Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve made a plan to strive for something you want, yet no matter what you do you just can’t seem to arrive at the place that you’ve first envisioned? It was very clear at the start, but for some reason or another you fail or lose passion or any number of reasons for not achieving your goal.

There are plenty of popular ones to choose from, but probably the one that most will relate to is weight-loss – or should I say NOT losing weight when we plan to. There are countless people out there who try and try and try, but no matter what they do they can’t seem to drop the weight!

This isn’t just about weight-loss either, this is about a great deal of things that fall into this category of non-result: New Year’s resolutions, quitting smoking, healthier eating, reading more, keeping a cleaner house, and so many more that I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count on!

The interesting part is when we get these results – the ones we don’t want – we then justify to ourselves and others why we weren’t able to do or achieve it.

“I’m too old now…”

“I just can’t break the habit.”

“It must be my genes.”

“I’ve been doing this for too long now, I just can’t change.”

Again, there are just as many excuses and beliefs out there as there are broken promises to ourselves.

But there are people out there who are reaching their goals that are defying the odds and changing who they were for an experience more fulfilling. We hear about them almost every day. We hear about them and maybe get inspired for a bit, or decide to jump into the excuse pattern – because making the excuse is easier to deal with. Making an excuse takes away responsibility from us.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it IS your responsibility. I’m here to tell you that the reason that you didn’t achieve ‘such and such’ is entirely to do with you and no one else.

Now, before you go punching your computer monitor and cursing my name – let me explain. But even better than just explaining, I’ll give you the reasons why and more importantly – the way to ensure that every time you set a personal or professional goal for yourself, that you can achieve it. And achieve it easily!

It’s defined by a simple principle called, “Direction determines Destination.” And guess what, you’re already familiar with this principle! The principle says that between point A and point B there are 2 things: direction and distance. To get from point A to point B you must head in the direction of where point B is, and you must travel the actual distance between the 2 points.

Let’s go with an everyday example: you’re in Melbourne and you intend to go to Sydney. The distance between the 2 points is fixed; Sydney’s not going anywhere soon, so the direction won’t change on the trip. It’s as simple as aiming for Sydney and not stopping until you get there.

Let me repeat, because this is fundamental to your success. You AIM FOR your point B, and DO NOT STOP until you get there.

Ok, but if it’s that simple why do so many people fail to hit the targets that they set? I’m going to put it to you that it’s because as adults we’ve become weak in character. As adults, we’ve grown so accustomed to hating the failure during the process that we will only suffer up to a few setbacks towards our goals before we pack up and go home.

We are lucky that we learned to walk as a child. A child doesn’t worry about failure along the way, a child doesn’t make excuses when learning to walk. They attempt one thing that doesn’t work and they try another thing. Maybe they aren’t strong enough when they start, but as they continue to try their strength builds.

Through trial and error, through building strength and technique, through never considering the possibility of anything other than the end in mind – walking – the child eventually succeeds. They have overcome any previous barriers. At no time did they say, “I’ve never walked before, so I can’t do it.”

As adults if we used our same philosophies for success to learn how to walk, then we’d give it a go a couple of times – get sick of failing and just continue to crawl. Because it would be easier to crawl than to face having all the failures before the success. In fact, as adults we are so short-sighted that in our failure we forget about what the success would look and feel like. And in forgetting what the end will give us, we give up.

So, how can we overcome this recurring problem? What steps can we take to ensure that we achieve what we want on a more consistent basis?

Since this article isn’t about setting goals, I’m not going to concentrate on that subject too much. However, it is in the manner of goal-setting that is one of the keys to your success. This article is mainly concerned with the principle, “Direction determines Destination.”

So, let’s go right back to the start of the process – right at the beginning where you are inspired to take action on something. Let’s go with a popular one: weight-loss.

On one day, for whatever reason, you have decided enough is enough – you’re going to reduce your weight. It’s bugged you for a while, but today you’ve decided is the first day of thinking differently.

Without doing any study, we all know the basic mechanics of weight-loss – input (food) versus output (exercise). If our output is greater than our input, then the weight is reduced. It is no more complicated than that. The television show, The Biggest Loser is an extreme example of this. Whether you agree with the methods, it is clear – the contestant’s output is dramatically elevated compared to their input and as a result, the weight is reduced.

Ok, back to ‘you’.

So you’ve decided to reduce your weight. You know that you’ve got to change some things that you normally do to achieve that goal – what you eat and your activity level. You join a gym, you buy a pair of scales and make some different meal plans. Everything is going great! You’re travelling in the direction of your goal!

