3 Winning Strategies to Achieve Hard Goals

By Allyson Lewis

A former Olympic athlete interviewed a group of gold medalists.  He asked every athlete what he or she did when the pain came. As a gold medal winner himself, he knew you didn’t get a gold medal without pain.  He wasn’t surprised to find that every athlete had a plan.

While your goals may not be Olympic-size, I guarantee that at some point pursuing your goals will get tough.  Obstacles, resistance, and surprises are inevitable and unavoidable. You need a plan for the pain of hard goals. Here are three things you can do to keep you from giving up and going for the gold!

First, know the ‘why’ behind your ‘what’.

What’s driving you to pursue your goal?  What is your motivation?  Another way to look at this is to ask yourself, “What is at stake if I fail to achieve my goal?”  For each of your goals write three to five motivations.

For example, I helped my son create an outdoor prayer area for his Boy Scout Eagle Project. We are going to add an orchard to it that will feed the homeless.  My motivations are:

  • This project will leave a lasting mark on Texarkana that can make a physical and spiritual difference in people’s lives.
  • This project is something Matt (my son) will have as an amazing and unforgettable memory.
  • The fruit of this will help needy people who lack not just food, but nutritious food.
  • We are reclaiming an ugly unused part of downtown and making it a beautiful and beneficial space.
  • I love the raw rush and feeling of accomplishment from doing something epic.

You can lose sight of why a goal is important to you when the going gets tough. Reminding yourself why you wanted to achieve a goal in the first place can be incredibly inspiring in the low moments.

Second, get support for your goal.

No one achieves a gold medal alone.  Coaches, trainers, and family members surround athletes to cheer them on when the going gets tough.  You need a teams or at least someone supporting you for tough times.

Do you have a support team for your goals?  At the very least do you have someone who knows you are working on a goal that will encourage, support, and hold you accountable?

Even having just one person who knows your struggle can make all of the difference in the world.  Ask them to ask you about your goal.  Turn to them when you are struggling.  Share with them your motivations you listed above as well.

Third, review your goals and motivations weekly.

Honestly, many goals wither on the vine for lack of attention.  The least little obstacle can create a delay that can turn into stagnation. If you constantly remind yourself what your goals are and why they are important to you, this won’t happen.

Personally, I review my goals every Monday morning.  I take notes on what was accomplished the week before and decide actions steps for the new week.  This one strategy has completely eliminated goals that don’t get acted on.

p.s.  Since writing this blogpost my son completed his Eagle Scout Project.  We created and hand fabricated a 23 foot diameter stone prayer labyrinth using over 9,000 pounds of materials, 500 hundred documented volunteer hours (the average project is around 50 hours), and over 40 volunteers.  Needless to say, these strategies work for accomplishing goals of an epic size.  Since completing it roughly twenty-five fruit trees around it that will bear fruit in the future to feed hungry families


  1. On a sheet of paper list each one of your goals followed by three to five ‘whys’ and the names of people who can help you achieve your goal.
  2. Review your goals at least once a week.

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