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Why Focussing Too Much On Long-Term Goals Never Works

As humans, we are great at starting projects that never get finished. We fantasize about how amazing we will feel when we finally achieve that end result. But once we start working towards that long-term goal we have set in our mind, we look at how far we have to go, become totally overwhelmed by it, turn around and run in the opposite direction, right back to the steady, comfortable path we were following before.

This is the case for long-term health and fitness goals too.

How many times have you set yourself a New Year’s resolution? “This year I’m going to…” or “This time next year I will be/I will have achieved…” And on how many of those occasions did you stick to your promise, stick to the plan all year long and achieve it?

One of the main reasons people abandon New Year’s resolutions is because the time frame is too long. A whole year is a daunting amount of time to stick to anything, right?

Another reason these crazy-long term goals don’t work is that a lot can change in a year. What if your circumstances change? What if your goals change and you decide you want to achieve something else, something completely different instead? You would likely feel like you’ve failed (again) by changing course.

So if focussing on long-term goals is setting you up to fail, what’s the solution?

The Solution: Focus on Short Term Goals

Forget about that ultimate goal for now, how you want to look, or where you want to be a year from now. Take the long journey one step at a time and focus solely on what you want to achieve this month, this week or even better, today!

Set a clear goal in your mind of the things you want to achieve today/this week/this month and immediately set an action plan to ensure that you smash that short-term goal out of the park!

For example, if you want to lose weight: Do something active every single day. This could include 2 gym-based, weight-training workouts and 2 15-20 minute HIIT circuits at home each week, and a 30-minute walk every other day. This way you have a daily goal (do something active every day) and a weekly goal (4 workouts/week) to track. This is short-term focus in action.

Never focus on completing an entire, long-term project (like losing weight, getting fit, lean and strong). Always break it down into much smaller, far less daunting and much more easily achievable chunks. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do today to keep moving in the right direction and become better than I was yesterday?” Then do it. And repeat the process tomorrow.

This process is transferrable and works great with any goal you want to achieve in other areas of your life too. The next time you’re faced with a huge, daunting task, try it for yourself and experience the results.

Stop obsessing about where you want to be in the distant future, simplify the entire process, reduce the stress and make the whole journey more enjoyable and rewarding by getting focussed on what you can do today to take one more step in the right direction.

Get motivated, take action on today’s tasks and build momentum.

And most importantly, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Putting too much focus on perfection every step of the way is a sure-fire way to drive yourself mad and end up having a break-down.

If you have a bad day or veer away from the plan, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get focussed on the next day’s goals.

This short-term focus is the recipe for long-term success!