You set out writing a novel by the end of the year.
You have your daily word count goal. You know exactly how your plot is going to go. And you set aside time at the beginning of each day to write. Great!
For the first few weeks, everything goes well! You write each day and you’re excited about how your novel is shaping up.
But then something happens. It starts to get harder and harder to write. Each morning begins to feel like a slog to hit your word count. Then, one morning, you get to your computer, boot up your word processor, put your hands on the keyboard, and … nothing. You don’t feel motivated to keep going with your goal to write a novel.
What do you do then?
The problem with traditional goals
Goals are great.
They can help you achieve success by focusing your efforts on a very defined objective. And coupling goals with effective habits that allow you to achieve them is even better.
But there’s a problem with the way we traditionally approach goals: We often pick the wrong ones.
There’s nothing wrong with goals like “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to write a novel in a year.” Those are very lofty and achievable objectives to have.
BUT if those goals are arbitrary or don’t truly add value to your life, then why are you doing it?
There can be a lot of answers to this:
- “My friends/family are all losing weight. I want to try too!”
- “I saw an article about how the most successful people in the world wake up at 4am each day!”
- “I wanted to write a book because … well, I dunno.”
But if your goal doesn’t actually come from you, it’s not likely that it’s going to work out.
Here at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, we’re all about the Rich Life. That means focusing your time, energy, and money into the things that truly matter to you.
Not your friends. Not your family. Not the people on the internet who totally swear by the Paleo Diet.
That also means choosing your goals based on the things that matter to you too.
How to find out if your goals suck
If you’re wondering if you chose a goal you don’t really care about, don’t worry. We have a system that can help you find out whether or not you should keep going with your goal, pause it, or forget about it completely
And it all boils down to three areas:
- When to push
- When to rest
- When to quit
Let’s take a look at each area now and see what questions you should be asking yourself to see if you should push, rest, or quit.
When to push
Knowing when to push through our fears and challenges is crucial to getting the things we want in life.
However, it’s important to recognize whether or not the goals are really what you should be pursuing.
If you ever find yourself faced with the lack of motivation to get your goal done, start asking yourself the questions below. They’ll help clarify and reorient yourself in your goals.
- Is this goal aligned with what I really want?
- Will not doing this activity today jeopardize my chances of reaching my goal in the time specified?
- If I don’t do this activity right now / today, will I regret it?
- Will not doing this activity today impact someone I care about in a negative way?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, think about pushing ahead with your goal. It’s only when you push through your challenges that you see the biggest growth in your habit forming.
When to rest
Sometimes it isn’t a matter of pushing or quitting. Sometimes you just need a break from your goals. A temporary breather to help you feel invigorated and motivated again.
These can be crucial for achieving any goal and avoiding the dreaded “burnout” — that feeling of working and grinding but without the sense of accomplishment or motivation. It can be devastating to your mental health and deadly to your goals.
That’s why we all need a little break sometimes — and that’s okay. To help you recognize whether or not you should take a break from your goals, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I feeling drained, depleted, and depressed?
- Has my rigidity or commitment to doing this activity every day gotten in the way of my primary relationships?
- Can I take one day off to accomplish my goal in the time specified?
- Is participating in this activity allowing me to ignore other difficult or challenging issues in my life that need my attention?
If you find yourself answering yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider taking a breather. How long that break is depends entirely on your goals. It could be one day. It could be a whole week. No matter what the case, you’re going to want to take this seriously.
That’s because all could greatly benefit from a little self-care from time to time. No, this isn’t an excuse to overindulge or forget about your responsibilities entirely. It’s just a time to take it a little easier and reflect on your goals.
You might even find yourself asking, “Is this goal right for me at all?” In which case, you can move onto our next question:
When to quit
Sometimes, you might realize that a goal you were pursuing isn’t in line with what you actually want.
And that’s okay! You might feel a little dejected and disheartened by it, but you actually save yourself a lot of time and energy when you do.
Take it this way: Would you rather realize that marathon running isn’t a goal you want to pursue three months into training, or 11 months into training when you’ve sunk countless hours into your runs? The former, of course.
Be sure to ask yourself these questions if you ever find yourself lacking motivation to achieve a goal. They might just help you save a lot of time and mental energy:
- Am I completely unmotivated by this goal?
- When I imagine my ideal self one year / five years / 10 years from now, will this goal have contributed to that?
- Have I gained any ground at all in achieving this goal?
- Does this goal contribute to what I want to do and who I want to be overall?
These are perhaps the most important questions you can ask yourself. They ground you in the reality of what you want, and what contributes to that.
If you find yourself saying yes to any of the questions above, you should seriously consider either taking a rest from your goal or quitting.
But I get it: Quitting can be hard for top performers. But sometimes, that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your future.
Avoid the Treadmill of Disappointment
Does this look familiar to you?
If you’re like the vast majority of us, then you should be very familiar with the Treadmill of Disappointment.
It’s a trap we all set for ourselves, where we set a lofty goal and ride a wave of motivation until we all come inevitably crashing down and feeling unmotivated completely.
The question now is how do we avoid the Treadmill of Disappointment?
Simple: We set good goals and form effective habits around them.
Don’t get me wrong; that’s easier said than done. That’s why I want to offer you something to help:
In it, you’ll learn the actionable steps to crush any goal through smart habits, including:
- How to set goals — the RIGHT way
- How to create and implement winning keystone habits
- How to make any habit last forever
Just enter your name and email below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.