lack of.

Of course these two points would indeed create a road block for us, but I believe that if you really want something, you’ll figure out a way to get past these two inconveniences.

So now we have plenty of time and money isn’t a problem. We can now dig deeper to what’s stopping some of us from achieving. I have three in particular that pop up time and time again.

HALF-ASSING

This should be a good description already. To half-ass a goal is basically to give half-a-crap about it. From the start, half-assing anything has a high probability of never getting accomplished. I’d like to thank Baby Steps for his part in this as well.

Baby steps are the equivalent of having one foot in the water, testing the temperature, and creating little waves to see what happens. That actually sounds like a logical way to move forward. It’s safer this way. If you fail, you can walk away without anybody being the wiser. But I’d also like to point out that when you take baby steps, you’re also devaluing the significance of the goal.

Is losing twenty-pounds important to you or is it just a good idea? Is saving enough money to take that trip to Fiji a wonderful vacation option or does spending your paid days in your house watching a Numb3rs marathon good enough?

To take baby steps is admitting we’re afraid of something, there’s something stopping us from committing fully to this outcome. We could be comfortable enough to not want to change anything too drastically. But goals that are important require significant change, otherwise it’s just life.

Afraid of failing? So What. Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers, Oprah, Stephen King, and Steven Spielberg have all failed, and look, you’ve probably heard of at least one of them. Think of failing as a result, if you want to change the result, do something different. Perseverance is a good word here; continue doing something, anything, until it works.

Expect that whatever your goals are, it’s going to be hard. This way, you won’t be frustrated when things start going south because you already knew what you were in for. Here’s something I learned from an ex-girlfriend: don’t be a pussy, own that bitch.

Take a deep breath, sprint to the edge of the pool, commit yourself to the jump and see how far you land. Let the others dip their toe in first and complain the water’s too cold, you’ll already be halfway down the pool.

You own this pool.

Oh, and remember to tuck when you cannonball into that water, going in full-assed makes a bigger impact.

MULTI-TASKING

There is no such thing as multi-tasking.

There I said it.

Multi-tasking is like A.D.D., everything seems interesting, none of it’s important. I used to stroke my ego vigorously in being a multi-tasker. The amount of things I could have done in a short time, the efficiency, the pride. Oh, the pride. Truth is, out of those twelve things I was working on simultaneously, only about two or three things I actually completed, and only one of those things mattered.

Multi-tasking runs the risk of being busy for the sake of being busy just so you have a reason to tell people,”Sorry, I’m too busy to talk to you right now.” Unless they’re unbelievably hot, then of course you have all the time in the world.

Multi-tasking lacks focus. When your attention is pulled in several directions there’s more of a chance of something going wrong. This leads to tasks or actions being done poorly or left lingering for the next available chance, if it even gets another chance to be worked on.

The quality also wanes, and since I’m more of a “quality over quantity” productionist (my word), this holds a high priority when I decide to work on something. The quality of your work can stay reasonably high given that you have the time to put that quality in, but since we’re talking about tackling multiple actions simultaneously, the point is to get more done in the same or shorter amount of time it would take to complete one objective. It’s a nice thought, but I’m assuming a lot of us aren’t machines. Oh woest the day when SkyNet takes over.

The One-At-A-Time protocol works here. When one thing is done completely, move on to the next. That’s simple enough isn’t it? Making sure that an objective is completed is ensuring that objective gets completed. That’s redundant, but it works.

And since we’re talking about saving time as well, that’s simply a matter of picking out what’s necessary, or important first. If you have a product launch presentation to work on, you can probably leave out: do laundry, from your selected task list.

STRICT PLANS

Say an idea hits you, you write it down, reverse engineer the outcome, and lay out a plan from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be). What is the probability that you will achieve that outcome using, specifically, those actions that you’ve written down?

Factor in the amount of time you think it will take and keep in mind that the longer a goal takes to complete, the likely the chance of something changing while working on it.

Now how likely is this goal to be achieved? How many variables are there that can ruin this taut plan?

Too many times have I come across those who really want something to happen they go through the trouble of actually writing it down and plotting a course of action, but many of the things that need to get done are dependent on the previous. Let me also take into consideration that those of us who plan meticulously like this tend to be a little stubborn. A one way path coupled with an all-or-nothing mindset will almost always lead to roadblocks.

There is no way we can account for shit just happening, if we could I would make a living being a psychic. My solution to strict plans is to include the “shit happens principle” which is basically a shift in mindset and optionally a “Plan B.” The mindset part works by remembering a simple mantra, “I can handle anything that comes my way.” That may probably be a little too simple since it also means incorporating this into your belief system.

Now I’m not a big fan self-talk (repeating the same thing over and over again will probably never get Jessica Alba to agree to fun time with me), but an affirmation can only work if you have something to back it up like an example in your life where you handled something successfully that just sprang up out of nowhere. My research into affirmations resulted in realizing this stuff can get very complex to the point it can become an art form to talk to yourself. I don’t have the patience for that. The simpler it is, the easier it is to implement, and that’s my thing.

And having an alternative plan is just smart thinking, period.

So there you have it folks. Is there any other big reasons we suck at achieving goals? Type it out down here.

P.S. If you haven’t joined my email club yet, I suggest you do. The main reason being is because I post infrequently because I don’t live on a time clock or a prison and I actually try to enjoy a spontaneous life, so joining lets me notify you when I do post. And yes I know I don’t have anything to offer you guys to entice you to join my email club (working on that though, prepare yourself) we’ll just chalk this up to practicality. Till next time. Now go make shit happen!

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image: Meredith_Farmer