Bridging the Gap Between Goal Setting and Goal Achievement

Some people have trouble achieving because they’ve never really outlined their goals and when you fail to define what you want, it’s nearly impossible to get it. But maybe you have outlined your goals, you know exactly what you want, you’ve written it down like a good goal setter and you review it regularly. If you’re still not achieving, then it’s likely you’ve fallen into the gap between goal setting and goal achievement.

David:                   Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today, co-host Chris Templeton and I will discuss how to make the pivot from goal setting to goal achievement. Welcome Chris!

Chris:                     Hi David. You seem to be approaching this topic as if it’s a given, but some people, I’m sure there’s a lot of them get through life without setting any formal goals. What makes you think this is important?

David:                   Well, that’s a valid question. Not everyone does set goals, but I would venture to say that if you’re a business owner or a sales person, the type of person likely to listen to this podcast, then you’re probably setting some goals. And some people, even if they don’t realize they’re setting goals are actually setting goals, so you might not formally say, “I am setting a goal to accomplish this by this date”, but you may think, “Hmm, I’d really love to have a car like that, or I’d really love to earn X amount of dollars per year, or I’d really love to have a house like that, or I’d really love to be able to pay my bills.” Things like that where essentially they may just form a thought or an idea, but they actually are goals. It’s things that we want and what is a goal other than something we want?

Chris:                     It seems like what you’re talking about is traditional goal setting. It’s the Field of Dreams approach. Boy, that’d be nice to have and then maybe that’ll come as a result of that thought. It works out in the movies, but how do you see that playing out in real life?

David:                   Yeah, it does work in the movies. In real life, I think it’s rarely a good idea – I mean, if it’s something that you really want.  There are aspects of life that we can just allow to unfold, things are going to happen and we’re going to take advantage of them or we’re not going to take advantage of them. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. A lot of life is simply living it and seeing what happens and making decisions in the moment, and I’m not saying that all of life is going to be about setting and achieving goals, but when we think in terms of the things that we really want in the six areas that we had talked about in our podcast; I don’t know, months ago, mental and physical and spiritual and social and financial and family. If we want to make things happen in those areas, then it really does boil down to deciding – what do we want to have happen and then what are we going to do to make it happen? When you think in terms of that field of dreams approach, you know “if you build it, they will come,” it really is sort of wishful thinking. And so if you want those types of things to happen, you’re far better off making them happen instead of just waiting for things to happen. And I would point out that the guy in the movie, he actually built that ball field, so he did do something to make it happen. It wasn’t like he just waited for the universe to take care of it for him.

Chris:                     There a whole lot of effort there wasn’t there?  Whether it was convincing the poet Laureate to go with him. Ah, such a great movie! But a lot of what we’re seeing in the last, I don’t know, five or 10 years, is things like The Secret and Law of Attraction. Is that approach realistic when it comes to goal achievement?

David:                   Well, that’s a good question. I mean, some people love The Secret and if you’re not familiar with what The Secret is, if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re not sure what that is; The Secret was a movie that came out a while ago, I believe.  There was also a podcast and a website and a bunch of different things and it was really talking about what they refer to as the Law of Attraction, and that’s a concept that’s been around for a long, long time, well before The Secret. And I saw that and I didn’t love it. And the reason I didn’t love it is not that I don’t believe that we attract things into our lives because certainly we do. And the Law of Attraction, I think to some extent if you’re doing certain things, then yeah, you’re going to attract the people and circumstances that will help you if for no other reason because you’re looking for them.  When you’re focused on achieving a particular outcome, you’re going to be a lot more likely to notice the things that are going to help you to get there.  So, from that standpoint, just logic alone tells you that you’re going to find those things.  You’re going to be more likely to find those things than if you’re not in that zone, but it’s not just about wishing those things into existence. And that’s where I think they got a little off track in The Secret. They implied that if you just think things and you put it mentally out into the universe, that it’s going to start happening and in my experience, that has not been the case. Yes, it starts with an idea, starts with a thought, starts with putting that thought and those actions out into the universe, but it really doesn’t happen in earnest until we put a little muscle behind it. We don’t just have our intention. We also have our actions. What are we going to do that’s going to help us to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves?

