Seven Reasons Your Goals Aren’t Working

Seven Reasons Your Goals Aren’t Working

You know those goals swirling around in your head? The ideas you've only shared with those closest to you—or perhaps no one at all? You want to take action on them, but something's standing in your way.

Well, we've heard ALL the reasons, and we're here to help. Let's bust through these myths one by one, together! 

1. "It takes a lot of time to set goals."
Ever wonder why Ted Talks are exactly 18 minutes—no more, no less? Let's get fancy and talk neuroscience for a minute. There's this thing called cognitive backlog. Research shows that our brains process an ideal amount of information to affect change in 18 to 20 minutes. Any less and our brains don't get enough info to commit—sort of like speed dating. Any more, and our stress receptors go up and we fall into cognitive overload—it's simply too much!

There's a sweet spot that helps our brains connect to what matters. How does this help us with our goals? It takes an average of 18 minutes per month to do the 8 goal setting pages in the PowerSheets®—guided worksheets that help you prioritize your time, energize your life, and eliminate unnecessary to-do's. If it only took two minutes a month, you wouldn't get much out of it! Your brain would forget and you'd find yourself at the end of another year wondering where it went.

18 minutes is just what you need! That's about the same amount of time it takes to watch a TV show (minus commercials), fold a load of laundry, meal plan for the week, get ready for work, tidy the house, unload the dishwasher 3 times, or prep for dinner. These 18 minutes are different, though—these 18 minutes help you prioritize what matters and use your time intentionally instead of by accident. A lot can happen in 18 minutes. This 18 minutes could change your life.

Feel like you don't have any time to spare? In 2018, Americans spent an average of 40 minutes a day on social media. What would happen if we traded a little social media time for life-giving goal time? 

18 minutes is the sweet spot your brain needs to connect to what matters and become convinced to act on it - and that's not long at all!

2. "I'm just a fill in the blank."
You fight feelings of not being enough, saying to yourself that you are "just" a student, "just" a stay-at-home mom, "just" an empty-nester—or whatever it is that creeps into your heart from time to time (or perhaps all the time). We all have those moments where comparison or cultural pressures try to tell us we're not enough.

There's so much noise out there and we're here to help you cut right through it so you can live out what matters to you. It's time to lay some truth down, friends! You're not just anything—you're YOU. Marvelous, wonderful you! And your goals matter enough to cultivate them—growing them over time as you take small steps forward (and some big leaps along the way, too). You were put on this Earth for a reason, and it's time to make it happen. Next time the "justs" start trying to crush your goal-getting mojo, get after them and say this out loud: I am just ME! Marvelous, intentional, perfectly imperfect ME!

3. "My goals don't feel lofty enough – I just want to be able to finish my laundry every week!"
All hail the magic of finished laundry! :) How do you balance the day-to-day with the big-picture, though? It can feel impossible, can't it? Our daily to-dos can press in on us most days, leaving no time for anything else."Big" goals? Ha! Maybe someday when there's no more laundry to do! A.k.a never. 

On top of that, when we see other people's goals that seem "bigger" than ours, it can make a girl feel like her life is going nowhere. Ready for some really good news? The mundane takes on a whole new meaning when you look at it through a cultivated lens. Little conversations on a lunch break with a new friend can add up to a lifelong friendship. Practicing piano for five minutes a day can add up to a life of music.

Little by little, the small things add up to the big things. The seemingly small everyday things add up to a life. Our lives will bloom through daily decisions and habits—daily tending, nurturing, and pruning—not just the giant leaps made once in a while—laundry included. It matters. The big leaps are important, but the way we live every moment—even the seemingly mundane parts of our days—can add up to a life of purpose. 

4. "Taking time to set my own goals feels selfish." You are speaking our language! It definitely can be. That's why we do things differently. Instead of focusing only on ourselves without thinking of anyone else, we are here to guide you to intentionally fill your well so you can love others.

Think about it. What would happen to the people in your life if you lived out your purpose and used your gifts and talents well? Would they be blessed, too? If the answer is yes, lean in. Taking time to prioritize is like planting seeds for everyone around you—little by little, you'll gain new energy and focus to cultivate what matters in your life. That creates a ripple effect in the lives of those around you, too! Cultivated goal setting is about loving others well.

5. "The PowerSheets are too pretty; I don't want to mess them up!" Gather 'round. Let's chat, my friend! First of all, you are not alone! When we get a new journal, or notepad, or set of PowerSheets, it can be tempting to want to keep them looking pristine. But. But but but! Real talk: where is that going to get you? Are you going to let your pen choice or handwriting stop you from making what matters happen? Didn't think so. Make a mess! ;)

6. "I'm afraid of failing." Us, too! And ready for some good news? That's good! If you're scared, it means you care about that thing! It's a sign there's something there worth conquering. Fear is an opportunity (you'll cover this in the pages of your PowerSheets). When you get honest about what's holding you back, you open yourself to good change. Little by little, you can exchange a life of fear for a life that fires you up!

7. "I'm scared to know my purpose." Do you know what's funny? More of us are more afraid of success than we are of failure. Why is that, though? For many of us, the thought of knowing our purpose and actually succeeding in it feels like it's going to be a big life change. (Are you feeling that?) And sometimes, it can feel impossible, right? (Feeling that, too??)

For a moment, though, let's just imagine it. How would you feel if you knew you were living on purpose instead of by accident? What would that look like? How would your life change if you had clear goals and quiet confidence in your path? It's almost hard to imagine, isn't it!? We can feel so far away from getting there. But, that's the beauty of cultivating. Success doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't need to. Little by little, as you lean into your purpose, and away from all the noise out there, you will feel equipped and confident.

Your turn! Which point was your favorite?
Did one stand out to you? Tell us in the comments below!

P.S. We're here to guide you and cheer you on every step of the way! Bookmark this post for the days you need a refresh (we all do!), and get ready for some real motivation when the 2022 PowerSheets Collection launches on October 6th! We've refreshed every aspect of 2022 PowerSheets and we cannot WAIT for you to see them!

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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