80 percent of people fail to achieve their goals. Shocking, right? Are they setting the bar too high? It turns out the reason is much more basic. Although most claim to understand the importance of goal setting, but in fact, approximately 80% of people never actually set goals for themselves.
It’s time to ask yourself, Is your dream really all that out of reach? In my line of work, I regularly meet talented people who don’t fully realize their potential. They set their own limitations. They’ve convinced themselves they can’t get that promotion, earn that salary, write that book, qualify for that job to the point that they don’t even try.
What is this mindset that keeps us from reaching our goals? My experience and research points to 3 key reasons:
1. We focus on our flaws. We all do. No matter how happy, loved or successful someone appears to be, there is no such thing as perfect.
Even people who seem to be living a dream life struggle with this. Why? Blame in on the lizard brain.
Yes, it’s true. The human brain is hard-wired with primitive survival instincts designed to keep us safe in unstable conditions. Meaning we all have our triggers; no one behaves perfectly 100% of the time. We all do, say and think things we’re secretly ashamed of now and then.
The lizard brain, or brain stem is critical to our survival even in modern times, but the emotions it stirs are hard to control and not always logical. It’s embarrassing to be scrolling through Facebook, see your best friend on a Caribbean cruise with her new beau. As you’re rushing to make dinner with your kids fighting in the background, you find yourself feeling pissed off instead of overwhelmingly happy for her. But it happens, and when it does we feel like there must be something wrong with us.
Personally, I have spent years working on cultivating healthier reactions to my emotions, and at the end of the day, I find is safer to avoid Facebook.
The bottom line is, no matter hard we try, we can’t eliminate our biologically-driven unpleasant emotions.
We can however, choose to recognize them for what they are, normal, instead of assuming we’ll embarrass ourselves and avoiding situations that push us out of our comfort zones.
2. We view failure as an end-game, not a course correct. According to Psychology Today, If you try to make a change and fail, you’ve proven one of the sturdiest truths of behavior change: Failing at least once is part of the process, and it’s probably going to be more than once.
Failing reveals more to you about what deserves your attention and energy in the next round (and the next). The time-tested change process models all factor in failure as part of the process, and encourage those who would change to see failing as a step, not as the end of the process or an excuse to stop trying.
3. Our beliefs about ourselves are colored by our past. Again, this is true of every person on the planet. Experience is our continual teacher from the get-go. Whether or not we remember the lessons, we accumulate that knowledge in our subconscious. There it sits, until the right situation arises. Then it signals us to behave in the way we learned to from past experience. The problem is, these deep seated learnings that seem so sure of themselves often used outdated information.
We may have learned as a kid that sharing our accomplishments with other people is bragging, and it pushes them away from us.
And since the vast majority of our behavior stems from that place, we often don’t question the beliefs that keep us from leaving our comfort zone.
The key then to overcome all of these roadblocks is through examining your hidden beliefs. Next time you hear yourself saying some version of “I can’t, because I don’t have enough (time, money, experience, courage, sexiness”) whatever your version sounds like, stop. Now, ask yourself:
- Is this really true?
- How important are my needs?
- Do I deserve to prioritize my goals?
- What am I truly capable of?
Don’t be among the 80% who never reach their potential. Now that you know how to get past those roadblocks don’t wait, create your goal setting plan today!