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Three Reasons Highly Driven People Fail to Achieve Their Goals

These pitfalls undermine some of the most driven people on Earth.

With enough ambition, anything is possible. At least, it would seem that way at first glance. But we know that’s not the truth. If it were, you’d be reading this on your private jet to Cairo. Which you probably aren’t.

Drive is a powerful thing, but it’s not the only thing. In fact, there are three reasons in particular that highly driven people fail to achieve their goals. It’s not because they lack initiative. Often, it’s because they relied too heavily upon it.


The sound of your voice

If you haven’t thought about starting a podcast, you’d be lying. By now, most everyone has considered becoming host of their very own talk show. And why not? It’s a fun, exciting place to be. But there’s an undercurrent of something more sinister in the podcast world: the be back soon. It goes a little something like this… a new podcast hits the market. They put out a handful of episodes. Normally around eight or nine.

Then episode ten is released. But it’s shorter than normal. It’s the host. They say they’ve had a blast making the show so far, but they’re going to take a brief hiatus while they tool around with the format. They promise they’ll be back soon. Then, they’re gone. And they stay gone.

Drive can only get you so far. In the realm of podcasting, it’s about ten episodes. In the realm of fitness, it’s two weeks at the beginning of January. When the shine wears off and the work sets in, drive quickly diminishes. In the pursuit of your goals, consistency is more important than drive. It’s having a system in place that causes you to show up each day, regardless of the number of listeners you have. Case in point, one of my current goals is to publish a new article each day. I’ve done it for the last seven months. I’ve published well over 100 articles.

It was hard to keep going when I wasn’t seeing results. That’s where being consistent became invaluable. I had a system that caused me to show up each day. And so I did (and still do). Results have since begun to accumulate drastically. Last month was my best month this year financially. This month looks to be even better. Consistency, with time, equals progress. Focus on being consistent over being “inspired.”


Dishes piled high

You have a lot on your plate. And you like it that way. In a conversation, I ask, “What’s your main focus or goal right now?” You say, “I’m currently on a book deadline. I have six weeks to get the first draft finished. I’m also working on a course that I want to publish this month. What else, what else… hmm… Oh yes, I started a YouTube channel recently. I’m going to publish a new video three times a week. And guess what, I’m starting a podcast too. Want to be a guest?” I let out a sigh.

Your heart’s in the right place. You have a lot of interests and passions. To neglect one feels irresponsible. So you elect to do everything at once. But in doing so, you forget to consult one inflexible law: time.

In the pursuit of your goals, planning is more important than drive. Simple planning would cause you to realize that you don’t physically have enough time to complete all those projects. And certainly not complete them well. Between the book, course, videos, and podcast – and that’s only looking at your professional life – your time is maxed out and then some. When your hair starts to fall out and your body begins to ache, you’ll look in the mirror and wonder why. The reality is that there’s too much on your shoulders. And until you realize how much time you actually have available, your problems will persist.

For example, I currently have ten+ goals. I have a goal to go on a date with my wife once a month, to complete two books a month, to get eight hours of sleep four nights a week, etc. As I set them, I planned for them. I determined how much time would be needed for each. I made room for them in my schedule. In doing so, I ensured their achievement. The time is there for them. I’m consistent. And as the weeks go by, the results stack up.


A loser doubly

I failed to win the election. Twice. Two years in a row, I ran and failed. I was in college and vying for a coveted spot for a club I was in. I made my speech, answered the questions, yet failed. In hindsight, my shortcoming was obvious. I didn’t want the position. I wanted the glory that came with the position. Respect, admiration, prestige. These were things I sought. Not the job itself but what the job would grant me. And in some unconscious way, I think myself and everyone that voted knew that. I was running for the wrong reason.

In the pursuit of your goals, fulfillment is more important than drive. Drive may give you the strength to stand up before a crowded room, but it won’t give you the resolve to speak from your heart. Only something you find truly meaningful can do that.

Instead of pursuing goals based on vanity – money, status, acclaim – set them based on fulfillment. Based on what things will add purpose to your life. Those are the goals that will keep you in the game. Those are the ones that will get you out of bed in the morning. And they’re the ones that make you look forward to Monday on a Sunday night. Your drive may get you to set the goal in the beginning, but the fulfillment you experience will make the consistency needed all the more attainable. For instance, I enjoy writing. It fills me up. So writing each day, even though it’s sometimes challenging, is easy from a consistency standpoint. Same goes for my other goals as well.


Moving forward with drive

Drive is a powerful thing. But it’s not the only thing. And it’s rarely the most important thing when it comes to your goals. Instead of quitting when your drive turns to exhaust, recall the reasons why you are likely to fail. And, more importantly, what you can do about them. For your reference once more, to achieve your goals:

  1. Practice consistency.
  2. Recognize how much time you have available for your pursuits.
  3. Prioritize fulfillment over status.

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