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Why You Thought Last Year Was a Failure and Why It Wasn't

It's Time to Give Yourself Some Credit and Attainable Goals

Although I was I busy working on the popular series "30 Things I Wish I Knew In My Early 20's" to open 2014 - I feel it's "Better Late Than Never" to hit you with this discussion.

It can apply to anyone at anytime and might possibly be even more relevant after the hunger of New Year's Resolutions have worn off.

A lot people wanted a fresh start in 2014.

New Year

I was surprised how many successful, productive, focus people in our community felt they underachieved in 2013 and I started looking into why they felt that way.

One guy, in particular, among a host of achievements - lost 90+ lbs., gained nearly 2" on his [can't say it on the Lifestyle website], broke a ton of bad lifestyle habits, made plans for his own music studio, continued his still blossoming relationship with his cute girlfriend and was a HUGE help to me and so many other guys.

Still, when 2014 rang in, he felt that his 2013 was a general failure due to a lack of self-discipline - even though he acknowledged it was probably the most productive year of his life.

This was odd to hear because he's always such a positive person.

As a 3rd party observer - there's no way in hell that 2013 was a failure for him.

Your Goals Met and Surpassed - Thermometer Measurement

Why did he feel that way?

As I considered my year, looked around our community and caught up with some friends that are also pretty self-motivated - I started to see some common themes among the guys that felt (and didn't feel) that they underachieved in 2013.

Too Many Goals

The first thing I saw was - the guys that made big strides in 2013 but felt they underachieved, had TOO MANY GOALS.

For goal setting, in general, I urge guys to pursue ONE GOAL and ONE GOAL ONLY - for which they spend at least 75% of their free time on.

It's the "Nothing in Moderation" principle.

If you find yourself multitasking, it's likely that you are over-scheduled or disorganized.

It might not always be obvious, but if you know you have a good ethic and still feel you are underachieving - you probably need to look at how many goals you are working on.

Again, ideally, you have - ONE PRIMARY GOAL and possibly a secondary goal that doesn't require daily commitment.

The flip-side of this is if you have NO GOALS or if you are one of those people that has the mindset of "if I can't give 100% EVERY DAY, I'm not going to work on it at all". (aka a daydreamer)

Both are a recipe for non-action or misplaced action.

You can't achieve a goal that you don't have.

Nor can you accomplish a goal if you are waiting on the perfect situation or time "to come" to you. Make the time.

If you are determined, you'll accomplish more in limited amount than you would with a lot of free time if you aren't determined.

new year goals or resolutions

Unclear Goals

Having non-specific or "fuzzy" goals is nearly identical to having NO GOALS at all.

This is probably the most common problem that makes guys feel like they aren't making progress.

I suggest that you have ONE VERY SPECIFIC GOAL with a DEADLINE.

(your medium and short-term goals should model this as well)

Here are some examples-

  • I will sleep with [specific number] girls by [specific date].
  • I will get my website to have [specific number] of visitors by [specific date].
  • I will get down to [specific percentage] of body fat by [specific date].

Remember, you have to "Define Success" BEFORE you chase it.

You won't achieve a goal that you don't have.

Businessman Way

Unrealistic Goals

There's no self-improvement site, including this one, that doesn't - in some shape or form - encourage guys to reach for the stars and work to achieve their potential.

(we admit that just having "Above-Average" or greater fundamentals will automatically make you elite)

This type of mantra often encourages guys to pursue unrealistic short-term goals (when the long-term goal is valid).

Eventually, a deadline will arrive, the guy will be behind schedule, get discouraged and postpone/quit altogether - even if they are making good progress.

We'll talk another time about goal planning and how to draw up your goals so you are on the path to success.

Ideas Direction

Misplaced Priorities

Although our concept of "YOUR #1 GOAL SHOULD BE YOUR #1 PRIORITY" or "YOUR #1 GOAL SHOULD BE WHERE THE MOST TIME IS INVESTED," might seem obvious - quite a few people misplace their time or are simply not working on the right thing.

I am guilty of this too.

For example, toward the end of college, when my sports career was over - my #1 Goal (supposedly) was to hook up with a lot of girls, something I didn't focus on as an underclassmen and constantly transferring student.

Where did I spend most of my time?

In the gym. Of course.
(something hardly related to my goal since I already had a good body)

I should have been going to parties, making new friends, meeting new girls, hitting up the bars or at the very least - talking to girls in the gym.

For the most part, I wasn't doing that.
(in the future we'll talk on topics such as 'What Bodybuilders Need to Do to Have a Top 1% Sex Life' but - I always say, if I spent as much time talking to girls as I did in the gym/kitchen - I would have slept with 300+ girls by now. No joke. If you are a bodybuilder or athlete - you know how much time it takes if you are serious about it. That wasn't realistic at the time because I was scared to talk to new girls)

My friend Erik knows a kid that has been talking about starting his own business that sells skateboards.

