Why Goal Setting Fails

When we talk about goal setting failure, we don’t mean that we can’t “set” goals, but we fail to achieve them. Pretty much everyone can set a goal, even a s.m.a.r.t. goal. You can think about exactly what you want and by when, but unfortunately successful goal setting doesn’t end there. So why are some people so good at setting AND achieving their goals whereas others aren’t?


Here are the 3 reasons that lead to goal setting failure that are the most critical in my experience:


You’re setting too many goals

Whenever you set goals, the temptation is to tackle everything at once. You want to sort out your life: your career, your home, your family, your health, your finances, etc. and you want to achieve all these things as soon as possible.


Now, I’m not saying, don’t have goals for all these different areas of your life. It’s a good idea to start there. But when it comes to working on those goals, pick one or two that you’re going to tackle first. Focus on what’s most important at this point in time. Think about which goal would bring you the biggest benefit. Maybe there is a particular goal that is overarching, that would make several other goals even possible. That’s the best goal to work on first.


Even if all your goals are in the same area, say your business. Pick the goal that will give you the highest return on your efforts. Focus is very important when it comes to achieving your goals.


Working on too many goals at once will lead to overwhelm and can lead to burnout.


You’re not specific enough

If you have set a woolly goal, chances are you are not sure what you can achieve or you doubt your abilities. Having an unspecific goal is not really going to motivate you. Saying that you want to “increase sales by the end of the quarter” is not enough. Having £1 more in sales than last quarter – boom, you have achieved your goal. I’m guessing that’s not what you were after though.


If you’re specific, you can break it down into monthly, weekly and even daily mini goals so you know you’re on track and you set yourself up for a much better chance of success.


Being precise can also completely alter your strategy as you will have to adjust your approach for successful completion the higher you aim, which takes us to the last point.


You have no action plan

Setting the goal is only the first step. You then need to decide on a plan to actually reach said goal. You need to know when you are doing what to move closer to your goal. You may need to change habits, learn new skills or make certain investments. If you don’t plan this in detail, your goal will remain unachieved.


Not having a clear action plan will also lead to procrastination as you don’t know what to do or even where to start.


In a recent blog post “How Goal Setting Works” I shared my 7 Step Plan that you can follow easily to reach your goals successfully.


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Photo by Ronnie Overgoor on Unsplash