Why You’re Not Reaching Your Goals (And What to Do About It)

What’s a million dollar idea worth? Not much. Unlike most things, the value of an idea is not inherent to the idea, but is a function of the owner of the idea. A cello in my hands is worth very little, but a cello in Yo-Yo Ma’s hands is worth millions. Why is that? You might remember from 7th grade science class that potential energy is an object’s built up or stored energy while an object’s kinetic energy is the energy it has as a result of its movement. Your idea, goal, wish, hope, or aspiration has potential energy. Your ability to convert an idea’s potential energy into kinetic energy determines its value. Your job is to convert your desire to start a business, lose weight, learn Japanese, make more money, or get a job into income producing, joy bringing, life affirming kinetic energy.

I want you to write this down and stick it to the fridge, on your dashboard, and in your bathroom. The formula for achieving anything is blindingly simple:


THINK. The first stage is to THINK. What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? What’s that one thing you’ve been dreaming of doing for years? All great things start with an idea. Whether you know it or not, you have ideas, goals, and dreams that are coiled up just waiting to be discovered. It’s been said Americans spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning their retirement. My guess is we spend more time going to the bathroom each day than we spend each month focused on our goals/future.

Nothing is achieved without first a thought, a spark, a mental itch. Even if you feel stuck or have no idea what you want from life, your job is to THINK for just a few minutes a day. Warning: coming up with ideas and goals is a lot of fun, but because it’s easy and takes little effort, this is where most people stop. To achieve, you can’t stop here, you must…

START. Ideas and goals are powerful because they create potential energy. In order to unleash this potential energy into movement, you must START. This is a critical step because it requires action in order to turn the ethereal into the tangible. If your goal is to start a business, at some point you need to get out of your head and take action. Once you’ve designed your exercise program, you need to dust off your sneakers and START. If you’ve determined the best way to make more money is by going back to school, you need to START by registering and attending class.

The START stage is exciting because the release of potential energy into action can be euphoric. For the first time in maybe a long time you may feel a sense of direction and accomplishment, but as important as it is to START, it’s not enough. In order to reach your goals, you must…

FINISH. This is where champions are made, goals are reached, and lives are enriched. Having the idea to write a book is inspiring. Sitting down at the computer and cranking out a few pages is encouraging. But only actually holding a completed manuscript in your hands is fulfilling. When you FINISH you’ve fully converted an idea’s potential energy into kinetic energy.

Most people START, but few FINISH. Roy Johnson, editor of Men’s Fitness, is passionate about finishing. He told me “Anyone can be a starter. You want to be a finisher.”  A finisher separates the winners from the wanters.

Not convinced? If you trace back all of your proudest accomplishments, you’ll find they all started with a thought, which lead to action, which lead to achievement. Want to be a dreamer? THINK. Want to be a doer? START. Want to be an achiever? FINISH.

Join a community of passionate people at Richer Life Insights who want to achieve more in life and at work. You can participate in conversations I have with experts, celebrities, authors, and thought leaders that are laser-focused on practical ways to drive more money, motivation, and meaning into your life. Take the first step toward creating a better life by joining Richer Life Insights for free now!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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