Why Goals Fail and What You Can Do to Succeed Anyway

Many people don’t bother with goals because they feel goals are a set up to failure, instead of success. But that’s not true. Goals aren’t to blame for why goals fail. Let’s look at some reasons why Goals fail and how we can succeed with our goals anyway.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m something of an organizational junkie. I have had to learn to stop looking for “one more thing” that will make me more organized in the proverbial “three easy steps”. But over the years, before I got over this, I’d read so many books and articles on the topic of setting goals.

So I’d set goals.

The problem is, the goals just seemed to sit there and, in some ways, mock me, as I failed to reach them.

I think this is why many people give up and don’t bother with goals.

The goals just seemed to sit there and, in some ways, mock me Click To Tweet

Why Goals Fail and How We Can Succeed with Goals Anyway

Why Goals Fail and What to do to Succeed


Why Goals Fail: Unrealistic Goals

First off, your goals need to be realistic. You need to be careful about setting goals beyond your control. Avoid setting unrealistic goals or goals needing circumstances beyond your control to achieve.

What do I mean?

A goal of losing two pounds a week is only partly in your control. Some weeks, no matter how well you eat and how much you work out, you might lose nothing. Other weeks you could lose ten pounds.

The point is, weight loss is not just about what you’re eating. Nor is it just how much you’re moving.

A better, more realistic goal focuses on what you can control. So instead of a goal of losing a certain amount a week, focus on eating healthier. Set goals for fitness and exercise too. This will move you closer to weight loss, and the goal itself is entirely under your control.

This applies to pretty much any area of life, by the way.

As a work from home mom, I can’t control exactly how much money I earn a week. What I can control are things like marketing and content creation. Those will increase my likelihood of success and greater earnings but are in my control.

When I was raising young children, I couldn’t control how they would turn out. I could only control my input into their lives. I have five of them, all adults now, and each is unique.

Why Goals Fail: A Failure to Work on Goals

Another reason why goals fail is that you have failed to work those goals into your everyday life.

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Using that weight loss example, you have to incorporate healthier habits to get healthier.  Yet if you set the goal then continue to ignore your diet and exercise needs, you’re going to not hit the goal. Every day, in every way, you need to take small steps towards health and getting back on track when you mess up.

When you’re trying to build a home business you can just sit around and wait for customers to find you. You have to be proactive. You have to get out there and sell yourself.

So, if you have a goal to post a certain amount of time on social media, but instead spend your morning watching cat videos and finding out what flavor potato chip you are, it’s not the goal’s fault when you fail.

You have to

  • Set a realistic goal for marketing/posting
  • Plan out your marketing efforts
  • Actually show up and make it happen before anything else less important

If you don’t show up to work on your goals, you can’t wonder why goals fail.

You have to use your goals as a guideline for how you prioritize your day. If, for example, social media marketing is a higher priority than Buzzfeed quizzes on potato chip flavors, then you need to act on that. You need to do your work before you do things less important.

Why Goals Fail: Giving Up Too Soon

Why Goals Fail and What to do to Succeed

Goals can also fail when you give up on them.

Giving up on our goals is the surest way to fail with them. Unless a goal has proven to be an unrealistic pipe dream, keep pushing on in the direction of that goal. Even if you don’t hit it exactly, you’ll be closer than you were when you started.

Goals can fail when you view your best efforts as “not good enough” in reaching your goals.

As a young mother, we met with someone about retirement planning. They gave us some big spiel about how we’d need to save what was, at the time, half of our monthly take-home pay. This was the minimum he recommended to cover retirement and college.

Seeing a number like $1500, I felt panicked. This guy told us that if we don’t start right now, we’ll never get to retire or send our kids to college. I’d lay in bed and panic over it. So, since we couldn’t possibly put that much aside, what did we do? Nothing. Nada.

Dumb move.

Pushing towards the right direction is better than doing nothing. Moving in the right direction, even if someone says your maximum effort isn’t enough, is still better than doing nothing.

For a long time, marketing, content creation, and pounding the pavement may only seem like it’s getting you nowhere. But sooner or later the consistency will pay off if the goal is sound. You don’t hit your goal weight by exercising for one week. You don’t build savings by being frugal for a week. And you don’t launch a business by making a few posts.

Obviously, we need to assess from time to time if our efforts are being effective or if we need to change up our efforts. That’s another topic. However, as someone who made the mistake of switching gears whenever I didn’t get insta-success, let me tell ya. Sometimes it just takes time and consistency to see results. At the very least, being consistent over time can give you data (via something like Google Analytics) to look at to make an educated change.

Keep pressing on.

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