Where does he spend most of his time?

Working in the deli at a grocery store making potato salad most of the day.
(something totally unrelated to his goal)

He might try to convince himself (and you) that he is "saving money" to start his own business one day.

The reality is - he's been talking/thinking about opening up a skateshop for 6.5 years. It looks more like procrastination or a result of not having much of a plan.

Either way, he clearly doesn't really care that much about his goal.

He isn't even trying to sell skateboards online because "he can't find the time and doesn't want to do it unless he can give it 100%"

Instead of trying to "find" the time - he needs to MAKE TIME.

If this sounds like you, you might want to have a look at this advice I got-

Wrong Way Sign

Lack a Daily Sense of Accomplishment

There's 2 reasons I thing having a goal is super important-

  1. It gives you something to focus on achieve. (obviously)
  2. It gives you an opportunity to feel a DAILY SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT.

The generic mainstream only highlights #1.

#2, arguably, might be even more important.

If you really take the time and brake down your goal from-

ONE LONG-TERM GOAL

into

SEVERAL SHORTER-TERM MONTHLY GOALS

into

SEVERAL MORE EVEN SHORTER-TERM WEEKLY GOALS

into

SEVERAL SUPER SHORT-TERM DAILY GOALS

you will have something to shoot for, accomplish and feel proud of on a DAILY BASIS.

Accomplishing a goal, no matter how short-term or small it is, will give a sense of accomplishment and progress.

We suggest you give yourself the opportunity to feel it on a DAILY BASIS and not postpone it for months or years.

(this is also what the Approach Anxiety Program is based on - building success upon success)

Most people have a Long-Term Goal but don't give themselves an opportunity to achieve, recognize and feel success on a daily basis.

I suggest you have DAILY GOALS and watch the parts (work) add up to the whole (success).

You'll probably get there faster that this way too.

checklist

The Focus is on What Wasn't Accomplished

Focusing on what didn't get done is common but there's a side to this issue that isn't always considered.

Focusing on the what didn't get done isn't necessarily the product of a being a negative person.

It's often a by-product of having too many goals, unclear goals, misplaced priorities or not feeling a daily sense of accomplishment that is critical to realizing progress, gaining momentum and watching it translate to success.

If you are generally a positive, motivated person and find yourself thinking about WHAT YOU DIDN'T DO - perhaps the issue lies in your goal planning and your daily approach.

The Other Reason

Those 5 issues generally provide at least 1 of the reasons that hardworking guys feeling like they are standing still and that their efforts aren't paying off.

There is 1 other reason that can explain a lack of achievement as well.

Thankfully, this one doesn't really pertain to guys that hang around these parts.

Laziness and Lack of Self-Discipline 

Some guys simply lack the work ethic to achieve their goals.

Obvious right?

As a personal trainer and often as the group-appointed "kid who has done and knows all sorts of cool stuff" among my friends, I saw this quite a bit.

Just about 100% of my friends, at some point in time, came to me because they wanted to either lose weight or put some muscle on.

I would get excited and tell them everything I knew.

Maybe 1 of them in 25+ years succeeded.
(we are talking about my 'non-gym rat' friends - the meatheads know how to achieve their fitness goals)

Anytime I hear that someone complain that they "can't lose weight" or they "can't put on muscle," I know it's because they simply don't want to.

The process is easy, their lack of success isn't due to a lack of intelligence.

To lose weight - Get your ass into the gym and eat 500+ calories under your caloric maintenance from a high protein diet that includes healthful fats and contains virtually no carbohydrates.

or

To gain weight - Get your ass into the gym and eat 500+ calories over your caloric maintenance from a high protein diet that includes healthlful fats and complex carbohydrates.

A lot of people "would like to..."

  • lose weight
  • gain muscle
  • get wealthy
  • meet a lot of women
  • go to hot parties
  • improve their size
  • etc.

But when it comes down to it - they don't invest the mandatory time simply because they are either lazy or not passionate (don't really want to) about their "goal".

I'm a big believer in -

-IF YOU REALLY WANT IT-
-YOU WILL BE WILLING TO-
-PUT IN THE WORK FOR IT-

If not - you don't really want it.

Sometimes you need to try and burnout in order to that figure out.

Over a 2.5 year period - I studied for the LSAT, got a scholarship to Law School, moved to San Diego, bought $7,500 worth of furniture, $700 worth of textbooks - and quit in 10 days.

I wanted to be a lawyer.

But apparently not THAT BAD.

I made the right decision.

I've gotten more pussy, made more money, had more free time and been WAY HAPPIER because I left the "Law Scene".

Quitting is justified so long as you tried (or have a better alternative).

If you heart isn't in something - it might be time to cut your losses find something you really like or just have it as a hobby.

Overweight Boy Eating

Final Thoughts

I hope this was useful - it should be.

Most of us know that having a goal is "good".

