Various studies have been carried out on key reasons why good goals fail. Quite remarkably, when all factors have been analysed, it comes down to one thing.
Regardless of the nature of your goal, whether it is to start or grow your business, to reach a certain level of profitability, to keep fit, or fly to the moon, there is only one potential pitfall that can lead to failure.
It’s not lack of resources; it’s not lack of support from others; it’s not lack of ability or talent; it’s not laziness; it’s not procrastination, and it’s not the lack of time or other factors that quickly come into the mind
It is the inability to take consistent action. Being consistently consistent are the key words.
You need to take action on a set of activities or systems that lead to the attainment of the goal. Many people fall into the trap of focusing on the goal and not actions.
Some even go to the extent of writing their goals and hanging them on their office wall or as screen savers on their computers as a constant reminder of where they are headed.
This rarely helps. Once you set a goal, you need to walk the talk. This implies you shift your mental focus from the goal itself to the system that must keep running until it is achieved.
A goal gives you direction, say you want go to Mombasa from Nairobi. Knowing the destination and the road is important, but that cannot take you there. What you need is a system of actions that you must implement consistently until you get there.
It is important to understand the difference between a goal and a system. If your goal is to increase your market share, your system is what you do every day to achieve it.
It may involve training your staff, improving your product, opening more outlets and gathering market intelligence so that you can outmanoeuvre your competitors. If your goal is to be physically fit, your system is the eating, exercising and sleeping schedule that you follow regularly.
By completely ignoring your goals and concentrating only on your system is walking the talk. The results are always rapid and sustainable.
Naturally, it is more beneficial to focus on implementing a system than on a goal, although at the end you get the desired results. Reminding yourself and your staff that this year you must double the profit and that first quarter is almost ending is not necessary. Even if it is, it does not help.
What is important is to list down key things that you have to do daily, weekly or monthly in order to double your profit, and make this the focal point. This may include ensuring good display of your products, ensuring there are no sell-outs, calling or visiting clients regularly and various marketing and promotion strategies.
This means that you do something that contributes to the achievement of your goal on a daily basis. Everyone knows that to be clean you have to bathe, brush your teeth and make your hair on a daily basis, whether you are well or unwell.
The same discipline applies to your other goals. Goals, says James Clear, an accomplished entrepreneur and business coach, “can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win.” Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
To achieve your goal, you must identify the key thing or things that you need to do and do them consistently, if possible every day.