Do you remember what your goals or resolutions were at the beginning of this year? Have you made any progress? Are you happy with where you are at with respect to meeting the targets you set? A friend of mine challenged me with a question he put on twitter. He asked “100 days is almost up. How is your RRI coming along?”
For those of you who may not be familiar with what RRI is allow me to take up this paragraph to bring you up to speed. RRI stands for Rapid Results Initiative and is a results based approach to management. It is popular in our Kenyan government and every once in a while a ministry will launch what they call a “wave” of RRI. The wave typically last 100 days and the idea is that the institution commits to achieving certain goals through implementing high impact activities.
This question got me thinking about my score card and I had another look at my goals for 2014 to score my progress. On some I was doing really well and on others not so much. For instance I have been doing well with my tennis classes and there’s even some improvement in my play. I’ve also started and maintained my little kitchen garden since the year began. I was doing great with my blog until April (you may have noticed my absence in the past month). On the flip side I haven’t finished the first free online class I signed up for. I planned to complete at least 4 classes during the year. I was to start a business project at the beginning of April… That is yet to happen. My review stirred up some thoughts on why we fall short of achieving the things we intend. The following are the big five reasons in my opinion.
The first is a pitfall called fear. Fear that we will fail, fall flat on our faces and people will point and laugh at us saying something to the effect of “Look at her. So ridiculous. What made her think she could do it?”. Ok, so maybe not those exact words but at some point we worry that we shall fail. We also fear that we are inadequate. Not smart enough, not rich enough, not creative enough (more on this in my article “Surely not me. I am not good enough“). The solution for most of us is to not start at all. Sadly if we don’t start that our dreams don’t stand a chance of seeing daylight.
Second reason we fall short is because of poor or no planning. The major reason many people do not realize their resolutions every year is because the resolution is simply a statement, a desire, a vision or a destination. If you don’t wake up from the dream and start working on it, it remains a dream. A simple example is if you decide you want to travel to another country this year on holiday you need to figure lots of things out. Where do you want to go, with whom, when, where will you stay, how will you get there, how long will you be there, what would you like to do while there, can you get leave from work, how much will it cost, which bank you will rob (I recommend saving) to make it all happen. Answering all these questions is part of planning. Like they say, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Pitfall number three that gets many of us is impatience. You’ve probably heard the expression microwave generation. We have been so spoiled by technology that we struggle with giving things time. Even waiting in a queue seems like an endless process. Wouldn’t it be so great if we could put our idea in a microwave and then ping – a business is created. Then we put the business in the microwave and ping – it’s making profit in no time. Sounds silly but yet we often approach work, business, relationships and our own growth (generally life) in that manner. Microwaving through life would take the flavor out of it. In addition to that being impatient with ourselves, others, God and the system leaves us frustrated and in an unproductive state.
In fourth pitfall is laziness. Usually this is disguised with excuses. I didn’t have enough time/money/other resource, I’ve been busy, I haven’t come around to it.. I’ll get to it tomorrow. Read about how tomorrow never comes. What other excuses have you used at some point in the past? Reminds me of the ad where the teacher asks the student for his homework and he responds “the dog ate it”. Some of us have packs of dogs that prevent us from ever taking action or responsibility for our inaction. Sometimes we are just lazy. Excuses aside. We refuse to wake up when we should or a few minutes early. We choose to watch tv or our favorite series. We prefer to sit on our laurels and then we dare to be disappointed when our dreams remain just dreams. Just resolutions.
The last reason we fall short is because we make the wrong goals. Wrong goals? Yeah, that is exactly what I mean. What is a wrong goal? A goal that doesn’t have a significance to you. It just seems nice. Perhaps you heard someone else mention it as one of theirs and you thought it sounded good so you make it one of yours. If it is not significant to you then you won’t feel driven to reach it – especially on the tough days when you feel like giving up. A wrong goal is also about the framing. Sometimes we state goals as wishful thinking rather than achievable realistic targets. A wrong goal is unambitious and easy. Goals ought to stretch us even just a little bit. When I set my goal to read 6 books this year my hubby said “C’mon, that’s too easy. You can reach that without much effort. Challenge yourself with something higher.”
Those are on my top five list of the reasons we fall short of turning our dreams into reality year after year. Next week I’ll explore how to turn the situation into our favor so that when we close the chapter on 2014 (every year) we can proudly look at our achievements and realize we’ve become more of the person we desire to be. What causes you to fall short of realizing your goals?