Posted by on Feb 11, 2015

Von Blanco is a Chicago-based personal trainer (NSCA) and nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition). When he’s not training, Von writes at VonBlancoFitness.com where he talks about flexible dieting, minimalist training, and lifehacking. Want to train with Coach Von? Join the Von Blanco Fitness Army.

They say that in order for you to be successful at anything, you have to set goals.

If you want to lose weight, set a goal. If you want to make more money, set a goal. If you want to live longer, set a goal.

But then they said that in order for you to achieve those goals, they have to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals.

So if you want to lose weight, you would set a goal to “lose 15 pounds in 2 months”. If you want to make more money, you would set a goal to “start a side business that will make me an extra $1,000 a month.” If you want to live longer, you would set a goal to “drink nothing but water and eat more whole foods everyday, and to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.”

You get the idea.

Other things you might have heard about goal-setting:

  • Writing it on a piece of paper and looking at it every day
  • Sharing it to everyone you know in the world about it
  • Review your progress regularly
  • Break down your goals into pieces
  • Be positive
  • Motivate yourself every day
  • Visualize yourself reaching the goal
  • and blah blah blah

Ever notice how sometimes all of this still isn’t enough?

That’s because it isn’t.

Why Goal Setting Sometimes Fails

We’ve all been there. We wanted to accomplish something, but for whatever reason it fell right through our hands. Here’s why:

Goals are all about the end result. They never break down the process. Whether a goal is short-term or long-term, there’s usually never any mention of action steps.

Goals can be discouraging. When we fail to get what we want, we have the tendency to give up.

Goals never have a linear path. Life happens, obstacles get in the way, and goals that we thought were achievable in a certain time frame don’t usually happen.

What To Do Instead

Here’s the secret to achieving any goal. It’s a simple 3-step process. Ready?

1. Identify the necessary actions you must take to get to your goal.

Take your goal, and add “by (insert daily action step here)”. Want to lose weight? Change your SMART goal of “lose 15 pounds in 2 months” to “lose 15 pounds in 2 months by eliminating soda from my diet and by eating at least x amount of protein every day”.

2. Develop specific habits that you will act on, and practice every day.

Let’s go back to the above example. Now that you plan on eliminating soda from your diet and eating x amount of protein every day, act on it every day. See, the problem isn’t that we don’t know what to do. Because 99% of the time, we already do. We just don’t act on what we already know.

3. Forget about the goal you just set.

Just build on the new habits every day. So now we’re taking “my goal is to lose 15 pounds in 2 months by eliminating soda from my diet and by eating at least x amount of protein every day” and turning it to “I’m going to eliminate soda from my diet and eat at least x amount of protein every day”.

Next thing you know your goal has been achieved.

The key thing to achieving any goal is to focus on the process, not the end result. By doing this, your goals simply become a byproduct of the habits you’ve formed.

Summary

Just remember this:

  1. Identify the action steps needed to get to your goal
  2. Develop specific habits that you will practice every day
  3. Forget about the goal
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