Hans Johnson

Why Setting Goals Doesn't Work

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So it's a new year and time to set some goals. If you haven't done it yet, it's not too late!

The quick version of how to do it?
  • Get a journal
  • Find somewhere quiet and start writing what you want out of life
  • What worked last year and what didn’t
  • What you want to improve and how you’re going to do it
  • Done.
Goal setting doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as writing something down on a piece of paper and tucking it away.

Damien, my first wealth mentor, when I was 16 years old asked me what my income was - I told him $5/hr. He said "write on a piece of paper a goal to double it to $10/hr".

I thought, holly crap, that’s so much, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to make $10/hr working at the dive shop (I was working full time while finishing my senior year in high school).

I did what he said, and in less than a year later I got hired as a commercial diver making $10/hr.

Silly story, but powerful. I never even looked at that piece of paper again until years later, but writing it down had a powerful affect on my sub conscious mind.

Ready for the detailed step-by-step strategy? Keep reading.

In this article, I'm going to share with you my personal goal achieving system and methods that have helped my wife Dani and I build more than one multi-million dollar business, give away millions to those in need around the world and achieve some of our lifelong dreams while we were still in our 30’s.

Sit down with a pen and paper and be willing to invest some time going through this. It may be the most valuable thing you do this entire year!

First things first.


For most people, goal setting is really just wishful thinking. We all have wants, wishes, to-do lists, things we are dissatisfied with... stuff we bitch, moan and complain about or want to change.

But there's one critical ingredient absolutely required if you're ever going to achieve anything worthwhile in life… a burning desire.

Lets face it, if you don't have the desire and willingness to pay the price to get what you want… you'll never get it.

You'll quit at the first roadblock or sign of trouble and resistance. And your sub conscious will creatively offer up a good sounding excuse to make yourself feel better.

And believe me, there will be plenty of resistance and a boat load of excuses for not getting what you want out of life.

So desire is absolutely critical.

Some people just don't have any of it. They're perfectly happy sitting around all day, complaining or expecting someone else to take care of them. Or, they're just happier maintaining the status quo.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with contentment. In fact, contentment truly is one of the most under rated spiritual gifts and blessings there is.

Unfortunately, contentment is often confused with laziness and entitlement.

Which leads me to my next point…

No one, is going to do for you... what you are not willing to do for yourself.

Memorize that statement and never forget it so long as you live. Its 100% true. Yes, some good people do help other people, and someone might come along someday and give you a helping hand.

But the fact is, if you aren't willing to pay the price, to risk and fight for what you want, to take personal responsibility to learn the knowledge and skill required to accomplish what you want in life, you cannot expect someone else to do it for you.

Take investing for example.

Many people, because of the sheer volume and complexity of information and opinions, want someone else to manage their money for them. They hire money managers, financial advisors and other “professionals” to tell them what to think and do with their money.

This works for some people, but according to recent studies, it hasn’t worked out so well. Individual investors and professional money managers alike consistently under perform the markets.

As the true saying goes, “No one will watch your money as closely as you will”.

So you have to take personal responsibility for your situation because you are the only one that can do something about it.

In my case, I grew up in poverty, on welfare. I started my first business at 8 years old, selling lies to tourists (in Kona, Hawaii).

If I didn’t sell, I didn’t eat.

So the desire component was always there. I had a lot of it, if only for survival reasons.

From the time I was 12 years old, I told myself… “I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30yrs old. I do not want to raise my kids in the same environment that I’ve had to grow up in”.

That desire fueled my success in life. In helped me overcome failures and disadvantageous. It helped me to never quit, to never give up and to keep trying.

Mindset or beliefs though, about myself and others, have been a different type of challenge.


What do you believe about yourself? About others? Are you closed minded or feel your beliefs are true and absolute no matter what?

I find the more successful a person is, the more open minded, curious and genuinely interested in others they are. They have a genuine curiosity of how things work, what makes themselves and other tick.

They’re secure enough in themselves to allow their own beliefs, thoughts and opinions to be challenged. They certainly want to get all the facts and are open to recalibrating what they accept as truth.

Discovery, having a heart of a child, can be one of the great and pure treasures of life.

So what you believe about yourself, how you define certain words, concepts and beliefs are going to have a huge impact on the trajectory of your life.

