Two Simple Things You Need to Break Through Barriers and Achieve Your 2018 Goals

If you actually want to achieve your personal goals in 2018, there are two things you need.

Everyone is talking about goals for 2018.

I’ve learned a lot about goal-setting over the years. I’ve set dozens of goals. Some I’ve hit, and some I failed to reach.

Two simple things make all the difference between success and failure:

A solid strategy and a public deadline.

The Problem

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” – Mark Twain

Let’s be straight: We’re all horrible procrastinators.

It’s natural. Our bodies and brains are designed to achieve homeostasis (equilibrium, balance). 

We’re literally wired to be prefer being comfortable. It’s our default setting.

Any time you want to achieve a goal, you’re starting in the negative. You’ve got a barrier to overcome.

In chemistry, that barrier is called activation energy.

It looks like this:


Thank you, Microsoft Paint

Activation energy is the cost required to get started.

In chemical reactions, going from a normal resting state to a new state requires that existing bonds between atoms and molecules be broken. This requires some form of energy input.

Every time you try to make a positive change in your life, you’re starting in a resting state.

And even if the end result is a huge step forward from your current state, there’s a cost required.

It’s that “hump” you have to get over when your alarm goes off every morning.

[Note: You’ve also got to deal with Chaos actively trying to destroy you every time you try to move forward]

Why Public Deadlines Work

Private deadlines are a joke.

How many times have you wanted to achieve something in a given time-frame and failed?

If you’re like me, it’s a regular occurrence.

Why are private deadlines so difficult to adhere to? It’s because they are far too easy to ignore or postpone.

If you’re the only one who knows about your goals, and if the the “cost” of not achieving them isn’t significant or immediately apparent, you’re killing yourself.

Increase your odds of success by making it more painful to not complete your goal than it is to complete it.

Flip that activation energy barrier on its head.

How can you do that?

  • Publicize the goal and deadline widely – the “shame cost” of not completing it will motivate you to move forward.
  • Put some skin in the game – spend the money to buy that training course you’ve been considering and you’ll value it far more than the free version because of the cost. Pay for that personalized coaching and you might actually put what you learn into practice.
  • Pay yourself to complete it – give someone you trust $500 right now. If you fail to complete your goal before the deadline, they keep it. If you accomplish your goal, you get the money back.


I wrote a sarcastic article about how to not achieve your goals earlier this month. You can find it here.

Flip all twelve points around and you’ll achieve all the goals you set for yourself in 2018.

For an abbreviated version, consider implementing these four strategies into your planning immediately:

  1. Break it down – Lofty goals are intimidating. Break your goals down into smaller steps to decrease the fear factor.
  2. Anticipate challenges – Have a planned vacation? Limited finances? Competing priorities? Think ahead and plan to get the work done around these challenges.
  3. Schedule it – Put dedicated time on your calendar ahead of time for those things that matter most. Guard that time with your life. If you don’t, something “urgent” is bound to derail you.
  4. Celebrate your wins – I ran a 10k once (6.2 miles). Even though I was tired, the last mile was the easiest. Why? Because I knew I was almost there. To achieve your goals, put some milestones in place and celebrate every time you hit them.


This is where the rubber meets the road.

What’s one goal you have for the future – next month, Q1, or 2018?

Share it below, along with the deadline and the strategies you’re going to use to make sure it happens.

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