The Real Reasons We Don’t Achieve Goals – Part I

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

Even though you might think you know this, you will be surprised by the answer(s).

Have you ever enthusiastically set goals that you didn’t end up achieving? And I don’t mean missing it by a whisker. But missing it by a mile.

I Have. Several Times.

On deeper reflection, there are very strong reasons why we don’t (and why I haven’t many a times).

One of the objectives of this post is to highlight these reasons and to help you avoid costly mistakes. But the real objective is to help you see this play out in your life or that of your dear ones and to provide you with a framework (without a name J) that you could use to achieve your goals.

Let me tell you a personal story about goals.

In 1998, I was sent by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to work on an important business intelligence project for GE Capital in Leeds, U.K. I was in Leeds for about 8 months and after successfully completing the project in September 1998, I returned to India. While I was in the UK and working long crazy hours, I had actually forgotten to take care of myself and my health. I had piled on a lot of weight and was almost close to scoring a century. Now this is a century you wouldn’t want to score. At the same time, it was not just about the weight (there are many fit people who weigh more because of the weight of their muscles), it was actually pure unadulterated fat that I had accumulated eating fat free food.

Even in the mirror, I couldn’t see anything wrong. I used to tell myself “That’s ok, you are fine. You just need a haircut. You haven’t put on much weight.”

Richard Feynman’s words ring a bell here – Never Fool Yourself. And remember that you are the easiest person to fool.”

We fool ourselves all the time. In fact, I was fooling myself.

On my return to Mumbai, I went to a photo studio to get a passport size photo. The photo showed me the truth, but I wasn’t ready to accept it. Instead, I was telling the photographer that he didn’t know how to click the photo. He took another one. That wasn’t good enough either. I came up with yet another genius solution, “You know what, it’s not you, the problem is with my shirt. I need to change my shirt and come back. You will get it right this time.”

I went back wearing a white shirt. He clicked the photo and guess what? The Same Result.  I was speechless. More importantly, I couldn’t fool myself anymore.

From there, I drove straight to Talwalkar’s (the local gym) and enrolled for their program. I promised myself I would not only workout everyday but eat healthy (and well).

I started the next morning. And kept going for the next 4.5 months till I had lost 32 kilos and went down to 64 kgs. Unknowingly, I had set a record at Talwalkars. This journey itself is a fascinating one but I will reserve this for some other time (I promise I will do it soon).

There are 3 key takeaways here before I move on to the next part of the post.

  1. You can never solve a problem you pretend does not exist. Thus, the first step is to stop pretending and at the same time acknowledging the problem(s) to be solved.
  2. Write down your daily actions. In my case, it was recording what I ate every day, how much I exercised and getting feedback from the trainer. In your case, it is the number of prospecting calls/meetings you made today. How many meetings did you do? How many times did you get rejected today? What did you learn today?
  3. Review how the day went. Three questions – How did I do today? Did I miss something? How can I improve? – helped. I did this diligently every day without missing a single day.

Now let’s tie this to some of the common goals that I have heard from many of you.

  1. I want to do X AUM this financial year (this applies to all levels of AUM. Don’t think this doesn’t apply just because you have 4–5-digit AUMs).
  2. I want to grow 5 X in the next 3 years.
  3. I will scale up my SIP book to Rs. X Crore.

Raghu Acharya is one such distributor from Hyderabad. Raghu wanted to grow from his current Rs.150 Crore of Assets to Rs.500 Crore in 3 years. Fast Forward to today (3 years). He is still around the same number. He has made some progress, but he has massively missed the number. Sanjay Tolani from Pune is no different. He was aggressive and had promised himself that he would do Rs.50 Crore in one year. Two years later he had not even done Rs.10 Crore.

What was happening in these 2 cases? The same thing that happens with millions of people who enthusiastically set goals at the start of the New Year.

Goal Setting is Important. But it is relatively easier than doing what it actually takes to achieve the goals. At the same time, there is a huge impediment between you and your goals.

Whether it is your weight loss or AUM growth, there is one thing common in both cases. The gratification is in the future (delayed), whereas the pain is current (now).

You will lose weight in a few months or a year, but you have to eat well and exercise every day.

You will build your AUM over the timeframe you have set, but you have to prospect people every day. You have to get rejected every day. Future Gain but Immediate Pain. Who likes rejection? Who likes to go through this pain?

Do you?

In a different context, don’t we experience the same thing with investors?

The gratification of compounding (payoff) is in the future, but you have to live through the pain of stock market volatility today. You have to learn to ignore the noise and many more things.

So, while we know the problem now, what do you think is needed to overcome this problem? How do we make sure nothing comes between us and our goals?

I cover a part of the response in the second instalment of this post.

At the same time, I am super excited to announce the launch of the HappyRich Advisor Community (HRAC) where we will tackle such things and beyond. Like the internet and social media, we won’t overload you with information and stuff. However, like Google Maps, we will show you the way from point a to point b in the best possible way. More importantly, we will be with you to solve any problem that you might face besides helping you grow and build a wow some firm.

To know more, express your interest by clicking here. Announcements coming soon!