4 Reasons We Fail To Reach Our Goals

80% of the population never sets a goal for themselves.

Perhaps more heart breaking is this – of the 20% who do set goals, about 70% fail.

That means only 30% of 20% who actually set goals – or about 6% of the population – set and achieve goals.

This blows my mind. And it hurts to hear such dismal statistics.

I’m a WHY person. I have to know why.

Why does 94% of the population fail to set and achieve their goals?

Aside from being a 30-something year old who still continues to ask “why?”, I’m obsessed with human performance and potential.

Uncovering why so many people fall short while others achieve high performance has become a lifelong quest for me. Uncovering – and sharing – these answers has become my passion. 

I’ve been fortunate to spend the last decade learning from some of the world’s elite performers, being mentored by many of them, interviewing top researchers, and working with Olympians, Special Forces Operators and other high performers.

These opportunities have given me unique insights into the science of what goes on between our ears and the application of “in-the-trenches” tactics that fuel ultimate human performance.

Make no mistake, the battle is won and lost between our ears.

If I have to sum it up in one sentence, here it is: “your life is perfectly designed for the results you’re currently getting.”

If we want something different, it requires a lifestyle change – an audit and a change in the way we think and spend our time.

Here are 4 ways high performers shift their mental approach to ensure they get the results they want.

High Performers Don’t Take It Personally

High performers know people don’t get results, processes do.

High performers have this habit of saying “tell me what to do I’ll do it.” They look for the strategy, the process that is proven effective and then they show up and they do the work.

the unsuccessful people make it about themselves they say oh I can’t do this or I could never do that or this isn’t me it’s about the process it doesn’t matter who’s doing it find a proven process and do it it’s not about you it’s the process that works if you work the processyour life is perfectly designed for the results you’re currently getting

It’s not about you. It’s about your actions, your choices, and how you spend your time. Regardless of our chosen pursuit, we can all find a proven system and implement it (if we’re committed to the mission).

High Performers Are Aware of the Enormity of Their Goals, But They Ignore It To Focus on Short-Term Actions Within Their Control

We’ve all heard the saying, “if your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

But the truth is, if you’re among the the 94% of people who aren’t setting and achieving goals already, every goal is scary, daunting and formidable. And this fear causes immobilization that only makes reaching your goals tougher and tougher.

Instead of focusing on the totality of summiting Mt. Everest – or your own personal Mt. Everest – we need to define and focus on the action items within your control.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

High performers break seemingly impossible goals down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily tasks. This enables them to identify how and where they should allocate their energy and efforts. Then, as described in our first tactic, they show up, follow up the process, and repeat as long as is necessary.

Think about your goal…what needs to happen in the next year for you to achieve that goal? Break that down into quarters (3 month, or 90 day chunks). What can you do in the next 90 days (3 months)? What can you do this month? This week? Today?

Once you have this written down, get started. And don’t stop.

Remarkable people do unremarkable things with remarkable consistency. High achievers refuse to be denied. They’re not concerned with how long it will take to get there – only that they eventually arrive.

Read more on daily action items and what I call “moving the chains” here.

Finally, high performers take full responsibility for their actions and actually look to be held accountable for their choices and actions. People who fail to reach their goals do not embrace these values.

High Performers Don’t Allow Their Feelings to Run The Show

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has found that about 95% of our decisions are made based on feelings – not on logic or rational thought.

This is not entirely a bad thing – but that conversation is beyond the scope of this post. It is something we need to be aware of since our feelings – and the resulting decisions – are not always aligned with our stated goals.

Ever been to a conference, seminar or workshop and felt motivated to take on a huge goal? How about those feelings after watching a favorite motivational movie, video, or song?

Why then, after 48-72 hours do our thoughts and decisions change? How can we attend a conference on the weekend and be back to our “normal” self by Wednesday morning?

Our physiological state is different and for most, the decisions made are different as well.

Neuroscience defines feelings as mental experiences of physiological states. So quite literally, our physiology creates our emotional and mental states, which drive our decisions.

Being aware of this gives us conscious choice, and control when we would otherwise be adrift and powerless to the whims of our fleeting feelings.

High performers recognize this, set plans ahead of time (often during times of highest motivation) and then they take responsibility for their actions on a daily basis. Emulate high performers and do it anyway. Do what you know you should be doing – regardless of how you “feel”.

For more details on the science behind this and how to implement these strategies in your life, get the book, or join us in the Special Ops Academy where we help you use Choice Architecture to create better defaults for yourself.

High Performers Understand The Power Of Community

This might get uncomfortable…

Look around you. Who do you see? We feel safe and comfortable around people who are similar to us in values, motivation, and life goals.

Most underachievers are surrounded by other underachievers. This is also why high performers tend to congregate around other high performers. Like recognizes like.

The safety and comfort of a like-minded community dates back to our tribal ancestors. We’re wired to fit in – it literally determined whether or not we survived with the tribe or had to strike out on our own. Odds of survival greatly improved with the group in ancestral times – so there is an evolutionary advantage to “fitting in”.

The group with whom we choose to associate goes a long way in determining our life’s path. 

To feel safe and comfortable taking moon shots (setting and reaching for lofty goals) we must be in environments that celebrate us (and those values), not environments that merely tolerate us. 

Consider the following excerpt from the book:

“People, like plants can only grow as large as their containers allow. Once a plant reaches the maximum size that can be supported by the vessel in which it is potted, it’s growth is halted. 

Move the plant to a larger vessel, however, and it’s growth will resume – but only until it reaches the capacity of this new pot. 

Like plants, our growth potential as humans is restricted by the box we keep ourselves in. We can only grow to the constraints of the belief systems, societal norms, and the community in which we keep ourselves.

Expand your comfort zone, be mindful of your community, and be mindful of your (potentially limiting) belief systems that frame your subconscious and conscious thoughts as they will either encourage or inhibit your growth as a human.” 

Ready to upgrade your community?

Flat out: members of our Special Ops Academy get results. As an insider, you’ll get the proven processes that work, the mindset upgrades, the daily action items, the accountability, and the community you need to achieve your goals.

If you’re ready for something more, to step into the next chapter of your life, to finally get the results you want, join us here.