You have an intention. There’s something you really want to achieve in your life, possibly several things, and no matter how hard you try you’re just not able to make it happen. It’s frustrating beyond measure. Eventually, feeling destitute and deflated, you trade in your ambitions and dreams for the ordinary and mundane.
But what if you had a way of figuring out what it is that’s preventing you from having what you want so you could be free of it and make a quantum leap forward? Would you do it? Would you do whatever it takes to go after—and get—the thing you truly desire?
Be Prepared to Sacrifice
What many people don’t realise is that there’s much more to goal-setting than simply declaring that you want to bring in six figures by the end of the year or that you want to lose 20 pounds before summer. There is a formula for setting goals! While there’s nothing complicated about it, people often underestimate what kind of sacrifices will need to be made in order to achieve their goal. Yes, sacrifices.
Anytime you set a meaningful goal—one that is connected up to a larger purpose or vision—you will inevitably need to change the way you’re doing things. This is where most people lose their way. You say you want change and yet you’re not comfortable with the challenges you encounter on the path. Many people lead with realistic “reasons” for why it’s just not in the cards for them. “Reasons” is a nice word for what are actually “excuses”—the elephant in the room.
Say “No” to Excuses
Baggage is the number one reason that you get lost on the path to achieving your goals. Baggage consists of unrealistic negative emotions (anger, sadness, fear, guilt, etc.), limiting beliefs, and incongruent values. Essentially, excuses are baggage. The reason you need to get out from beneath them is because they hold you back from being the person you’re meant to be. They prevent you from doing what you long to do—and are passionate about doing. They are what keep you from having the things (a career you love, financial abundance, a good relationship) you deserve to have.
Start with Goals, Push Past Excuses
Goal-setting is the number one habit successful people follow. When you set goals, you’re declaring to the world that you’re a take-action person; the type of life you’re choosing to create for yourself is purpose-based and meaningful. Successful people take responsibility for the life they are living now and the life they intend to be living in the future.
None of this is easy, but it is necessary. Anything less than taking action—maintaining your focus and momentum while taking responsibility for the results you’re getting (or not getting)—simply will not get you to where you want to be. At times the path is smooth, easy, and fun and at other times it’s rocky, uncomfortable, and exhausting. The joy of achieving what was once only a dream would not be as much a cause for celebration if it didn’t require your blood, sweat, and tears. Things that are handed to you rarely hold the same value as things you’ve had to work to earn.
When the going gets tough, the excuses come floating in. If you can learn to recognise them for what they are, you’ll be much better equipped to call yourself out and keep moving forward.
The following are 10 common excuses for why you may not be reaching your goals and what to do when you’re confronted by them.
1. There Isn’t Enough Time
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day that you do. How you choose to spend that time is the issue. Remember, when you set a meaningful goal you’re going to have to sacrifice time somewhere in your day. It’s up to you do decide how to reallocate your activities to create the time you need to work toward your goal.
2. I Don’t Have the Money
There are two things to consider here.
- You may have the money but don’t feel that allocating the funds needed to achieve “the thing” is a good use of it.
- Or you may need to set a goal to bring in more money to support you on the path of achieving your bigger goal.
3. I’m Too Tired
If this is truly an issue for you, now may be a good time to look at where you’re focusing your energy and decide if what you are putting out is equal to what you are getting back. A rearrangement of priorities may be needed. Fatigue can also be caused by unresolved negative emotions and limiting beliefs around what you are (or aren’t) capable of achieving. (If you feel it’s the latter, see excuse nine.)
4. I’m Stuck and/or Unmotivated
It’s likely that you’re not able to get going because your goal isn’t tied to a bigger vision--one that is full of meaning and purpose for you. Take some time to think about your aim. Where do you want to be in one year or three years? Set your goals based on where you are heading. When your goal is connected to your vision, it will help to light the proverbial fire.
5. I Don’t Know Where to Begin
This is to be expected, especially if you’ve never done what you’re trying to accomplish. Two things you can do in this case.
- Find someone who has done “it” and model what he or she did. Meaning, replicate that individual’s approach and, quite literally, do what he or she did.
- Another option is to work with a successful coach who can help you get clear on what you want and guide you in getting there.
6. I Don’t Have Support
Your environment and the people in it have a huge influence on you. If you’re surrounded by nay-sayers or people who are trying to pull you down, it may be time to reconsider who you’re surrounding yourself with. It’s said that the five people you spend the most time with are those whose qualities, characteristics, and behaviours you will adopt. Surround yourself with positive, successful people—even if that means finding an online community or a group of people outside your home with common interests.
7. I Have No Idea What I Want
Not to worry! This is normal if you haven’t spent much time considering what is important to you and how you can go about getting it. It’s possible you haven’t yet found your purpose. This is relatively simple to resolve or, at the very least, get the ball rolling in the right direction for you. It starts with identifying what is important to you in each area of your life. Once you know what is important, your path will become visible.
8. I Have Baggage
You may not hear the excuse in your mind quite like “I have baggage,” but it may sound something like this: “I’m not good enough for,” “I’m not smart enough to,” or “I don’t have what it takes to.” Alternatively, you may have overwhelming fear that prevents you from taking the next step or a deep sadness because of your belief that “It’s not in the cards for me.” Baggage is real, but you can offload it. To change, follow this path: release the baggage, have a direction, take action, and stay focused.
9. I Am Too Easily Sidetracked
Time management is an integral piece of managing everyday living while working toward your goals. Multitasking is not your friend. A good rule of thumb is to pick a certain time of day—and make it the same time every day—where you focus solely on the action steps you need to take. If you’re being derailed by other people, it could be that you need to set and enforce boundaries.
10. What Goals?
Don’t be ashamed if you’ve never been a goal-setter. Start now by getting clear on how you want to live. Then set your goal(s) accordingly and take action every single day toward achieving them.
One last thing worth mentioning: be sure your goals are realistic. If they’re not, you’re setting yourself up for failure. In this case, the excuses are probably legitimate reasons why you’ve not been able to achieve them.
Ready? Decide what is important to you. Set your goals. Examine and vanquish your excuses. Now, go forth and conquer!