Chris:                     And having the space to really think these things out. I want that house. Why do I want it? What do I see myself doing in there? Anything that I can do to make it more real is kind of the law of attraction side of things and that’s certainly helpful when I can imagine the process of getting and achieving this goal. But what you’re saying (at least I think what I hear you saying) is that there needs to be more muscle in terms of really kind of the nitty gritty defining things out a little more. Is that a fair statement?

David:                   Yeah, and directing our actions. You also touched on a really important point that I just want to highlight. You had mentioned if you’re thinking about a house or whatever, why you want that house and I think why is really critical because why is usually the thing that powers us, it’s going to be the thing that fuels us to be able to take the actions we want to take.  If we say, Oh, that’s a really nice house, I’d like to have it, but we don’t really think of it beyond that. It’s likely nothing’s going to happen. But if we think in terms of why: Well, what’s that going to do for me? What’s going to do for my lifestyle? What’s it going to do for my family? How would it feel to live there? And to be able to go there day after day and park my car in that garage, right? Live there, and so when you really focus on that, why it can be a tremendous driver of action and of course it’s the actions I believe that are ultimately going to impact all of that. If you get everything else into play, if you’re thinking in terms of what you want to accomplish and you’re putting those thoughts out into the universe and you come up with a plan, okay, I’m going to take step one and step two and step three and step four and step five and these are the things I’m going to do, then I think you’re far more likely to create that result than if you’re just sort of hoping it’s going to happen and trying to wish it into existence.

Chris:                     One of the other things that occurs to me is that as I think this through and think about the things that are important to me about achieving this goal, I kind of align myself with being inspired to do something versus having to motivate myself to do something. And I think a big piece of what you’re talking about is really getting to a place where I’m clear enough on why and what I want, that it’s like, “Oh, I know what the next step is going to be!” It’s inspired action, don’t you agree?

David:                   Yeah, and I think that that inspired action really does flow directly from the why. When we know why it is we want to do something, we’re going to be far more likely to take that action and it’s the why that inspires us. It’s not just the what, it’s not the car or the house or the income or whatever. That’s essentially a thing that’s sort of the object of our affection or our attention. But when we think about the why, why do I want to drive that kind of car? What would I love about that? How would that make me feel when you get into the why, that’s what really starts to get the juices flowing and really gets us focused on the desire side of things, which will then inspire us to take the kind of action that’s likely to be necessary in order to get the thing we want.

Chris:                     Yeah. And a lot of people will say, “Well, you know why – it’s obvious. It’s be nice to have a new house or you know, a new car.” But when you ask yourself why four or five times, why is that important? Why is it important to have a new house? Well, I want my family to be comfortable.  Well, why is that important? And when you start to drill down a little bit, that inspiration comes much more clear than why do I want it? It’d be really nice to have a new house. If you dig a little deeper. I think you find that you’re going to get a whole lot more inspired action as a result.

David:                   Yeah, no question. And I think you’ll also find that the people who lack the why, the ones who just say, well, I think it’d be nice to have or I just want it, are going to be far less likely to take action and do the things necessary to make it happen because if it happens, hey great, and if it doesn’t, well I’m okay with that too. And when you find yourself in that situation, the likelihood of taking all the right actions, doing all the right things and making it happen, I think is greatly reduced.

Chris:                     I completely agree. You know, at the beginning of the podcast you talked about the gap between goal setting and goal achieving. What do you think needs to happen inside that gap?

