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Why Goals Don’t Work

Why Goals Don’t Work

Yes you heard right – goals don’t work !!  Before you think I’ve gone crazy let me explain.

Think of New Year’s Eve you have just make a resolution. You are excited because you think this is going to be your year to get fit, save more, meal plan etc. Yes this year everything’s going to be amazing.

Then New Year’s Day rocks around, if you are anything like me you probably have a little bit of a champagne headache, and so you are feeling slightly less enthused about your goal. Then you head back to work and get busy with life and before you know its February and you’ve forgotten all about it.

Sound familiar ?

This is a very common story because only 9% percent of people achieve their new year’s resolution.

The good news is it’s not your fault !!

The reason we fail is because we haven’t tested whether the goal we have set is really important to us. We haven’t seen if it aligns with our values. Our values are what sits behind our goal it’s what drives or motivates us.

If you set a goal like running and you haven’t really assessed why it’s important to you then chances are you aren’t going to stick to it.

I’ve seen this happen with me and Park Run. I tried Park Run about 6 years ago. I showed up and did one run and then didn’t have any motivation to go back. But this year I decided to do it again . For those of you who don’t know Park Run is a 5km timed run and there are different Park Runs all around the world.

As I have been running over the past few weeks (ok it’s more like a shuffle) it has occurred to me why this time I was successful with sticking to Park Run.

You see this year I wanted to do Park Run because I wanted to reconnect with my friends and do something together not because I wanted to get fit.

I used to play soccer with them but now soccer is too big of a commitment but I was really missing the comradery of a team. So I joined their Park Run Team (Workout Wenches). We have a Facebook group where we share results and photos. We support each other by high fiving around the course or cheering each other over the finish line.

So when I tried to do Park Run years ago I didn’t stick to it as I was doing it to “get fit”.  But if I’m being really honest I didn’t value getting fit. But this time I’m doing Park Run because I wanted to spend time with my friends and be part of a team again. Because I value my friendships highly I have stuck to Park Run.

So when you set a goal you need to assess whether it aligns with your values and is really important to you.  Because if it doesn’t match your values then you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Lets look at this in the context of saving money.

You might set a goal of saving money for a house. But you just cant seem to stick to your budget. Chances are it’s because you don’t really want a house because you don’t really value security.

Your saving for a house because you think it’s the right thing to do. But maybe you would it easier to save if it was for a holiday as you really value freedom or adventure.

Goals that don’t align with your values rarely work.

So the next time you set a goal stop and ask yourself – what values does this reflect ? Is this really important to me ?

Pro Tip: if you want to increase your chance at achieving your goals then Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, tells us by just writing them down you are 42% more likely to achieve them and the chance increases when you tell someone else. So if you are serious about your goal why not jump into our free community The Savings Squad and let us know what you are working towards.

The information (including taxation) provided in this blog is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice and consider the Product Disclosure Statement. The author, Adele Martin, is a Certified Financial Planner at Firefly Wealth which is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429. The views expressed in the blog are solely those of the author, they are not reflective or indicative of RI licensees’ position and are not attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the author.

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