Your life right now, as you perceive it, is not fixed or unchangeable.

Who you are, how you see yourself, everything about you is actually completely changeable. There’s nothing you can’t be, can’t experience or cannot become.

Think about that.

If you’ve developed the habit of feeling like things can’t change, like its always going to be the way its been, like its no use trying because you'll always fail… that’s not really true.

It may feel true, and by all means it may be the reality you’re currently living and experiencing.

But its not THE truth about who you really are and what your real capacity as a human is or what your higher purpose is.

To discover the truth of who you really are, you have to be willing to allow the Spirit man to rise, to allow the Creator to redefine and establish your true identity in Him.

You’re going to have to learn to agree and be led by His voice of Truth and Love, and start rejecting the voice of the father of lies, deceit and fear.

This is a life journey and discussion for another time but it is the paramount issue of our lives.

So again, what do you want? What’s your reason why?

What is that fire deep inside you that will keep you going when the world kicks you in the teeth, then stomps on your face while your down in the gutter?

If you don’t know, you might want to put some thought into it because you’re going to need it when times are tough. That’s the grit and mental toughness part.

So you’ve got some desire and you’re working on your heart and mindset.

Your desire has given you a vision for your life, something you want to accomplish.

It could be a financial goal (like mine was, “I want to be a millionaire by 30yrs old.”). Or it could be a business, family, spiritual or lifestyle goal.

Having a fire down in your soul to accomplish something, to right a wrong, or to get it done is essential.

Unfortunately it often takes a painful event or situation to finally get us to that place where we’re willing to risk getting out of our comfort zone. But anyone can cultivate and develop a healthy desire and passion to create habits for happiness, wealth and success.


So now let's break it down based on our priorities.

What’s important to you?

Our priorities, what we value, determines where we spend our time and life’s resources.

Where we spend our time, is what determines our life trajectory and outcome, what we accomplish, how we feel, what our legacy and contribution is.

It helps to have a list because its easy to be driven by the urgent and forget about the most important.

Here’s how I break down my priorities. These become the basis of my “goal setting”.
  1. Spiritual - to me this means time with the Creator, my true Father. If I want to be more of a man of the spirit and less of a man of the flesh, hearing and following His voice - its through spending time with Him, quietly in His presence. This is all about developing the inner man, that spiritual well and strength. You can define this however you want but for me its critical and I notice that when other areas of my life are slipping or not in order, or I’m acting like an an idiot, its probably because I’ve neglected something here.
  2. Personal - This can be similar to above but could be things like physical and mental health, fitness goals, nutrition, meditation or prayer time (also Spiritual), journaling, etc.
  3. Family - My relationship with my wife, my kids, grandkids, extended family, friends, etc.
  4. Business - Here we’re talking about business goals and key performance metrics. The things that you need to do to increase sales, revenue and income, those sort of things.
  5. Financial - how you’re managing your money, spending habits, tracking systems, debt, asset growth, investing, etc.
Ok so what I do, I use a journal. I have a digital app for note taking and quick thoughts (Evernote) and a simple leather journal for more introspective thoughts, ideas, emotions, spiritual reflection, questions, goals, problems, challenges, etc.

Most guys think the idea of journaling is for girls or sissies. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Kings, generals, inventors, strategists and warriors friken journal (i.e.; memoirs). To me, it's literally a war manual.

I mix it all up - spiritual, physical, family, business, money, marketing ideas, investing… everything. It's whatever I feel like writing and if for nothing else, its an incredible tool for tracking your life’s progress.

If you’re not journaling, I would say go get one today and start immediately with your 2017 goals. Let 2017 be the first year you commit to journaling frequently - 1x weekly minimum.

You’ll look back and be amazing at what you struggled with, what you accomplished and overcame. One of my personal goals this year is to be more consistent in my journaling.


Now for your New Years goals, you’re going to want to get somewhere quiet. Get the hell away from people and all their yakiti-yaking and noise. Sit for a bit. As the proverb says, “Be still and know that I am God!” Or as I tell myself, "STFU and listen to your maker".

Ask him to open your heart, for His light to shine, to fill you with His Spirit of perfect Love and Truth, to lead you in your vision and goals for the new year.

