Boring is best

Why We Never Achieve Our Goals (And What to Do About It)

Habits. Goals. Persistence. Tenacity. Drive. Aspiration. Those words sound exhausting, don’t they? How the heck do people muster the energy to achieve such great things? That is an excellent question, and one that I still seek the answer to on occasion. We all have our ‘bucket list’ or shortlist of fun things we would like to do sooner rather than later. The big question is – Why is it so hard to make those things a reality? Some say it’s a matter of finance. Others, a matter of time. And still others argue that it’s just not important enough. Maybe it’s a mixture of all those varying elements.

In any case, I would argue that with a high enough desire to make something happen, it can be accomplished. Let’s take a quick look at those aforementioned elements that some very motivated people call ‘excuses’. Finance, time, and importance.

Let’s begin with my favorite – finance! For years (and presently) I have hated numbers. Math and accounting were my arch enemies throughout school, and don’t get me started on statistics. My brain was just not built for the manipulation and understanding of numbers. Basic algebra is about as far as I can comprehend reasonably well (which, quite frankly, is more than enough to get most of us by just fine I would argue). Many of us love the phrase ‘I don’t have enough money.’ As true as that may be in the moment, I would make the point that we geeks are nothing if not creative problem solvers. We solve puzzles, decipher codes, and find a way to beat the odds frequently in the games we play all the time! Why not apply those skills to the game of life? Different rules, same principles. ‘How can I save more/make more? What am I spending money on that I don’t need? Why I am I spending it on that?’ These are a few questions to start with.

Moving right along to time. Time is the one resource everyone gets the same amount of. Father Time doesn’t care if you’re more wealthy than god or the poorest person on the face of the Earth. We all get twenty-four hours in a day and seven days in a week – non-negotiable. What we choose to do with our time is just that, a choice, and one we have a lot more control over than we like to think. Yes, we all have to work to a certain extent in order to pay for the things that we want and need. However, and here come the questions again, are we spending our time wisely? I’m not saying we need to allocate every waking moment to an activity that is considered ‘effective’ or ‘productive’, but if we spent one more moment a week doing something to better our situation, that adds up over time. Time waits for no one, but should we be waiting for time? Heck no! Make the time if something is important enough to you. Which leads right into the last element – importance.

If nothing else, we are in full control of what we consider important. Society’s rules be damned! What we call ‘society’ has its own agenda and, frankly, it doesn’t give a hoot about what we want. We need to hold our ground more often when it comes to what is important to us. Yes, we all have drastically different circumstances. That doesn’t mean we need to be prisoners to the wills of others. Importance is a hard one to justify to bosses, elders, lawmakers, etc., because they all have their own collection of things that are important. Finding a way to get what you need to be a moderately happy human shouldn’t be one of force or anger (unless you really want the proverbial hammer to drop for some reason), but again one of creative problem solving. How can you have your cake and eat it too? Sometimes it’s as simple as asking. Others, it’s a matter of negotiation (another word people seem to fear). Either way, the path to what makes you smile may be simpler than you think – but you have to willing to try.

In closing, my opinion about goals and habits is that there is a lot to gain by having them. A perfect example is brushing your teeth. An investment of less than five minutes a day means that we keep the ability to chew the food that we love! Above that we have all the health benefits of not getting weird mouth diseases and sicknesses that in extreme cases can kill us. Just because we have a goal in mind, does not mean we need to have these flowery, elaborate plans and mechanisms to get there. In some cases ‘boring is best’, as Ryan Reynolds says in Hitman’s Bodyguard. Do small, simple things as often as you need to in order to make things happen and before you know it, they will! No master’s degree in underwater basket weaving required.

It’s things like these that I love helping people with.

Posted by Curious

He is the crazy mastermind behind coaching/consulting practice Protagonist and serves as lead Valor Consultant. With his sharp mind, specialized training, and deep empathy, he guides others toward what they really want out of their business . . . and has fun with them along the way. Life should be fun, after all! Curious is also a serial entrepreneur who centers his projects on bettering the lives of others.

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