Why I Hate Goals

A few days ago, Hallie and I were prepping for my weekly training for our real estate expansion business CEOs. It’s the end of the year, so Hallie suggested we talk about goals. I quickly replied, “I hate goals!” Hallie asked why. I replied and then she said, “Well, maybe you should just do a rant on the call about that.” So I did.

The truth of the matter is, I am just so sick of hearing about people’s goals. Everyone has a goal. My four year old has goals. The word ‘goal’ is ubiquitous now. And I am starting to suspect that the meaning of goal has been diminished. These goals I’m hearing are starting to sound more like ideas, wishes, or dreams. “Goal’ is losing it’s meaning. Goals are cheap. The new goal is execution.

Like it or not (and I don’t like it), it’s that time of year where everyone is setting their New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t like resolutions any more than I like goals at this point. Resolutions don’t last. They are set with the best of intentions, but intentions don’t get the job done. The only thing that matters is your commitment to doing the hard things day in and day out to get to your goal.

Goals, when used appropriately, are good. They start the thinking process and they set the direction. Goals are the target. When we set a goal in our business or in our personal life it’s not about the goal, but about the actions that you are committed to taking each day to work towards it. Success doesn’t just show up. It’s engineered through daily disciplines and habits. Are you going to write a big long list of goals wishes? Or are you going to get dirty and do the work?

We know that weight loss is the number one goal/resolution that people set at the beginning of the year. Yet, the only way you’re going to hit that goal and realize your future self is through your habits. I can guarantee the habits that contributed to your weight gain are not the same habits that are going to help you lose weight. It’s not going to be easy, but you have to change your habits! There are thousands of ways to hit a weight loss goal. You just have to do the activities.

You’re going to start the year off strong – whatever your goal or resolution is. That’s natural. It’s new, it’s exciting, you haven’t gotten bored with your new routine yet. But a few weeks in, something is going to test your resolve. An unexpected early work meeting that throws off your AM workout schedule. An invite to grab drinks with some old friends means you miss your time block for working on your side hustle. That’s life. It’s also your choice whether or not you allow those moments to derail you from your newly established habits and, ultimately, your goal. You can have either have stories or results in your life.

Enthusiasm is everywhere. Like that enthusiasm you have for the first two weeks of the new year when you get up at 4am every day for a 5 mile run and kale smoothie. Endurance is rare. Endurance and grit are what separate the winners from the losers. It’s not about whether or not you can get up at 4am. We can all do that once or twice. Endurance is about whether or not you can get up at 4am every day for the rest of your life. Can you have enough discipline in order to create a life long habit? You see, it’s not about the goal, it’s about those small daily activities that equal success.

You all know I’m a Ironman athlete, and I just might have registered for my first Ultra (after reading Can’t Hurt Me). I exercise a lot. Like, several hours a day. What might come as a surprise to you is that I don’t actually like doing it! Every day my mind tries to talk me out of it. I am no different than you (or 80% of the population) in that regard. The only difference is the habits and standards that I have created are stronger than that voice inside my head. I’m not willing to give in and allow my mind to be weak. That’s where the execution of daily habits comes is. You have to train your mind to accept no weaknesses, only results.

As you stare down 2019 in the crosshairs, I want you to focus in on one goal that you are committed to executing in the first 90 days. Why do you want to accomplish that particular thing? What will it do for your family and for your life? Then, break down that goal into granular, actionable daily habits. Get real with yourself. If you are not willing to do a particular habit every day for years, then you either need to choose a new goal or tap into why you are doing it in the first place. Most of these habits are not going to be fun. They are going to challenge you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Do them anyway. Figure out your new habits that will get you to your goal and then plan your day around them. Put them in your calendar and don’t cheat! When you do, the only person you are cheating is yourself.

After the first quarter of the year, if you have actually committed yourself to the daily habit, then you can turn your focus to the next habit that you want to create. Success is mastering the ability to build one habit after the next.

What habit are you committed to building in 2019 that will have the biggest impact on your life?

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