Research from the Statistic Brain Institute shows that 92% of the people who set New Year's goals, in 2016, never actually achieved them. Those who failed to meet their goals cited symptoms of busyness while others stated that their goals were simply forgotten over time. This begs the following question: What does it take to achieve my goals?
The answer isn't rocket science, but it does entail a basic fundamental principle of physics.
After the Fall.
Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), famed English physicist and renowned mathematician, recorded three laws of motion in his book, "the Principia", published on July 5, 1687—the same work that housed his theory of gravity.
Specifically, Newton's first law of motion states that “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion, with the same speed (and in the same direction), unless acted upon by an opposite force.” This movement—otherwise known as inertia—is weighed down by gravity.
In the same vein, our goals move, unimpeded, by our level of persistence—or by a lack thereof—unless met by competing values and other gravitational forces in our lives. To better understand why goals aren't met, it's important to discern the significance of values that either provide momentum or weigh down the goals in our lives.
Achievement Vs. Delusion.
Whether we realize it or not, values drive actions on a daily basis. Therefore, whatever goal we set must be aligned with our personal (and company) values. We can come away thinking that goals are values in action. While values certainly determine realities, they aren’t always determinant of successful ones. That’s because values can either be forerunners of achievement, by means of active goals, or delusion, through a goal's inaction.
Delusion (a.k.a wishful thinking) stems from values that have no propelling action behind them. Because of this, they're reduced to mere fantasy. Wanting your organization to benefit from proper communication, for instance, could be the start of a new goal. In order to make this goal achievable, however, you must provide it with momentum, i.e., a plan of action that includes milestones and evaluation along the way.
Want to be a part of the 8% of people who set their goals and achieve them? Get your goal in motion with these three simple questions:
What's my level of commitment?
If at the core of your being you don't really have the desire or passion to pursue the goal, it doesn't matter how specific, challenging, or sexy your goal may sound—it’s a delusion. Your values work as guiding principles that influence daily situations and they must be aligned with your goals for them to start, and stay, in motion.
What's my plan of action?
Psychologists Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found, in 1981, that people performed better 90% of the time when they set specific and challenging goals. Though the study is outdated, the findings are still true today. It’s simple. If there’s no plan of action, there isn’t a goal to be set into motion—there's only wishful thinking. Planning, and adhering to your plan, is the most critical aspect to project development and time valorization.
What progress am I making?
Have you ever floated on your back, while on a trip to the beach, and found yourself far away from where you left your belongings? Just to be clear, this image is one of progress—progress requires forward motion toward a goal or destination (not a leisurely drift down the coast). Progress can be determined by distance between a set of milestones, but there’s a difference between quickly checking-off items on a list and effectively evaluating your plan. Regular evaluation makes up only one part of a healthy plan. Set attainable project milestones to motivate you to follow through.
It boils down to two things: It takes one step to set your goal into motion, and no step at all to see your goal fail. Ulimately, however, your success is dependent on your persistence. Marcel Schwantes writes “The most successful people are very patient and live by the motto ‘one step at a time.’” Today, be apart of the 8% who live out their success by keeping your goal in motion. Remeber: a goal in motion stays in motion!