Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:57 pm

Upward: Achieving goals surprisingly simple


There is a myth sabotaging our potential for success: the idea that reaching our goals is more complicated than it actually is.

Whether it is weight loss, saving money or fixing a bad habit, at some point we’ve all failed at reaching a goal. Many of us wrote the goal down, set a workout schedule, decided on a budget to follow, but despite our efforts a few months later not much progress was made. It seems as if we put too much effort on planning to reach a goal instead of realizing the driving force behind why we have goals in the first place.

The problem I’ve found with my goals is that I over-complicate a simple process — a process that should start with a burning desire.

Richard Harder, school of business adjunct instructor at Dixie State University, said desire is the single most important step to obtaining our goals.

“Having a burning desire is the defining factor that set those who achieve worthwhile goals apart from those who never do,” Harder said.

What is a burning desire? This phenomenon is hard to describe until you feel it. It is more than a wish or a want; it is an absolute must.

In an article on called “Burning Desire: What is having a burning desire and how do you get it?”, Kevin Levine defines a burning desire as “a desire that requires a defined and definite action regardless if known or not that results in total completeness of a purpose upon its attainment.”

For me, having a burning desire feels like being dehydrated in a desert, and someone 200 yards away is offering me a jug of ice cold water. In that imaginary desert, I know I must have that water and nothing is going to stand in my way until I’m drinking it. There is simply no other option.

Our potential for accomplishment and success is infinite. Just being human, life is offering you the things you want, like that jug of water. It’s our decision whether or not we want it bad enough.

We aren’t born into the world with a specific goal in mind. Burning desires are cultivated. They may start out as wants or wishes, but that motivating energy has to be present in order to make it a reality.

Steve Pavlina offers several helpful ideas to launch you toward attaining your goal, including surrounding yourself with positive people, exposing yourself to motivational imagery, and feeding your mind with empowering material in an article on called “Cultivating burning desire.” 

Pavlina writes, “With the right approach, anyone can cultivate a deep, burning desire within themselves and move to a state of total commitment, knowing with certainty that success is as inevitable as the sunrise.”

Visualizing your goal as an eventual reality is an important part of the process, and ends up making everything else much simpler. 

To help the organized individual, Upward will touch on helpful steps to reaching goals in a future installment. Sometimes, those steps may not even be necessary.

Although setting a statement of intent, forming a plan and working to reach your goal doesn’t hurt, Harder said it’s common for someone who has a big enough reason or desire to later realize they achieved their goal with no explicit plan in place.

Going through the motions of setting a goal is useless until you have a sincere desire to attain it and can visualize the end result. 

What do you think about goal setting and visualization? Let me know in the comments or share your opinion with me on Twitter.