Sounds hokey but why spend another year chasing things that just turn you more into a rich miserable bastard?

I digress...

So what I do is just start making a “WHISH LIST” which is basically a laundry list of stuff you want to change or improve based on those areas of life PRIORITIES listed above.

Now here is a critical secret and key.

After I make the wish list, I then go back and work to identify the “ONE THING” in each area that’s going to have the most impact on my life.

It's the lever or force multiplier that you’re looking for.

In business we could call this the lowest hanging fruit, or the bottleneck or chokepoint.

Essentially, what you’re looking for is that thing that when you do it (or do it consistently and habitually), it will set in motion a chain reaction and cause other things to automatically kick into gear.

So for Spiritual for example. For me when I went through my list which had lots of things on it.

There was one issue that stood out clearly, that if I was able to be more consistent this year, and do this one thing it was going to have the biggest effect on my entire life (including the other items on my Spiritual goals list).

That one thing for me was simply getting up early consistently and spending time with the Creator. In prayer, reading His word, listening to him, being in His presence, asking him questions, confessing my crap, asking him to deal with me, to give me wisdom, patience, understanding and more love in my heart.

30 minutes a day, if I can do that this year more consistently (not perfectly) than last year, I’m going to have a better year. I’m going to treat people better and be less susceptible to stress and anxiety which is a sin (poor treatment of others and lack of Trust in Him).

For Personal, again there’s a big list. But what I do is ask myself, what’s the one thing that if I do it, it's going to impact everything else?

For me, its 30 minutes/day (4x week min) of some sort of physical activity. It could be running (cardio), resistance training (weights or TRX) or Kali (Filipino martial arts) or just hitting the heavy bag for a few rounds. In my case, doing the physical activity helps put the other non physical personal goals and priorities into motion for me.

If I’m unmotivated and feeling crappy, I can just friken go for a walk. Anything will do.

I know that if I just “show up” then the other key things like nutrition, etc. will kick in.

I learned this years ago. I needed to get back into shape and when you’ve been cruising for too long, starting to work out again is difficult. Your body and mind rebel big time.

So I set the goal to just “walk through the door” of the gym 4 days/week.

I knew that if I walked through the door, I was going to do something! And how lame am I if I can’t even walk through the damn door? Pathetic. I know I can hit that stupid wimpy goal.

And I know that wimpy goal can change my life. That year from that “wimpy goal” I got rid of my back pain, rebuilt confidence and put on 15lbs of lean muscle.

For Family, its going to be a heart and quality time thing mostly. This can be a huge list because it's so easy to fail… to not love our wives in the proper way, being short tempered, selfish or neglectful when our heart or desire is to be the best husband we can be.

For me, in this area I totally have to rely on my Father to lead and guide me and help me be the husband He intends me to be to my strong, beautiful and loving wife.

The acid test for me is am I responding in the fruit of His Spirit (love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, self control, patience, etc) or am I responding in the flesh? What kind of seeds am I sowing? Am I honoring his gift and creation? Am I being led by His Spirit, my flesh or by her?

Same with our kids. For me my challenge is always being present. I’m always thinking (very introverted) so calming my mind and focusing on the other person is key for me.

Family goals can also be taking a special trip with your spouse or kids, going camping, or visiting other family members… that sort of thing.

But those are more like scheduled events (very important) and I guess I tend to focus more on character or daily habit type issues when I’m doing my annual self eval.

Again this ties back to the Spiritual goal above. Time with the Creator is a force multiplier, only He can move an immovable heart. What I cannot do in a lifetime, He can do in a split second and Kairos moment in time.

Life is pretty much about 2 things: Relationships and Money.

And we’re to prioritize relationships over money, tasks, things and projects. And that’s what the above are. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our relationship with ourselves. Our relationship with others.

So now we get to the money priorities and goals.

For Business, this is going to be a long list but again I try to pick the one thing that’s going to have the biggest impact.

