20/20 Life Vision Challenge What Happens After We Set Goals?

DAY 7: MEDITATION – What Happens After We Set Goals?

Welcome to Day 7 of the 20/20 Life Vision Challenge – What Happens After We Set Goals?

Unlock the worksheet for today’s exercise by clicking here.

If you made it this far, I am impressed – you are about 25% of the way there.  Today’s meditation is a reflection on what usually happens to us after we set goals.  Sit down, and clear your mind, so that you can read this with focus, and answer the assignment questions with clarity.

By the way, it is highly recommended that you exercise every day while you are doing this challenge.

Goal Setting feels great, doesn’t it?  When we set goals, we’re right in that moment of vision and inspiration.  This is the fun part, where we can think freely and have no limits.  What typically happens after we set goals however, does not always transpire the way we planned it, does it?

There are several Common Goal Outcomes (CGOs), which I have playfully named and outlined below:

  1. Bench Warmer. The goal sits on the shelf (or the bench)…and collects dust. We avoid it or procrastinate it in any way possible.
  2. Fast Starter. We get out of the gate quickly and enthusiastically, only to see our drive (towards the goal) decline over time, until finally it fizzles out.  Or we use the old “Life got in the way” rationale to justify giving up on it.
  3. Breeze Through. “Crushed it!” Not only do you achieve the goal, but you blow it out of the water.  This wasn’t even close.  And it didn’t even require significant effort.  Just a moment – was this a setup for an easy victory?  If so, anything wrong with that?
  4. (Self?) Sabotage. Everything is going great, and you’re right on track to get it done.  You wanted to win the race, and you’re winning by a mile.  Then, at the last minute, all of a sudden, something happens, and you abort the mission.  A “more important” priority came up – an exciting new opportunity, or maybe just a new distraction.  Somehow, you lost total motivation in an instant, whether or not the sabotage was self-imposed or brought about by an external situation.  “Life just got in the way” works well here (as a common excuse) also.
  5. NFLOE = Not For Lack Of Effort. You hustled and put in significant energy, and fought all the way to the finish. The effort was there, but the results did not come through as specified by the goal (i.e. “Win a championship” or “Lose 25 pounds.”)  It just wasn’t enough.  Maybe you underestimated what it would take to achieve this goal; but at least now, if you take a technical approach, you have the experience and learnings to inform your goal-setting for next time around.
  6. Right On Point. You charted out a plan, and followed through.  You nailed it!
  7. Latency Effect. For Outcomes 5 & 6 above, there is something interesting that can happen after the goal deadline expires. After you put the result in the books – as a “success” or “failure”, something happens, and the outcome changes. All of a sudden, that promotion that you worked so hard for, comes through! Or conversely, your nice achievement, after initial success, falls apart.  This can be very positive, and if one pays attention, good for future goal-setting skill, as you get a better feeling for how long it may take to achieve certain goals (which is usually longer than we think!)

As you go about a new round of annual and 5-year contemplation, on your life and how it progressed (or not) along the desired path from 2011-2015, consider bucketing your goals into these 7 Outcome categories.  See any patterns?  Keep this in mind when mapping your #2020life.


  1. List out 10-15 goals of yours from a recent period, preferably 2011-2016; consider using the ones that you listed in the Day 5 Assignment on the 7 Goal Types.
  2. Classify what happened to each of them, across the 7 Common Goal Outcomes (CGOs) noted above.
  3. Write down a few observations about any patterns that emerge, and what you believe is behind them.

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