Goal Setting - The real reason you aren't achieving your goals

Self delusion: When Your Goals Aren’t Really Your Goals


Have you had the same goals for while? Have you not been able to achieve them? This is my take on where you may be going wrong.

Have you ever HAD to do something? I’m not talking about an arduous chore that allows for procrastination; I’m talking about urgency. These days the most extreme example of this is a dissertation or essay, that with 3 days until hand in, only has the title written. The fact of the matter is, we live in a pretty comfortable world. The need for physical prowess in order to survive is now a millennia in the past. When it comes to HAVING to do something, the repercussions from failing aren’t that severe.


The easiest people to get in shape are the ones who do nothing. I don’t mean easy as a given, but if someone does no form of exercise, eats shit and is highly stressed, you should get a somewhat decent response by cleaning up their diet and just getting them moving. The hardest people to get in shape are the ones who do eat well and train hard. This article will explain why.

I deal with a lot of people who are in exercise purgatory. They are in a perpetual plateau of eating clean and training multiple times a week, yet they look and feel exactly the same. It’s very frustrating and is usually met with a lot of confusion and annoyance. However from an external observation, the reasoning behind lack of progression is very clear.

The Painful Truth

When you don’t achieve a goal, the only person responsible for it is you. How you interpret this will actually give you a useful insight in to your personality. If your first reaction is “What? Fuck you! My job is very stressful and it costs a fortune to eat and train well” then you fall firmly in to the category of “victimisation”.

People who see themselves as victims also believe they have self entitlement. They have a mindset where everything should be given or done for them. This is characterised by materialistic purchases and extravagant trips to exotic destinations. Their focus is on finding happiness through instant gratification and the approval of others.

“Wow that person has a new car, they must be doing well for themselves”

The problem these people have is that they will never achieve anything that requires true hard work and dedication. Getting strong and lean requires persistence, consistency and a fuck load of hard work. It is not something that can be bought or given to you. Blaming the external environment for your failures is the biggest indication you have not developed the correct mindset to progress.

Self Analysis: Taking Responsibility

So let’s ask that initial question again. Who is responsible for your lack of progression? Although I don’t want to give you the answer, I can tell you that responding with “I am” will be one of the most empowering things you can ever do.

I’m a huge fan of Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset”. If you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend giving it a read. It will teach you how to see your failures in positive way but also help differentiation between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the ONLY outlook that will enable you to achieve a goal.

Goal Setting: Why It Matters

Let’s go back to my original topic of urgency. If someone said to you that you have to achieve a goal in a certain matter of time or they will shoot you in the head, would you be able to do it? Morbid I know but stop to think about this. When it boils down to it, if you want something bad enough, you find a way of achieving it.

Now I’m not trying to endorse extreme protocols here. I don’t mean you have to eat nothing but vegetables and meat your entire life if your goal is body composition. What I am talking about here is prioritisation, not methodology.

“The idea of having a goal is a lot more enticing to people than actually achieving it.”

I’m going to win world’s strongest man. I’m going to inspire millions of people to eat right and train hard whilst simultaneously curing cancer and aids together. It’s a nice goal and if I told you that, you’d probably think I’m a pretty decent guy.

The reality is, I could say that all I want, but if I’m not actively going out there, putting my words in to action and producing results, my proclamations don’t mean shit. Actions speak louder than words.

A lot of people come to me and say they want to be ripped. I want to have a 6 pack or single digit body fat levels. That’s cool and I’m happy to help but you’ve got to SHOW me that you can do that. This doesn’t mean intervals at 5am 7 times a week on a Keto diet. It just means compliance and prioritisation of your programme. Otherwise, the goal you so heavily claim to desire isn’t actually your goal.

Is it really about aesthetics?

I think far too many people are focused on looking a certain way based on the gratification they presume they will get once it’s achieved. I can tell you from first hand experience that happiness and lower amounts of body fat are not directly proportional. Basing your self esteem on the approval of others is a dangerous game to play. The more you put yourself in a position of judgement, the more you will be judged.

This is by no means a pop at the world of physique training, far from it. I see the levels of dedication these athletes go through first hand and it is nothing short of admirable. What I am talking about is people who believe their visual appearance will provide them with happiness, but don’t actively make the appropriate amendments to change.

What to do?

So what’s the point of this article? That’s a question I ask myself on a regular basis when writing. Although this one has a few tangents and is a bit “ranty”, my overall message is this. If you’ve had the same goal for a long period of time, yet haven’t achieved it, then that isn’t actually your goal. You need to re-assess your priorities and take an honest look at whether you’re continually lying to yourself.

I’m a big believer that there is very little different between the greatest entrepreneurs of the world and your regular average joe. The only thing that separates them is the mental attitude that they have decided to do something and will do it. It’s as simple as that. These people have a burning desire to achieve a goal and so prioritise it no matter what. Do you think Michael Jordan finished watching his favourite TV show before going out to practice? Or that Roger Federer missed a training session because his friends asked him to go out for a few drinks?

It’s all about honesty and prioritisation. Everything works in the fitness industry when given enough time. Do not blame methodologies when you have little to no accountability yourself.