It’s been the halfmark point in the year this week and we are another 6 months away from Christmas. During this time I like to reflect on how far I have come since the beginning of the year, what achievements I have made, the learnings along my journey, review the uncomfortable experience and review my next steps to get closer to my goal.
What personal goals are you currently working towards? Do you want to quit smoking? Start cooking fresh food regularly? Be on time more often? And have you taken some time to sit down and review what you have achieved till today since the start of this new year?
Goal setting is the first step and finding the strategy to achieve the next following by the tactics. And sometimes, it is harder than it seems when we want to change a habit, learn a new skill or change a behavioural trait. It takes regular actions, reflection, review of the progress, accountability and also to sometimes cut yourself some slack (as the saying goes). And the end of the day, we are human and based on my experience there are a few common barriers to achieving our goals that many of us share.
Let’s have a closer look at some reasons why you might not hit the targets that you set yourself and want to achieve.
Not enough time.
You simply don’t have the time, right? Not enough hours in the day, too much work to do and not sure where to start. When someone asks you “How are you” your typical response is “I am busy.” Time Management is one of the key skills to learn. It is about differentiation between what is urgent and what is important. The good news: we have time under control and how we allocate our time. If you feel you don’t have time for something, it is down how we prioritise it. If there is something that you truly want to do but haven’t been making time for it, it might be time to reassess your priorities and differentiate what is urgent and what is important.
Read on for some actual reasons.
That is a problem for Future Me.
Humans are addicted to the now when it is about feeding an immediate need. And I have experienced this over and over again during my corporate life. Even though, there are the best intentions at first, we struggle to see the long-term benefit when we a constant sense of “immediacy”. We enjoy immediate pleasure so much more than the waiting and the endless work required to reach a goal at some point in the future to maybe achieve our goals without any guarantee. And the doubt in your mind that one could invest all this time, and then no return. As Ian Ayres explains in his book Carrots and Sticks rewards in the future are uncertain and we’d much rather have a bird in the hand.
Willingness to pay the price.
So, let’s demonstrate this one on an example; let’s say you try to quit smoking by promising to pay a two-dollar penalty for every cigarette you light. According to Ayres, this won’t work, because the punishment doesn’t outweigh the pleasure and simply adds a price tag to an action. You know smoking a cigarette would cost