At the end of your first week, let’s say you’ve had positive progress and you’ve reduced your weight by 1kg. Excellent! Your hard work is paying off. The second week comes and you’ve continued with your resolve – gym, good food and good habits. At the end that week you’ve continued to reduce your weight – you’re now 2.2kg less than when you started! Fantastic! You’ve done so well, you deserve a donut.

I mean, a donut can’t hurt – you’re already 2.2kg less than when you started, so a small donut as a reward will be fine…

But I’m here to tell you that the donut has taken you off course. That decision has changed the direction that you’re heading in. That change of direction has now changed your destination.

This is an interesting point, because it’s easy to justify or condemn yourself for this. But it is at this point that it is most important ask yourself if this is the direction that you want to travel. It is at this point that you must ask yourself if this direction will get you to the destination you want. And in travelling in this direction, will you reach your destination when you wish to.

Direction determines Destination. You are always travelling somewhere. You can travel to Sydney from Melbourne by going via Adelaide, but it will cost you more and will take much, much longer. You can still reduce weight by having a donut reward now and then, but it will take you longer to do it.

The point is not about whether to have the donut or not, the point is about the destination that you want to reach and within what timeframe. The point is to take responsibility for the direction that you set your course for in order to reach your destination.

Your success relies on you continuing to stay very clear on what your outcome is. What do you want? Why have you made this decision in the first place? Who do you want to be? What will it mean to you to have achieved this goal? Who will you become as a result of achieving your outcome? What benefits will you and those around you experience as a result of you achieving this goal?

I believe your resolve to complete your mission, to cross the finish line, to achieve your outcome, to pass the test, to reach your goals comes down to how clear and how long you can picture the end in mind at the start.

Losing focus on what the end is and the reason for it leaves you crawling on the floor and cowering from failure. A child NEVER loses sight of its goal to walk. A child doesn’t look for a detour or to make excuses when learning to walk. A child is never disheartened by falling down, it will get right back up again. A child doesn’t even acknowledge failure. A child doesn’t spit the dummy (irresistible pun!) when it cannot reach its goal within a certain timeframe. The child just does what it has to do!

Think about a goal that you’ve set and that you either haven’t reached or took much longer to reach than really necessary. Was everything that you did taking you in the direction of your goal? When you did something that took you in a slightly different direction, did you course-correct or did you continue on that course? Did you take responsibility for not reaching your goal, or did you look to blame it on something or someone else?

Here are the keys to keeping yourself on track, to making sure you’re on the right path to reaching your destination as quickly as possible.

    1. Choose and be extremely clear on your goal. The more you understand what your goal is, why you want it, what achieving it will do for you and those around you, the easier it will be to keep an arrow-like focus on it. Ask yourself the questions that give you an emotional response so you can see, hear and feel what the end result would be. What would you be telling yourself when you achieve it? This kind of clarity is what keeps you on course when the hurdles and challenges come up. This process is deciding on your destination.
    2. Plan the path you need to take to travel to your destination. Plan the path that directs your journey in the most fulfilling and enjoyable way to get to your destination. It’s no good planning a path that is unsustainable or not enjoyable - you’ll do it for a day or so and then quit. Conspire for your success! Plan a path that is ecological - good for you, good for others and good for the greater good. This process is deciding and understanding your direction.
    3. Continue to remind yourself why you’re striving for your goal. This is so important. This, I believe, is where people fall down most - forgetting their ‘why’. The more often you are reminded of why you are doing something, the more often you can see yourself having achieved it, the more often you can feel what you would feel when you’ve done it - the stronger the chances are that you’ll keep pushing towards your goal.
    4. Course-correct if you hit a hurdle. Hitting a hurdle doesn’t mean failure. When a plane flying to Hawaii hits turbulence and is bumped off course a little, they don’t abandon the flight or turn back and start again. The pilot re-adjusts the course of the plane so that they still arrive at Hawaii. The hurdles are built in to life. If you hit a hurdle, acknowledge the hurdle. Learn from it. Adjust your course and remind yourself of your ‘why’.
    5. Never, EVER give up! You created the goal for a reason. You created it because you wanted something better in your life. Something to aspire to, something to claim victory over - yourself or something external to you. Your reason is why you start, continue and finish. Never lose sight of it and never give up. Giving up will allow you to make excuses and leave you crawling rather than walking.

I guarantee that if you follow these 5 keys to achieving your goals, if you remain clear on your ‘why’, travel in the direction that leads to where you want to go and course correct when needed, as long as you don’t give up you’ll be reaching more goals more often than ever before.

Now get up off the floor and start walking!

Author's Bio: 

Youarn Bell is a coach and trainer based in Australia with a growing reputation for helping people from all walks of life to push past their perceived limits and drastically improve their life rapidly. Visit: http://www.exclusivesuccessstrategies.com for more information.