The Reason for ALL of Your Failed Goals

by Brian

A candlelit cake sits in front of your face. The anticipation in the room comes to a tipping point, fixated upon your lips are 10 sets of eyes. A breath of air escapes your lips as you forcefully put out the flames in front of your face.

“Make a wish!! But make sure you don’t tell anyone.”

Why Do My Goals Fail?

Those that tell the story of the vision are destined to continue telling the story; for Vision does not come to life through language, it comes to life through process.

It feels good, achieving a goal. This is why we set them. Ultimately, we want to feel good about ourselves. There are two different ways that we can feel good about ourselves. There is the short term route, and there is the long term route. Goals would seem to always be long term. In this article I’m going to talk using the word “validation”. Validation is a sense of approval. Validation is where you derive your sense of self worth, because we must feel a sense of approval to survive. The ego needs to be validated to derive the sense of self worth.

There are two types of validation. There is validation by language, and validation by process. Validation by language is consistently telling people your stories, and having people approve of them. When you tell someone a story, and they approve, you feel validated. You obtain your sense of self worth. The only flaw with validation by language is that it is short term, thus, the feeling of self worth you obtain exists only in the moment. This means that if you are to be validated by language, you must consistently speak of yourself, and be approved by others, to feel validated.

Ever wondered why you can’t be around people that always talk about themselves? The reason is that they need you to approve of them, because they are not approved by themselves.  Always telling the best story, the funniest joke, always have a way to “one up” your story.

Let’s say that you want to travel to Australia at the end of the year. This is your ultimate vision. You decide to start telling people that you’re traveling to Australia. They reply with awe, “That’s cool man! That’d be such an awesome experience.” In the moment, you feel good about your idea of traveling, and the fact that this person likes your idea.

The short term approval you receive from others is enough to slack off on the long term process. Validation by process is not instantaneous, and does not provide the same instant benefits as validation by language.

Validation by language almost gives you the same perceived feeling of achieving your ultimate goal of validation by process. Telling people about traveling to Australia, having your mind experience the moment and receiving their approval in the moment almost seems as if it would be just as good as traveling to Australia. This is because the only thing that exists right now, is this moment. If you want to travel to Australia at the end of the year, in this moment, that means you’ve gotta be saving money and making those self – sacrifices. You can choose to make those self sacrifices, which will ultimately be less enjoyable in the moment, than telling others a story of your travels.

The only flaw with this method is that it lasts short term. You’re not going to have someone in your ear consistently telling you “That’s awesome, man!”

This means that if you are validated by language, you must continue to be validated by language, or you will feel a low sense of self worth. This is why the guy with the “big ego” is always talking about himself. Truth is, we all have big egos. Some choose to be validated by themselves, by the process of achieving something, and some choose to be validated by the language of storytelling. How are you ever to achieve a goal if all you ever do is talk about it, instead of working on the daily process of achieving the goal?

“I’m Gonna Gain 15 Pounds guys… I’m Gonna Do It!”

The second kind of validation that exists is validation by process. In the moment, this isn’t the best feeling. It always feels better to tell someone your plan, and have them approve of it enough in the moment. That sense of “in the moment” approval  allows you to slack off on the long term process of achieving your goals. This is because in the moment, the long term process of saving for Australia means that you have to start making those sacrifices right now.

Not today, not tomorrow, right now.

If you make a wish, to go to Australia, and you start telling everyone, that means the validation by language is where your ego will derive it’s sense of self worth. If you already feel worthy, why would you want to make self – sacrifices. Every time you catch yourself telling people about your plan to go to Australia, it means you slack off on the process of getting there. Every story that you tell is one less dollar you’re saving for your trip.

Now that you understand this, validation by process means that validation by language is a lower form of validation. Validation by process means that instead of having someone in your ear whispering “That’s cool, man!” You have yourself whispering in your ear going “Keep going, man! It’s going to be worth it.”

Make a wish, and don’t tell anyone. As soon as you tell someone your wish, their momentary approval will be enough to slack off on the hard work of obtaining your ultimate vision. Achieving goals is tough, and it lightens the weight when you start talking about it. In fact, it lightens the weight of process so much, that you realize that it’s easier to talk about it than to actually do it.

Avoid the Pitfall

Make a wish, but don’t tell anybody. The only person you should tell about your wish is yourself, and a couple of your extremely close friends, to hold yourself accountable to your wish. When others ask of your wish, tell them that you’re working towards it. If you want to loose 50 pounds, don’t tell everyone that you interact with. People will start to notice when you start loosing serious weight. When they notice, thank them, and talk about it if they’re curious about how you’re doing it. Always remember though, the process is what got you there in the first place. Don’t allow the validation by language (“Wow, you look so good!”) to keep you from slacking off on the validation by process (Feeling a sense of integrity, being at the gym when you don’t want to be).

What’s YOUR Wish?

If you’re planning to travel to Australia, stop storytelling and start saving. The more validation by language you receive, the less self – sacrifices you’ll be able to make in your attempts to “save” for your trip.

Your ego is your sense of self worth. One can derive their sense of self worth from talking about themselves, but the greatest, limitless people are the ones that take more action and speak less for approval. The humble, the meek, are the ones that make it to limitless potential.

It is only when you have the approval of yourself that you will be internally validated, validated by process. This means that you approve of yourself, and the approval of others is irrelevant. Approval of yourself is long – term, this is why setting goals and achieving those goals feels so good. The only way that you have approval of yourself is if you are, every day, working towards your ultimate vision.


About Brian
Brian is a firm believer in living in the present. Brian lives his life by the philosophy “Act for the future, not because of the past.” He is a passionate writer, a sober socialite and aspires to be a positive influence to everyone he interacts with. Read more about Brian here.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Maxim September 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Loving it Brian!

masudio September 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thx dude, needed that.

Cam September 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Thanks for taking the time to comment Masudio. Have you had a chance to check out any other articles?

What would you say is your biggest sticking point right now? Would love to help you out.

Brian September 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

that’s masud bromeo 😛 i sent him a message with this article. thanks for commenting boys!

Pat May 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Hey Brian- This was a very enlightening read. It stands in stark contrast to my usual approach to goal-setting. Truthfully, running out of proverbial steam seems to always be my issue when I fail on goals. A lot of the steam is blown off by telling others, I agree. I’m excited to try your method and see what the future holds

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