If you set goals now, will you reach them by the end of 2020?

The chances are good that you won’t. That’s right; you probably will not reach your goals next year. I am not talking about the annual New Year’s resolutions. I mean real, concrete, and often career-enhancing goals in business. Before you quit reading, let me explain.

First of all, if you are setting goals, pat yourself on the back. According to most sources, anywhere from 80-90% of the population don’t even bother, even in business. 

We all have great intentions and plans to do better, and we think that we will be disciplined and give up the cookies, chips, or ice cream after dinner, but we don’t. The business equivalent is that we vow we will no longer procrastinate, that we will run productive meetings, return emails, or deliver our projects on time. Unfortunately, according to Franklin Covey, one-third of the people who do set goals don’t even make it past the end of January if they get going at all.

There are multiple reasons that those who do set goals fail. Often it is because someone else has set them, and we don’t agree, so we are not focused on them; or that we have set unrealistic goals, applying to a high-level role without the experience required for the job, for example. 

Another challenge is that we set goals for the advancement of our future self, and if we do not see quick results, we tend to quit. Those first few weeks of doing something new are almost always hard. Goals do not happen instantaneously and they take time and commitment to achieve.

So, what is the trick? What do we need to do? The trick is developing new habits in support of our goals, and rewarding ourselves when we have small successes. New habits and rewards. That’s it!

These two proven techniques are essential to success!

It’s not easy. To set a goal that will start a new behavior or change an existing one, we have to create a new habit. Habits serve as the foundation of all of our accomplishments. We build them through repetition. The brain learns to pick up repeated activities, subconsciously, and habit memory gets incrementally stronger. We have to keep doing something over and over to form a habit.

If we rely on willpower to change a habit, it probably will not work; our habit memory will stick around longer than our desire to change. That is why so many people fail. Positive reinforcement in the form of rewards assists us in developing new habits to reach goals, and it keeps us going, increasing the likelihood that we will succeed. A University of Chicago study found that the most significant predictor that people would follow through with their long-term goals was whether they received an immediate reward when they did something toward accomplishing the goal. 

When we do something that we enjoy, we are likely to do it again in the future. When rewarded immediately, the brain releases dopamine and ties that information to the memory that forms the habit. It’s a near-perfect process. 

So, ready to achieve your goals?


1. Start by Setting Goals and Writing Them Down

You will not achieve them unless you set them and writing them down actually increases the likelihood of doing so.

2. Ask yourself, “why do I want this goal now?”

What habits have kept me from changing previously?

3. Start Small and Take Baby Steps.

Create small steps that you can take every day to move you toward your goals that will increase your feelings of success. Success is a big motivator.

4. Plan to Fail

Don’t quit, keep going, learn from failures, and you will be much more likely to succeed.

5. Share Your Goals with Other People

Share your goals with others and then let them know how best to support you. Others can often recognize our habit responses before we do. 

6. Stay Positive but Realistic 

Don’t confuse optimism with actual achievement. Be kind to yourself. Although significant long-term change isn’t easy, it is possible. 

7. Celebrate Your Successes

Celebrating tells your brain that the new behavior is beneficial and that it should look for more opportunities to engage in it.

Practice habit, reward, practice habit, and reward all the way to successfully achieving those goals!   See you at the top!


Are you ready to achieve your 2020 goals? SuccessView Coaching and Consulting Group empowers individuals to discover a new future for themselves at work and play. We believe that with coaching you can create the awareness to escalate learning, improve performance, and enhance the quality of life.

Through coaching, coaching for learning and development, mentoring, one-on-one, and group training we assist in building trust and increasing collaboration. We help individuals move beyond their personal or professional obstacles to help them achieve a better future.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.