  • It might be implementing a new sales model that’s going to double your sales this year
  • It might be learning a critical new skill (personally or organization wide) that’s going to help keep you on the bleeding edge of technology and/or your competition
  • It might be developing the 1 product (or improving an existing) that’s going to help you break into a new market and/or dominate competition or create excitement and new sales among existing loyal fans
  • It might be executing a single new advertising strategy or developing a marketing funnel (million dollar presentation) with an irresistible offer that’s going to propel your business into momentum and exponential growth
  • It might be hiring a specific and talented person that’s going to open up a huge bottleneck and have a huge impact on your business ability to solve problems and get things done
  • It might be streamlining, simplifying and optimizing existing processes to make your business more duplicatable, and therefore a more scalable and salable asset
Whatever that one thing is that’s going to by default automatically cause the other things to kick into gear, identify it and focus on it. Make it the top priority in your business this year.

Financial goals are going to be related to things like:
  • Making more money
  • Saving more money
  • Tracking your expenses
  • Following a budget
  • Reducing your core nut or overhead
  • Getting out of debt
  • Staying out of debt
  • Following your existing wealth building system consistently
  • Implementing a streamlined accounting system
  • Using segregated accounts to put your wealth creation on autopilot
  • Learning and consistently executing a specific trading strategy
  • Adding a new rental property to your portfolio this year
  • Increasing your passive cash flow or “unearned” income by X percent this year.
  • Mastering a specific investment strategy or skill
  • Being more strategic, patient and consistent, less reactive to hype
  • Pay less taxes
Again, this can turn into a big wish list but after you’ve written things down go back through and identify one or two things that are going to have the biggest wealth building impact and focus on that this year.

So all of the above (spiritual, family, business, finance, etc) can get sort of boring sometimes because it's the stuff you have to do.

I sometimes like thinking about another category that helps my mind expand a little and feel a surge of emotional energy because I can visualize something in picture form with some sort of emotion that makes life feel like its not just another ground hog day on a treadmill.

Lifestyle / Experience / Skill Goals:

These could be things like either doing or learning something cool and adventurous or just doing more of what you already love to do:
  • More stronger and fit
  • More mentally tough
  • Take a punch
  • Save a life
  • Get un-lost
  • Get kidnapped
  • Escape
  • Then write a book
  • Forage for food and water
  • Build a shelter
  • Stitch a wound
  • Fly a plane
  • Manage a portfolio
  • More travel
  • More fun
  • More or better sex life
  • Make new friends
  • Predict the future
  • Ride a motocycle
  • Shoot a gun or lots of guns
  • Enter some sort of competition
  • Become a political activist and join a revolution
Ok so now what? You’ve got your goals for the new year.

Now I’m going to tell you it's all a bunch of crap.


92% of people that set New Years resolutions or goals don’t achieve them.

Why? I’m going to tell you why.

Goals don't make you successful. Habits do.

HABITS (aka Automated Goal Achievement)

You can set goals all day long. Make long lists. Dream, wish and plan.

In the end, if you don’t create the daily and weekly habits it just aint gonna happen. You’ll lose motivation, forget to do it, get frustrated or worse.

So how do we create the habit?

We do it by scheduling the time in our calendar to do the ONE THING that is the lever, the force multiplier that we know is going to trigger or set in motion the other things on our list.

We ask ourselves, what new habit(s) do I want to develop this year? That if I did, would change my life?

And we schedule daily blocks of time in our calendar and tell ourselves to just show up!

Sounds too simple, but if we just “show up” no mater how we feel that day, we’ll develop the habit and over time it will become an unconscious part of our routine that moves us towards our goals, dreams and life we want to be living.

20 years later we’ll say, wow we did it! I'm a healthy, loving, happy and wealthy person and I'm not a rich miserable bastard!


Once you’ve got all pieces in place and have scheduled time into your calendar to do the activity that’s going to create the habits that cause the goals to happen, then its a matter of time and focus.

I often refer to focus as offensive mindset or forward pressure.

It's a military spec ops mindset and it refers to the idea that you’re not going to let your emotions or how you feel in the moment stop you from sticking to the plan.

You’re going to apply forward pressure on the enemy no matter what, even if you have a set back, you get right back up and try again.

You analyze your results, identify how to change or make improvements, come up with a new hypothesis or idea (in business or marketing for example) and continue the experiment. You keep forward pressure no matter what.

Now there's just one more thing, the only thing better and more powerful than a habit... is a system. But that's a discussion for another time.

In closing, very few people are willing to do what I outlined above. But remember this, if you are willing to do what others are not willing to do, you'll have what others don’t have.