How to get better at achieving your goals

Happy New Year!

It’s gotten to a point where many people shun new years resolutions (goals, plans, intentions etc.). They assume they won’t last so don’t see the point in bothering.

A common example of a new years resolution is to lose weight.

After indulging in an abundance of rich and unhealthy food over the festive period a large amount of people rush to the gym in January hoping to losing weight. However, I think the reason this tends to fail time and time again is because it actually works a little better when the focus is on the action instead of the outcome.

What if your new years resolution was to create a weekly exercise routine that you enjoy and then stick to it?

As much as it is important to have a clear goal, if you’re more focused on the end result than what is required to achieve it, you’ll probably end up giving up.

We often unknowingly run from doing the work that is required because we’re more focused on thinking about what we want than carrying out the actions to get us there.

Focusing on the action tends to result in habit building. Once these habits are ingrained into your routine they eventually become part of your everyday life which makes reaching the goal much easier.

No instructions, no outcome, just play

Sometimes there is this child-like sense of curiosity or this feeling that you probably had as a child when you just wanted to play.

It’s things like reading a story, having paper and pens to create whatever you like or even a bunch of building blocks. There’s no instructions or a specified outcome that you need to meet and you have nothing to prove.

Once you’re done you can just move on to something else, the outcome doesn’t even really matter. At that age you’re just creating, using your mind and being free. In hindsight you might notice certain things you were good at or enjoyed more but in the moment that wasn’t a priority.

As an adult we’re often focused on the outcome, how good we are (often in comparison to others) and how much money we can make. At times, so much emphasis is put on making money that we’re made to feel like what we do is pointless, worthless and a waste of time if it generates no income.

Perfect timing

Sometimes with little to no effort things work out perfectly. You know those moments where you think I couldn’t have planned this any better than exactly how it’s worked it. I think these moments are even better when they’ve come as a result of you letting go and not putting so much pressure on how things work out.

I feel like perfect timing happens on accident, it just happens. If you spend ages planning and trying to force things to turn out a certain way, the outcome might be great but it was the result of your hard work.

On the flipside when things just happen to turn out perfectly it can serve as a reminder that you don’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone in order for things to turn out wonderfully.

What happens when things don’t go as planned?

I think that many people would like to think that they are open to change.

Whether or not this is true can be easily tested. See how they react to things not going how they wanted.

It turns out many of us are actually only open to change within the parameters of getting some version of what we want.

We think this way because we think that we know what the best outcome is. To be open to anything else is the equivalent of wanting bad for yourself.

And that is okay, it’s rare that a person wants things to turn out badly.

But if you shift your mindset, things not going as planned can just be unexpected or challenging situations for you to work through, they don’t need to be bad or even good.

When you do this it makes it much easier to manage when things don’t go to plan.

Do less

Sometimes in life when you want things to pan out a certain way you end up putting in a grand effort hoping to increase your chances of an ideal outcome.

In some cases this might work but in other cases it doesn’t. And when things don’t work out you might find yourself frustrated wondering what you did wrong and what you should have done differently.

The answer is often much simpler than we anticipate. You don’t need to work yourself to the bone, having life turn out the way you want doesn’t require hard energy draining labour. Often all you need to do is set things up and allow them to fall into place.

Outcome based actions

If you want someone to trust you then getting angry when they try to open up won’t help.

It is so important that what you do reflects the way you want things to turn out, otherwise what’s the point?

You can’t just go around doing whatever you want and expecting or hoping that everything will turn out your way.

You have to ensure that your actions are in line with your desired outcome. But you also have to remember that sometimes things just won’t quite turn out the way you want them to.

Failed expectations

Sometimes the way you envision things in your mind isn’t quite the way they pan out in real life.

It can be difficult to accept when things don’t turn out the way you expected them to. But this only really happens when reality fails your expectations. On the flipside when you’re expectations are surpassed you’re happy, you don’t question it.

The reason failed expectations bother us so much is because we allowed ourselves to get excited at the thought of something we want to happen. Then, when reality falls short we’re now disappointed because we know how things could have panned out and things could have turned out much better.

Expecting the worst

Sometimes you might find yourself expecting the worst.

You have this whole worst case scenario prepared in your mind that you don’t even hold space for something good to happen.

And so you then avoid the thing that you think will turn out badly until you can avoid it no more.

But more often than not, things turn out better than you think.

The most likely scenario

When it comes to getting swept up in the future it’s easy to get caught up in the worst case scenario. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the ideal scenario.

However, more often than not neither of them come true.

The outcome ends up being what I’d call the most likely scenario, something fairly ordinary. It could be good but not great or alright instead of terrible.

But there’s nothing wrong with that sort of outcome, infact most choices or actions that make up our days have those kinds of ‘normal’ outcomes.

And so I think the reason that we’re so drawn to getting swept up in the extremes of the worst case and the ideal is because we unknowingly enjoy it.