How to Achieve Your Goals | Life Hack
The Fastest Way to Achieve Your Goals in Life
LIFE HACK: The Secret to Achieving Goals of Any Kind
As humans, we tend to have goals or aims that we’re working towards, or at the very least desires and hopes for our lives. But maybe, like me, you’ve gotten hung up trying to figure out how to achieve your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over time, I’ve come to learn the simplest way to achieve your goals – and this is the life hack I’m sharing today!
Often, when we don’t see progress on our expected timeline, we get discouraged or frustrated. Maybe we feel defeated or criticize ourselves, we might blame other people or external factors, or sometimes we even give up. Especially when it comes to our health, our eating habits, or weight loss, so many of us want a quick fix that’ll get us to where we want to be.
Many times, I’ve felt this way, too! I have loved and chased quick fixes at different times in life. When you recognize something that you want for yourself, it’s only natural to try to figure out how to achieve your goals ASAP! But, in recent years I’ve come to understand quick fixes a bit differently. (Spoiler alert: They’re false advertising!)
So, what are quick fixes, and are they even real? And, is there an even faster way to achieve your goals than those quick fixes? Learn about my life hack for achieving goals in today’s video and how to implement it in your own life. This perspective shift was life-changing for me!
Quick Fixes & The Nature of the Brain
By now in the course, you’re well-versed in the nature of the brain. As we’ve discussed, our brains shape our human nature: We go toward what’s “good” or “comfortable,” and away from what’s “bad” or “uncomfortable.”
This is true for every human (and for animals), because it is the nature of how our brains are wired. The same dualistic programming seen in sea slugs’ brains (go toward nutrient, away from toxin), is also retained in our human brains—just with a greater degree of complexity!
Of course, some people become “better” at being okay in the midst of discomfort. And, most often, those people have intentionally practiced sitting with discomfort. They’ve trained their brain to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. The good news: we’re all capable of training our brains in this way!
What is a Quick Fix?
A quick fix is defined as an easy remedy or solution, especially a temporary one which fails to address underlying problems.
Unpacking this definition, it doesn’t seem to fare well. Sure, the “easy remedy or solution” part sounds great! But, the “temporary” and “failing to address underlying problems” bits aren’t good news…
Also, these ideas likely aren’t blowing your mind right now, because you already have some sense that quick fixes don’t work.
So, if we know or suspect that quick fixes don’t work, why are we all chasing them?
Because, like me, you’re trying to figure out how to achieve your goals as fast as possible. We all want to achieve our goals! But, we don’t want to have to go through the discomfort on the path to those goals. We wish there was a way around the discomfort. And, in many cases, we’ll try anything we can think of to avoid that discomfort. (Whether it’s a short cut or giving up.)
Instead, take a moment to close your eyes and consider where you are now, and where you want to be—with all of the various obstacles in the way. As discussed in today’s video, trying to avoid or go around those obstacles gets you no closer to the destination of your goal. In fact, it’s more like a detour—often taking us further away, and we often end up right back where we started.
The HACK: How to Achieve Your Goals as Fast as Possible
If we want to get from “here” to “there” in the QUICKEST way possible, the actual FASTEST path is moving straight THROUGH those obstacles. Trying to go around them only takes longer. And, when we acknowledge this, we see that a “quick fix” actually isn’t all that ‘quick!’ What we’re chasing is more like an “easy-and-comfortable-fix.”
Instead, if you really want to know how to achieve your goals as quickly as possible, I have a true quick fix for you. There is a “faster” way to get to where you want to be, and it’s by being willing to look at and face those obstacles.
Yes, this is scary, and it requires mindfulness: nonjudgment, awareness, and presence. Without mindfulness, we look at our obstacles and we’re likely to experience a lot of self-judgment, shame, and we may even feel powerless. Mindfulness becomes like a superpower in this way, a framework to help us take a look at what frightens us without turning away from it.
No, this “quick fix” is not easy or comfortable. But, it is genuinely faster than trying to avoid our obstacles. As I think you’ve seen by now, there is no easy and comfortable way to achieve your goals other than moving through the challenges. If it were easy and comfortable, the goal wouldn’t be a “goal.” It wouldn’t be a challenge to reach, and it wouldn’t be gratifying when you got there. Working towards something worthwhile is supposed to be a little bit uncomfortable.
Seeing Obstacles as Opportunities
So instead, can you view the obstacles on your path as opportunities? Can you find value on the path to achieve your goals rather than just the final destination of where you want to be?
When I see an obstacle in front of me, I’m still scared sometimes. But, deciding to view that obstacle as an opportunity changes the experience. I know on the other side of that obstacle IS my opportunity. And, I know moving through the obstacle will teach me something that will be valuable (or even necessary) for me to learn on the way to my goal.
In this way, with this mindset and with mindful intention, I can choose the obstacles. I may not get to choose what specific obstacles I’ll face on the path to my goal. But, choosing to face what is put in front of us eliminates so much of the resistance we feel in “not wanting it.” Instead of thinking the path or the obstacles ‘shouldn’t’ be this way, we can accept and embrace them as essential pieces of our journey.
How can you choose your obstacle right now? What challenges stand in the way of what you want, and how can you embrace them instead of trying to avoid them?
This downloadable worksheet will guide you through a simple perspective-taking exercise to help you achieve your goals without resistance. You’ll explore what obstacles are in the way, and how you might approach them with acceptance and mindfulness.
The Power of Mindfulness Meditation
Getting Comfortable with Discomfort
Remember, all of this “mindfulness stuff” can’t merely be processed intellectually. We can’t rewire our brains to tolerate discomfort simply by reading this information—we can only do it by sitting down and intentionally making the space to practice it. (One great way to do this: meditation!)
Sitting down to meditate every day for any amount of time (even 1 minute!) is an opportunity to practice being present, rewrite those neural pathways, and train your brain to be okay with just a little bit of discomfort. Little by little, it adds up over time. And, at some point, you’ll come to find that your obstacles will actually feel like opportunities!
Certainly, the more I’ve been willing to take a look at myself and see what parts of me I’ve been avoiding, or where I could grow or “improve,” the less scary it becomes to face those truths.
15-Minute Guided Meditation
In case you haven’t had a chance to try it yet, here’s the downloadable 15-minute guided meditation once again. This meditation is a bit longer, but just be patient and kind with yourself as you try it!
Remember, there is no ‘right’ way to do meditation, and there is no ultimate ‘goal’ we’re stiving towards. Each session, we are simply sitting down and practicing being wherever we are right now, bringing our attention back to the present moment—again and again and again. Each time you wake up to your mind wandering, you are in the present moment again!
Today’s Journal Prompt:
Consider some of the major challenges and/or obstacles that you’ve faced and moved through in your life. Choose one (or a few) of these instances, and then reflect:
- What did you learn by facing this challenge or obstacle?
- How did you grow through the process of moving through the obstacle?
- What do you know now, or what are you able to do now, that you weren’t able to do before facing this obstacle?
- Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Dr. Kristin Neff
- The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits by Judson Brewer