Did you know that people who write down their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve them?
Without discussing whether this number holds true in the real world, we have the gut feeling that writing down our goals makes it more likely to reach them.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with getting my goals onto paper that paved the way for me to make 2019 my best year ever.
In this post, I want to show you how I failed to achieve all 10 goals I wanted to reach in 2019. But most importantly, I want to share with you the lessons I learned from my failure.
At the beginning of the year, I was hesitating over whether I should share my goals with my readers to enhance the likelihood of success. Unfortunately, I wasn’t brave enough to get my goals published.
Now is the time when I get fully transparent and share my goals with you in retrospect. Inspired by Matthew Kent, below I provide a list of my goals along with my report and the key takeaways.
I hope my case studies will help you to achieve your goals in 2020! Let’s dive in…
What you’ll find below is a complete list of my goals in 2019, along with the Life accounts individual goals fit into. In my Life Plan, I identified 6 Life accounts representing all major life domains from health to family to career.
There’re two types of goals on my list:
- Single achievements: these can be considered as classic goals with a clear deadline and completion.
- Habit goals: although habit goals can have deadlines, they’re essentially regular activities.
You might notice that I articulated my goals following the rules I learned from self-help books:
- They begin with an action verb
- They’re specific
- They’re measurable
- They’re time-bound
My goals might seem very basic. As a new dad, however, I wanted to start small. You might also miss some important items from the list:
- I’ve already established a daily reading routine
- I’d get up at 5:00 a.m. except for the weekend
- I now have a solid TWWT (Thinking-While-Walking-Time) routine
- I write in my journal only when I feel like
The remaining was left for 2019…
Goal #1: Go to the gym 1 x per week – habit goal (Life account: Health & Spirit)
Although my original goal was lifting weights at least twice a week, I wanted to set a more realistic target. So, I made a commitment that I’ll show up in the gym once per week.
Honestly, I haven’t measured my progress with a habit tracker, but months went by without me picking up a barbell. It wasn’t until October that I settled with a solid weekly routine of strength training.
Takeaway: I must maintain momentum and keep up the hard work.
Goal #2: Meditate 3 x 10 min per week – habit goal (Life account: Health & Spirit)
Picking up meditation as a core habit has long been on my wish list.
In 2019, I procrastinated until I failed at this goal. What I learned, however, was that starting small could be a smart decision. I learned from Paul Minors that taking one slow deep breath every day is a nice way to develop the habit over the long haul.
Takeaway: I must begin with baby steps and acquire the one-slow-deep-breath-per-day technique.
Goal #3: Immerse myself into different new sports and pick one for a lifetime (Life account: Health & Spirit)
Over the years, I’ve painstakingly struggled with exercise. I found that the only motivation for me to get my butt moving is finding a sport that I enjoy.
That’s why I wanted to immerse myself into a handful of sports to pinpoint what I’m passionate about. I was extremely excited about this goal.
I have to admit, however, that this was the biggest failure in 2019. The year passed without me immersing myself into a single new activity.
I attribute my failure to the lack of accountability: I couldn’t find friends to team up with.
Takeaway: I must first find an accountability partner who is ready to take action. Alternatively, I could engage in sports that I’d been practicing earlier.
Goal #4: Ride my bike 2 x per week with a min. total travel distance of 40 miles (Life account: Health & Spirit)
I failed to appropriately measure my progress with this goal, but I’m quite happy with the results. It’s a seasonal goal. And over the summer season, I mostly achieved my weekly milestones.
Takeaway: I must track my progress with my VDO cycling computer to figure out where I’m heading with my plan.
Goal #5: Organize family gatherings and trips 1 x per month (Life account: Family)
Although I’d spend lots of time with my family, we rarely gather for a reason or go out for a trip. I articulated this goal with the mission to bring the family together and enjoy our time together.
This goal, beyond question, fostered a more conscious self-gathering habit, but it didn’t bring unprecedented success.
Although I could easily shift the blame onto my family, it was me who wasn’t more proactive.
Takeaway: I must develop a strategic plan to ensure that those gatherings and trips take place regularly.
Goal #6: Immerse myself into avocational activities 1 x per month (mostly Fridays) (Life account: Hobbies)
With this goal, I aimed at enjoying some free time with friends and colleagues. I planned that I’d go out on a Friday evening every month.
I realized downstream that I was far too optimistic about this goal. There was always an excuse that prevented me from going out with friends.
Takeaway: I must completely rethink and reformulate this goal.
Goal #7: Take a guided canoe tour on the Ipoly river (Life account: Hobbies)
Again, I was far too optimistic about this goal. I couldn’t find accountability and missed the registration.
Takeaway: I must find accountability, schedule the tour as early in the year as possible, and pay the fee in advance to ensure that I won’t quit.
Goal #8: Build my blog to get 10,000 visitors per month and 1,000 email subscribers by the end of the year (Life account: Career)
Beyond question, this was my One Thing in 2019! I worked on this goal every single day. And I wholeheartedly committed myself to my progress.
This is the only goal that I don’t feel guilty about. And I enjoyed every single minute of hard work I’ve put into my blog.
Unfortunately, the projected numbers were far too optimistic estimations. I can say this goal was one of the biggest failures in terms of numbers, but, at the same time, the biggest return on investment. By the end of the year, I reached only about some 10 percent of the numbers projected…
But I learned pretty much everything I could along the process from SEO to email marketing to writing.
Takeaway: Don’t do what experts say; just do what they do! SEO is king.
Goal #9: Find a foreign Skype (and accountability) partner and chat 1 x per week (Life account: Career)
I suck at speaking English. That’s why I wanted to find a foreign Skype partner, who, at the same time, serves as an accountability partner to reach my goals in the calendar year.
I’d been procrastinating over this goal for half a year. Then I made a few attempts to find my accountability partner. And after that, I completely failed.
What a shame on me!
Takeaway: I must honor my calendar and take baby steps to find my perfect language partner. Or maybe I must completely rethink how I approach language learning.
Goal #10: Participate in 3 meetups/workshops/mastermind groups (Life account: Social)
I’ve long been dreaming of joining a mastermind group and attending meetups. This goal was in line with my personal development plan.
I ended up with a single participation in an SEO meetup.
Better than nothing.
Takeaway: I must scale up and attend meetups and workshops more frequently. Maybe I will found a mastermind group…
Lessons you can learn from failing to achieve your goals
I could say that 2019 was a poor year. Although it wasn’t my best year ever and I missed out a lot, I learned a lot along the process. I got better at goal setting. And I moved the needle.
Here’s, in a nutshell, what I learned about how you can achieve your goals:
- No matter what system you use for goal setting, just stick with it—don’t seek perfection
- Only set goals that you’re wholeheartedly dedicated to
- Think on half-year goals
- Begin with baby steps and gain momentum
- Always check in and set your weekly targets
- Don’t do what experts say; just do what they do
- Find accountability—it can be a coach, an accountability partner, or a payment to ensure that you won’t quit
- Experiment like crazy
I hope my lessons could help you to achieve your goals in 2020 and beyond.
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