Why Some Goals Don’t Work

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Have you ever wondered why some people achieve their goals and some don’t? I always thought that it is based on the actions taken or because they are not clearly enough defined. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I started investigating this subject I first needed to figure out what a goal actually is. What I found in the most common literature and through my own research I would describe like this:

A goal is the description of a desired state of a person or business in the future.

Sounds simple enough. But why does it work for some and not for others? When talking to clients about their goals I find that most don’t get the idea of goals at all. Let me list a few reasons why some goals don’t work:

Money as a goal

Many think becoming a millionaire is a goal. But if you read my description above again I am sure you can see that money isn’t part of that. Money is not a state of a person or business. Being rich is not a state. Having money is not a changed state, you still have to use it to actually achieve your goal. That means money cannot be the goal, but what you can do with it can. For many who decided to set their goal on money, they haven’t actually set a goal at all.

Other peoples goals

If you feel that your goal has to be something that includes your family or friends it’s likely you’ll have to make a lot of compromises deciding on your goal. That can go so far that it doesn’t actually inspire. The problem with including others is that the goal now depends also on the state of the others. This can be a very difficult task. I found that the ones who achieve their goals had a very personal and often egoistic approach. This doesn’t mean they go over dead bodies. They just realized that the achievement of their personal goals will influence and impact their environment and in turn might trigger a change of state in others too.

Can’t find a goal

This is one of the most discussed subjects. Many just don’t know what their goal could be. They just have a feeling that something isn’t right, but they lack imagination, drive or future outlook to come up with anything that might get them moving. This group is most likely bound to fall into the first two groups, but many resign to the belief that they just don’t have any goals worthwhile going for and blame everyone and anything for their situation. As long as they are in that state the chance to achieve any set goal, however simple, is very small.

Let me describe a person representing a goal achiever.

He believes that he has a higher calling and that there is a reason for him to be here. He enjoys the challenge that comes with achieving a goal. He describes his goals on a very high level without getting lost in too much detail. He understands that many aspects of his goal are going to change on the way. He is fully aware that it requires a learning process to get there and that he most likely will need help. He also knows that it requires some action, lots of action to make it happen. His goal becomes his purpose.

The last sentence is probably the most powerful statement describing a real achiever. He decides on his purpose and that is his goal. A very famous person falling into that category is Elon Musk.
He certainly is on the top end of the achievers’ list, but when you listen to the way he speaks you can’t stop being inspired by the way he thinks and by what he does and how he does it. It sounds so simple. And that is the real secret: It is simple! He doesn’t measure himself on others. His goal belongs to him and he only measures himself against it.

Not all of us are Elon Musk, but that is the point. You don’t need Elon Musk to define your goals and set your purpose. This is only between you and yourself. Don’t define yourself on material goods but think about the state you would like to achieve and keep it simple.

What person do you want to be?

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium, this site is run by John di Stefano, teaching and supporting entrepreneurs to learn the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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