The Harsh Reality About Goals

Why do some people accomplish all of their goals and others don’t?

More talent? Discipline? Help?

Not exactly.

It would be convenient if success was just about setting “SMART” goals. These are good guidelines and a great acronym, but to me this is not the differentiator between success and failure.

(SMART refers to setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely)

What truly seems to separate goal-dreamers and goal-reachers is this:

Sacrificing almost everything else.

Sound like a bit much?


Sound like too much for you? I understand, but those that will do this will be exponentially more likely to find success.

Stay with me here: Pick one goal that you want to achieve in the next 1-3 years.

Got it?

Now, honestly ask yourself these questions:

“What will I am I honestly willing to give up in order to achieve that goal?” The more you are willing to give up, the higher likelihood that you will achieve that goal.

“What activities will I say “no” to in order to achieve that goal?” The more you are willing to say “no” to that does not contribute to reaching the goal, the more likely you will be to achieve that goal.  

“Which of my other priorities will I downgrade in order to make room for that goal?” The more competing priorities you can eliminate, the more likely you are to achieve that goal.

Are you willing to do this?

Make a list of all the things in your life you are going to eliminate in order to reach your goal.

You cannot do it all. Nobody can.

But you can achieve your goals. One at a time.

As the old saying goes “If we do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got.”

In order to change your outcomes (goals) you need to change your behavior. However, you cannot keep adding behaviors indefinitely. You need to delete some to make room.

This may mean you need to give up your idea of remaining in your home state after college to obtain the career track you want.

This may mean you need to give up making the highest salary possible for a job where you will connect and learn from the right people.

This may mean you give up alcohol in order to read a book every week.

Or maybe it’s saying “no” to extracurriculars in order to focus on getting your gpa up.

What’s most important to you?

Even more importantly: what are you willing to give up until you get that?  

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.