The importance of goal setting is obvious for many of us, Yet, we create goals and resolutions that will never bear any fruit. Many people sign up for classes but will never complete them. The gym membership rate is way higher than participation. Usually, by mid-January of each year, most resolutions are forgotten and we are back to our old ways. We get frustrated and upset at ourselves for missing a couple of workouts or classes, then “boom”; we give up.

Then we get disappointed in ourselves, our confidence level drops, and the downward spiral of negative emotions kick in. The question is: Why does this happen and how can we get ourselves to continue moving toward what we want?

1. Why do we fail to pursue our goals?

The truth of the matter is that if we dissect things case by case and look at them from different angles, we will see that many factors are playing behind the scenes that prevent us from pursuing our goals. But generally speaking, One of the factors that is common in many of these failed pursuits of goal, is that we miss one crucial step in goal setting.

If you know me well, you know how much I believe in goals. I want to know where I’m going before I jump in. But that’s not the whole story. If we just set a goal that is not well planned then we will not get there.

Every goal needs an action plan.

2. Why do we need planning?

If we just set a resolution for ourselves but miss to create a specific action plan to accomplish that goal, then we can easily assume that goal will never be achieved.

Having to action-plan is like you want to build a house by just going with your gut feelings and stacking lumbers and bricks, hoping it will turn out to be a decent house. When we think of building a structure, we immediately know that without a proper plan and calculations, that project will fail and we can even imagine the disasters that could potentially await us, Yet we don’t think of our life goals that same way. And THAT is causing us to fail.

Without a plan, your goals remain wishes only. It’s like having a destination in mind and jumping on the road without a map.

Your goals tell you where you want to go in life, and your plan tells you how to get there.

3. What to do before we jump in?

Pause for a second and ask yourself “why”.

I find that as we grow older and get more neck-deep into our rushed lives, we try to squeeze and shove as many goals as we can into our days that we forget to ask ourselves why we want the thing that we are going after.

Is it truly what WE want? How will that goal affect our lives now or in the future? Will achieving that goal make us feel any better?

4. How to go about planning?

To start your planning, gather a list of all the big steps that are between you and your destination. After you have all the necessary steps, then note down the timing that each activity has to happen so that you to get to your future goal on time. Are there any deadlines, or time-specific events that you don’t want to miss? Account for those as well.

These may include activities done over a series of days, weeks, months, or even years depending on the type of goal you set for yourself. Once you have a chronological list, then start putting that on your calendar, with reminders. You are set.

A side note that long-term goals require a slightly different approach than the short-time targets, however, this concept applies to both.

5. Should it be planned to a tee?

Not at all.

Remember that your initial plan does not have to be completely perfect the first time you are putting it together. Usually, you will find that your first attempt at creating an action plan will be more of a draft version. Don’t worry, this is the way planning works.

Once your draft version is in place, then it’s time to ask yourself some meaningful & specific questions. Questions that will help you narrow down the exact actions that you need to take or the obstacle you should avoid before you embark on your journey.

Don’t forget to add some wiggle room for every deadline. Your action plans should be flexible enough for them to be realistic because there will always be some elements outside your control as you move towards completing your primary goal.

6. What to do when sh*t happens?

The thing is: Doesn’t matter how elaborate your plan is, life can happen every step of the way. (You know what I mean If you have been living on this earth long enough!)

When life gives you lemons and you are not feeling like moving on with your plan, go back to the answers to those important questions in the pre-planning stage. Take power and encouragement from your own answers. Visualize yourself at the end of your journey to stay motivated.

Be prepared to adjust your plan if need be. This can involve changing your whole action plan or even rethinking your goals. Doesn’t matter what it takes, if your goals are worth your efforts, then they are worth the change of plans.

Did you know that you can get to the bottom of what is actually holding you back from achieving a specific goal, by talking to your coach? I know it because I am a coach myself. Certified coaches get trained to ask the right questions to bring out the answers that are already within you.