Most people set horrible goals. Because of this, they never even get close to reaching them.
“Lose 10 pounds.”
“Earn $100,000 next year.”
“Spend more time with my family.”
If you set goals like this, you have a 0% chance of accomplishing them.
You won’t do it.
The problem with each of these goals is that they’re too amorphous. There’s no structure. “Lose 10 pounds” sounds great, but it’s so easy to talk yourself out of it. “I can skip the gym today because I didn’t eat much and I’ll do an extra 30 minutes tomorrow.” Sound familiar? “I really need to stay at the office and get this project done, so I’ll just see my kids on Saturday.” Everybody’s done this, because everybody’s made shitty goals at one point or another.
Winners figure it out: you don’t need a goal, you need a system.
“I’m going to the gym from 5:00-6:30 every MWF and Saturday. I’m going to eat a chicken breast with rice and broccoli every weeknight. Anytime I get hungry, I will have a handful of nuts and a stick of gum.” Boom. Done. 10 pounds gone in two months. You’ve now got a plan that you can actually act on instead of some fairytale you keep delaying every time you see a candy dish or drive by a McDonalds.
“I’m going to start freelancing to earn an extra $30k in addition to my salary this year. I’m going to teach X. Week 1, I’m going to create my first set of materials. Week 2, I’m going go canvas my old high school and talk to teachers until I find three clients who will pay me $50 per hour for 2 hours per week.” Boom. After two weeks, you’ll actually be on your way to an extra $30k per year for six hours of work per week.
“Monday, I’m sending out an email that says I will no longer be in the office after 5pm due to family obligations.” Boom. Now you can see your kids every night.
This isn’t rocket science, but it does take work. You actually have to sit down and think about what steps you’re going to take to meet your goal. Sometimes this 30 seconds or so will make you realize you’re not willing to do what it takes to accomplish your goal. Fine, move on to the next one. But for those things you do want to pursue, that 30 seconds of planning will be the most disproportionately beneficial work you’ll do.