Succeed by Making Your Goal a Destination
“I want to lose 25 pounds.”
“I want to travel the world.”
“Be a millionaire.”
Sounds familiar, huh? Those are some pretty common goals people make. But according to research from Scranton University, only 8% of people ever achieve them.
I’m right there with you. I’ve been trying to lose 40 pounds for years. Traveling the world…the only thing on that list I no longer care to do is graduate college.
Why can’t we achieve these goals?
Goals ignore the journey
Zig Ziglar, one of the more popular goal-setting gurus of the last century, encouraged people to create a goals program. But those programs are missing one important thing: you have to make up some arbitrary path to get you there.
Want to lose 25 pounds? Good goal! How are you going to do it?
Here is how I tried to do it recently:
- Eat less than 2,000 calories a day.
- Cardio 4x per week.
- Lift weights 3x per week.
- Cut carbs and increase protein.
- Get an extra 2 hours of sleep.
Will that work? Most likely. But that’s a massive change to how I live right now, and I’ll be honest, I don’t find it all that enjoyable.
But then we get to the worse part: the dreaded deadline.
The internet will tell you that your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T., that a goal without a deadline is just a dream, and that a task expands to the amount of time you give it.
All of that’s true, I suppose, when you’re setting goals, but what happens when you miss the deadline? You lose motivation. It becomes easier to quit.
That’s when depression can sneak in. Why can’t you be like all the sexy Instagram models?
There’s a better way.
Focus on destinations
Destinations are goals, but they’re also part of the journey. Every day, you make an effort to get closer to your destination. Even if you only take a few steps, you’ll eventually arrive. And the closer you get, the less likely you are to quit.
Not so with goals. While you’re chasing a goal and mess up near the end, you might be tempted to say, “I got close enough. I’m happy here.”
Destinations don’t allow for half-measures. If you haven’t arrived yet, then you haven’t arrived. You might be close, but you’re still n the desert.
Getting to a destination can take a long time or not, and could come with a deadline. The secret is in the renaming of the term. “Goal” has come to mean a lofty ideal, while “destination” changes our mindset to a place we want to arrive at.
You can’t be in two places at once
Goals programs, like Zig Ziglar’s, teach to only work on a few goals at once. But even this is a high number when your goals are big enough.
You only have so much willpower each day. It’s a finite resource. You’ll be more successful if you focus it all on one single effort.
The idea of traveling to a destination helps with this concept. You can’t be in two places at once, so you pick a destination and head in that direction until you arrive.
There may be detours along the way — mini-destinations you don’t plan for, but that pop-up and deserve your attention — but you’ll eventually arrive and can choose another destination.
How do you choose your first destination
I would say you choose the one that you need first if there’s a hierarchy. If there’s not, which one will benefit you the most? Or which one is closer?
When I wanted to start traveling more, I began with locales close to where I lived. Unfortunately, I live in Las Vegas, so it’s a fair distance to anything that isn’t sand, but off I went. That got the momentum going, and I eventually landed in New York, across the whole country.
But before I could do any of that traveling, I needed to get my finances in order. Funds were required to travel, but I also have a family I need to take care of. That goal had to come first.
Arriving at your destination will be a wonderful thing. But stressing out until you get there will ruin your enjoyment of it.
The only way to truly enjoy the journey is to focus on the journey. Don’t worry about the many steps of your goals program. Take it one step — one day — at a time, continually finding ways to move closer to your destination.
You can do it. I know you can.