Some of us haven't quite figured out how to set ourselves up for success - even if we know the steps involved.

Remember -

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

You don't need to know exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal (that is what you learn from daily experience) but you do need to know how you are going try.

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Comments (20)

  1. Dave

I just read this and your intention with this post is very clear. The fact that you keep mentioning certain things again and again is great because otherwise people wouldnt realize certain things. I think your website really stops people who...

I just read this and your intention with this post is very clear. The fact that you keep mentioning certain things again and again is great because otherwise people wouldnt realize certain things. I think your website really stops people who would be wasting hundreds of hours spending at the gym in their early/mid/late twenties. There will be more and more people like dwayne johnson with a huge amount of muscles in movies. Young people see that and fill the gyms curling dumbbells all day long for many years. Your website makes it clear that it is worth getting a decent shape within a year (probably with anabolics) and then just maintainings enjoying life more).
But I really wonder where you had that 7500 bucks from, I mean thats a huge amount of money, I guess you got it all from your parents? Damn

Ps: I would be really really glad if you could give me some advice on my latest comment (the one with the girlfriend) on your previous post (the 4 predictable rejections).
and again, sorry for mistakes I am from Europe

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It's true, having too many goals can paralyze people, I just concentrate on one goal at a time. Good post.

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  1. RevLifestyleDesign

Hey Chris,

Great article as per usual. Totally agree on the one goal per year principle, anything more is overwhelming, especially when you set your sights high, I think for young guys the most important goal should be aimed towards freedom,...

Hey Chris,

Great article as per usual. Totally agree on the one goal per year principle, anything more is overwhelming, especially when you set your sights high, I think for young guys the most important goal should be aimed towards freedom, meaning building a money system for yourself. The way I have things set up now is 1 yearly goal, which is a sub-goal of my mission. My mission is a dream with a deadline, basically a supergoal with the biggest payoff and solving the most pain points. The rest of things I do I categorize as projects ie. teeth whitening, hamstring flexibility etc. and work on them at a much lower intensity without a deadline.

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  1. rayver

the contents of this article are really self explanatory and anyone with a common sense would say "yeah i know all that" but what's cool with this article is that everything is broken down into segments(what,why and how). Good job GLL.

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  1. Sean

its what my old man used to say to me....Have 1 goal at a time, Have a good plan to achieve that goal......and focus all your time and energy in putting that plan into action. Everything else is just a distraction.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Sean

the old man is wise

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  1. Francis

Boy, you got me at "laziness and lack of self-discipline". Its not that I don't have goals or the plans to achieve them....its just that during the execution of the plan you start as one that is full of excitement and then after sometime that...

Boy, you got me at "laziness and lack of self-discipline". Its not that I don't have goals or the plans to achieve them....its just that during the execution of the plan you start as one that is full of excitement and then after sometime that excitement slowly fades away. Then everything goes out the window.

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  1. tinman

I like your idea about breaking down one long-term goal into several shorter-term goals. This way you wouldn't be overwhelmed because you'll be dealing with it one piece at a time.

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  1. Gary

Hey Chris, did you ever feel frustrated with how your life was going during those times when you went to different colleges, being in law school then quitting, having different jobs and all that stuff? I mean for me I would really get frustrated...

Hey Chris, did you ever feel frustrated with how your life was going during those times when you went to different colleges, being in law school then quitting, having different jobs and all that stuff? I mean for me I would really get frustrated going through all that.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Gary

Hey Gary good question
Yes and no.

I was always so excited to change - so no. I ALWAYS thought I was doing the right thing. I'd end up disappointed when the situation repeated itself and I didn't realize it was ME with the problem.
What was that...

Hey Gary good question
Yes and no.

I was always so excited to change - so no. I ALWAYS thought I was doing the right thing. I'd end up disappointed when the situation repeated itself and I didn't realize it was ME with the problem.
What was that problem?
My sex life.

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  1. Florian

Great article, thanks.

I actually have one question: I agree that having one major goal that I devote 75% of my time is a good idea. That goal, for me, is sleeping with 25 girls this year from Same-Night-Lays.

But can't I have SEVERAL other...

Great article, thanks.

I actually have one question: I agree that having one major goal that I devote 75% of my time is a good idea. That goal, for me, is sleeping with 25 girls this year from Same-Night-Lays.

But can't I have SEVERAL other secondary goals that I work on with small daily habits?
For example, in addition to going out regularly, I am reading 10 - 30 pages of a self-development/dating book on my daily commute, do a full body workout at home for 20 - 30 minutes every morning and aim to talk to 5 people/socialize during my mostly desk job every day. That way, I improve all the time little by little in other areas - and these areas actually support my main goal, and small habits compound over time.
Is that a good way to align myself towards my goal?

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  1. Brad

So does this mean that even a person who has a positive outlook in life and is self-motivated could end up saying he underachieved because of having too many goals?

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