The Secret to Actually Achieving Your Goals

Jon Acuff | January 11, 2019

He makes us laugh, but Jon Acuff also tells us what we might not want to hear – we can’t do it all. If we want to fulfill the goals we’ve set for ourselves this year, we’ve got to figure out, as Jon says, what we “choose to bomb.” Chances are, that goal might be one we’ve been hoping to achieve for a while: 92% of people fail to achieve their goal.

Getting finances into better shape is a goal that often starts strong but can easily go off course. In a relationship, both people have to be on the same page with their money if they’re working toward a shared goal. Easier said than done, right?

That’s the reason Money Better. Together. ‌was created. This innovative new guided program for couples contains video sessions and fun (yes, fun!) activities to bring couples closer to thriving in love and money. Featuring Jon Acuff, Mike Foster and Shaunti Feldhahn, couples learn how to make space for the goals they really want to achieve. Even better, there’s no special training or knowledge needed to help couples get started right away.

Prefer to read rather than watch? Here’s the transcript to Jon’s talk:

I love Nextdoor, because you get to see people kind of do life, and I noticed a pattern. Every February, every March, people on Nextdoor would sell exercise equipment. And you know how that happens, right? In January you get really excited, you're like "I'm gonna get so in shape," and everybody does "new year, new you." But then you end up not following through with it. I asked a cashier at Publix grocery store, I said "When do people quit their diets?" She said third week of January. And I said "How do you know?" And she said "That's when we stop selling kale."

And I get it, I get it. Kale tastes like wet sadness. But you know why it happens, right? Your first three weeks of January you're killing it, and then you go to a Super Bowl party and you're like "I'm at a Super Bowl party, I gotta eat dip." And then like Valentine's Day, you're like "It's Valentine's Day, I gotta eat chocolate." Eventually you're like "It's Flag Day, that's for burritos." And you just keep stretching it out. And the crazy thing is, 92% of all New Year's resolutions fail. There's a college study, 92% fail. And I was curious about that, I wanted to kind of think through why that happened.

So I went to a researcher at the University of Memphis, and we studied nearly 900 people for six months as they worked on their goals, to figure out, why is it easy to start something but it's difficult to finish? Because as a leader, that's what it means to be fully alive, you're actually keeping your commitments, you're actually getting your team across the finish line, you're actually completing the things that God put on your heart. And I love that we actually had research, 'cause now I have a confidence, I can roll into a company and go "Hey, here's what you should try," or on Twitter when somebody goes "Your ideas are dumb, I don't like them." I go "Well, show me your six months of research with a Ph.D and I'll show you mine." And they go "Your face is dumb," and they block me.

But that's what became Finish, I wrote a whole book about it, and it's been really, really interesting. And one of the things we learned that was surprising is that when it comes to the things you care about, when it comes to actually finishing, you have to choose what to bomb. You have to decide what matters and what doesn't matter. You have to admit you can't do it all and be okay with that. At the beginning of something, you have to say "In this season, these five things don't matter." And I want to say real quickly to working moms, you need to hear this. Because of mom shame and comparison, we've talked about that a lot yesterday ...

Like in the 1980s, my mom, Libby Acuff, couldn't compare her motherhood to what a mom was doing in Seattle, Washington, or a mom was doing in Houston, Texas, 'cause she didn't have access to their lives. She could compare herself to five other moms on our cul-de-sac, but she couldn't instantly go on Instagram and feel like a failure. And it's always these perfect moms who are like, they're holding hands with their husbands who never travel, and they're forming the shape of hearts, and it's #Blessed. Or the meals they make are amazing, it's mac and cheese, but it's deconstructed, like a gouda demiglaze. And you're making your kid that sad bowl of Easy Mac. Have you ever made that bowl of shame, where you just stir? And then you get tired of stirring, so you just give it to your kid and your kid's like "Mom, it's powder." And you're like "Yeah, life is hard. It's hard."

Their two-year-old like taught himself Mandarin, and you look at your two-year-old, and you're like "My kid is eating a lot of glue. Like more than the FDA recommends. He's in the 1th percentile of glue consumption." And you feel this mom shame. And I say that to moms 'cause dad shame isn't even a phrase. I've never had another dad come up to me and go "Dude, I'm just, I spent a lot of time on Instagram today comparing my fatherhood to other fathers, and I just feel low emotionally." Dads, our default is we're amazing. It is. Dads will say things like "Yeah, my kid got a misdemeanor. It's not a felony. I'm a pretty good dad." So moms, hear me say that to you. You have to be okay that you can't do it all, you're not supposed to do it all. That's all right.

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