Achieve Your Life Goals & Ignite Your Passion

If you're making slow or no progress on your life goals, maybe it's time to reassess.

Most people think of January as the Make Progress on Your Life Goals month, but March is when we should really be talking about it. Why? Because it’s the month our progress usually hits a serious slump. Don’t let this happen to you.

There are lots of reasons we start to back off our goals just a few months into the year: bad New Year’s resolutions; poor estimation of the necessary time and resources; feeling discouraged and losing confidence when we haven’t made the progress we thought we would. I’ll write about a lot of these challenges this month, but we have to start at the beginning—with the big life goals we set.

If you don’t feel fascination, excitement, and desire for your goal, you won’t hit it. Click To Tweet

Not sure you know what your big goals are? Download the free Serial Winner Workbook for exercises to help you focus. If you’ve already got big goals but don’t seem to be making much progress toward them, it’s time to test them with these 6 questions.

1. Is this something I really want, or is it something I’m settling for?

I’ve written it and said it before, but it’s worth repeating: We can only be great doing things we really want to do, for our own reasons. If you have set goals that are “settle goals”—because you don’t believe that you’re capable of achieving what you really want—you’ll never be excited or interested enough to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough. If you aren’t making progress, you might have a settle goal.

Have you wanted it for just about as long as you can remember? Are you emotional about it? Do you have a deep-seated, pent up desire for it? That’s what it takes to race forward with all the energy you need to reach the biggest goals.

2. Is it what I want, or is it what other people want?

Having people in our lives who care about us and want the best for us is fantastic. It’s what makes life worth living. But that doesn’t mean we should live our lives for those people.

The best way to add value to others is to live the best life you can, which means going after your own desires. If you’ve been convinced by your wife, your kids, your parents, your best friend, or your boss to take on a goal that isn’t really “yours,” you might as well give up right now.

3. Am I fascinated and excited by it?

Does it turn on your central nervous system? Do you get excited when you meet people who are doing it or who have achieved it? Are you naturally curious, full of questions about how they did it? Do you wake up thinking about it? Do you go to bed thinking about it?

4. Is it remotely realistic, or is it a total fantasy?

A dream is one thing. A fantasy is another. Don’t make the mistake of mixing them up. Your big goals should be big, but don’t delude yourself. Don’t be one of those poor souls who really can’t carry a tune but wastes time trying out for American Idol anyway. I believe that just about anybody can achieve just about anything, but I don’t believe we should lie to ourselves.

I’m never going to beat Phil Mickelson at golf, and I’m never going to be a world famous guitar player. It doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy those things. I’m just not developing my biggest dreams around them and I certainly am not thinking about giving up my day job to start a new career in golf or music.

5. Do I care what others think about my decision to pursue it?

If you care enough about what other people think that you’re letting their doubts and worries hold you back, you must not want it that bad. The only questions that matter to winners are, “Do I really want it?” and “Does it excite me?” If those are getting drowned out by “What will people think when I tell them I’m going for it?” you might need to adjust your goal to something you want more.

6. Am I excited about or interested in all—or at least most of—the steps it will take to get there?

This is an important point, and not one many people talk about. It takes a lot of little steps to achieve our biggest dreams. We better be happy about taking those steps or we’ll never get far down the path. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks.

If you feel a little stuck or like you’re drifting, take a hard look at your life goals and make sure they are everything you want—nothing less and nothing more. You’ll never find yourself wildly excited about and working relentlessly toward the wrong goal. Your enthusiasm is the indicator that tells you if you made the right choice. Pay close attention to it.

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  • Christopher

    Finding the right balance between fantasy and realism is a true challenge—one that often leads to complacency or feeling “stuck”. Thank you for these great practical tips on goal setting. I’m looking forward to implementing them in my life and achieving some more consistent success.

  • Taylor Williams

    This is so powerful! What a great reminder that we should always be working towards goals we are passionate about.