Skip to main content

We are a few days into January. When we make a declaration of a new lifestyle, goal, or habit, it can be hard to stick to it. According to research by the University of Scranton, 92% of people don’t achieve their New Year’s Resolution goals. We want to create habits to be happier and healthier, but change is not always easy. If we genuinely want to discover the best version of ourselves, why do we give up on some of our goals? There are multiple reasons we don’t achieve our goals.

  • We get stuck in all-or-none thinking. Sometimes we don’t even start working towards a goal or habit because it seems too unattainable.
  • When we make a mistake or a slip-up, we give up and revert back to our old habits because sticking to the new one seems too hard.
  • We don’t create a support network and an environment for change
  • Our goals are not specific or measurable.
  • We are worried about changing our identity or how other people perceive us

Another common thing we do is focus on setting goals based on an outcome we desire.  Sometimes we can’t even control those outcomes such as setting a goal for a race result (you can’t control what your competition is doing), a sales goal for our business, or just goals that have outcomes that count on other people’s opinions or ratings.  Setting goals that have outcomes outside of your immediate control can be defeating.  Like for me- I say to myself, “yes! I want to write a NYT Bestselling Book.”  Honestly, setting a goal like that makes it hard for me to even write the book because it seems like so much is out of my control.  A better way to do it would be to commit to writing a certain number of pages per day, hire a really good editor, etc. Those are all things in my control but I can’t control what people will do after I’ve given my best effort.  Another example of an outcome-based goal that is defeating:  I could set a goal to get x downloads per month for this podcast or a goal for ranking at a certain place among other podcasts, but a better goal would be to focus on becoming a better interviewer or coming up with processes to help me promote my show.  Those are things I can control.  See the difference? We also tie our happiness and satisfaction to the outcome of the goal itself, which leaves us in an endless pursuit of saying “I’ll be happy when I achieve X.” There is a problem with being too goal-oriented; the paradox is that we cannot always control the future and thus our outcome, but we can always control our progress through consistent action. So how do you create a goal-setting system that will help you not only get what you want, but also feel satisfied and motivated on a daily basis? The trick is to stop focusing on the endpoint and instead start focusing on your process. If you can feel good about your daily actions working toward something important to you, it will help you stay on track.  You’ll also feel more empowered and in control when the results of your goal setting are 100% within your control. Here are some easy examples of goal setting and actions within your control.

  • Goal: Lose 10 lbs. Process: Meal planning and portion control.
  • Goal: Run a marathon. Process: Create and stick to a training program.
  • Goal: Buy a house. Process: Creating a budget to save money.

Goals are just a point on a map to start you moving in a different direction. Once you start down a new path, enjoy the experiences, the unknowns, and even the setbacks. Each week, look at the processes you’ve laid out for yourself and evaluate whether you are following them.  Celebrate small wins.  If you find that it’s too hard to complete the road map you’ve started with, be flexible enough to adjust it and do less until you can commit to your process each week. Consistency builds confidence.  I find that I am always overzealous with what I think I can achieve in a day or in a week and I always have to readjust. If you find yourself making excuses, read my quick guide on how to be stronger than your excuses. Another resource I highly recommend is picking up James Clear’s book: Atomic Habits.  The entire book is about how to set goals and change your habits.

Listen Now


2 Ways to Give Back to the Show





Yay!  Our Podcast Sponsor- Sufferfest Beer

In 2012, Founder and CEO Caitlin Landesberg started her search for the perfect beer to cheers with friends after long trail runs in and around San Francisco… but didn’t find a beer that fit the bill when it came to celebrating her athletic lifestyle and diet. So, taking matters into her own hands, Caitlin spent years developing the beer she wanted to see in the world. After teaming up with an all-star brewmaster to perfect her recipes, Caitlin started to share her beer with friends and fellow trail runners.  The beer is brewed with built-in superfoods so you can recover, sweat for your beer, and feel good!

Listen Now: The Sonya Looney Show Podcast Episode with Caitlin Landesberg


Don’t Miss an Episode: Subscribe!










Leave a Reply