David:                   Great question. Well, I think largely it’s going to be action, right? Goal setting on one hand, goal achievement on the other, what connects the dots?  It’s going to be decisions and action. It’s about deciding, “What’s it going to take to be able to accomplish this goal?” One of the reasons that this topic really inspired me is that I realized, I’m thinking maybe it’s six months ago. I was thinking about the difference between goal setting and goal achievement. And there was a particular weight goal that I had had for a long time and I’m not, you know, grossly overweight, but I wanted to lose about 10 or 15 pounds for the longest time. And it’s been in the back of my mind, it’s been a goal. I had it written down, you know, I wanted to get to this desired weight and for whatever reason I wasn’t taking the necessary actions. I knew what they were, I just wasn’t taking them on a consistent basis. And so I would gain weight during the week or I would gain weight on the weekend rather. And I’d lose weight during the week. And then I gained weight on the weekend and I’ve probably gained and lost 150 pounds. Right? But maintained roughly the same weight. And I wasn’t getting there. And I think it was about six or seven months ago, I realized that I had set a goal. It had been a weight goal for, I’m thinking more than 10 years at this point. And I realized how ridiculous that is. What’s the point of having a goal like that if you’re not going to take the actions necessary to achieve it? And when that occurred to me, when that thought really popped into my head and I realized, “Wait a second, why are you setting a goal and then consistently failing to achieve it?” It really motivated me because I realized the flaw in my thinking. Which is that by setting a goal and by just sort of doing your day to day thing, that it will miraculously happen and it doesn’t. So when I realized that I really set a goal to say, okay, I’m going to make this happen now, and it took longer than it should have. I thought I could probably do it in a couple of months. It ended up taking more like four or five months, but I’ve now reached a weight which has been a more than 10 year goal for me and I recognized that it only happens when you identify what that goal is, when you identify the very specific actions you’re going to take to achieve that goal. And then to consistently take them day after day, regardless of how you feel, regardless of what’s going on, so that you can ultimately get there. So when I look at that gap between goal setting and goal achievement, that’s what I see. I see decisions and actions.

Chris:                     And I’d just add, inspired action. I mean even that recognition made you realize that you needed to look at this from a different perspective, didn’t it?

David:                   It did. And I think anyone who’s listening to this podcast, if you’ve had situations where you have a goal that’s been a goal of yours for a really long time, if it’s not happening, there’s probably one of two reasons for it. Either you haven’t decided exactly the steps you need to take in order to make it happen or you’re not taking those steps on a consistent basis.

Chris:                     And the other thing I would just add to that is I don’t think that it needs to be every step from here to completion, but at least knowing generally where you want to go and what the next few steps are more specifically, I think that gives you a little bit of that latitude to be able to monitor and adjust as you go.

David:                   Absolutely. There’s a lot of discussion when it comes to goal setting. There’s talk about massive action, taking massive action. You have to do all this stuff. Tony Robbins is a big fan of massive action and I love the sound of that. I’m not disagreeing with that at all, but very often I think what you’ll find is that some things don’t even require massive action. It requires doing maybe two or three things consistently. It’s not about doing a thousand things. It’s about doing two or three things extremely well and extremely consistently in order to get the results.

Chris:                     It’s a great point. Goal setting versus goal achievement. Let’s talk about what our listeners need to do to bridge the gap as we begin to wrap up this podcast.

David:                   Okay. Chris, I would start off with recognizing that there is a difference between goal setting and goal achievement, and don’t assume that simply setting a goal is going to make it happen because it probably won’t.  It’s a good start! Setting a goal as a good start, but it’s not going to get it done. Second thing, decide exactly what outcome or outcomes you want. What are the very specific things you want to happen? What do you want to have? What do you want to get? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? Clarify it in as much detail as possible. I certainly recommend writing it down, writing it out for yourself in as crystal clear language as you can possibly make it so that you can picture it. That will also help with your why and it will move you farther along on the way to getting it done. Step three would be to identify the very specific actions you will commit to taking until your goal is achieved. It’s not just about writing down a to do list of things that you’re not going to do.  It’s what are the actions that you will commit to taking until your goal is achieved? You’ve got to keep taking them again and again and again. Normally, it’s not something you’re going to do once. Some people think in terms of that massive action plan, but as we just discussed, very often it’s just a few specific actions implemented consistently that are going to get you the result. And then fourth, take the actions you’ve outlined and gauge the results. If it’s working, keep doing it. If it’s not, determine which actions need to be tweaked or which actions need to be replaced, and then follow through consistently.

Chris:                     David Blaise, If you as a listener would like to find out more about how to create top of mind awareness and dominate your market, schedule a strategy session at

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