Why People Fail to Achieve Their Goals
By Douglas Vermeeren
people claim to understand the importance of goal setting in order
to attain a better life, but in fact, approximately 80 percent of
people never set goals for themselves. This is especially prevalent
among people who are not involved in some sort of business or
entrepreneurial endeavor that promotes goal setting.
more surprising, of the 20 percent of the population that does set
goals, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve the goals they have set
for themselves. And when you take into consideration the fact that
many of these goal-setting people strive for easily attainable,
small goals, it’s a wonder that anyone accomplishes anything
remarkable at all in business and in life.
comes to goals, there are two categories: “be” goals and “do” goals.
In other words, who do you want to be or what do you want to
achieve? Within each category, there are four areas of goals:
wealth, health, relationships, and self-fulfillment. So any goal you
set for yourself will fall into one of these areas. When a business
professional sets a goal, it tends to be either a wealth goal or a
relationship goal. However, achievement involves all four areas, and
success means finding balance in the four areas. In order to live a
successful life, you need both “being” and “doing” goals in each of
the four areas.
before you rush out and set goals at random, you need to know what
traps to avoid. Following are the top ten reasons why people fail at
achieving their goals. Avoid these roadblocks and goal attainment
will be yours.
of success and/or failure: Some people are afraid they will
fail, or even worse, they may actually succeed. As such, they don’t
even bother trying to attain a goal. Such people lack belief in
themselves and in their potential. In their mind, if they fail,
everyone will think negatively of them. And if they succeed, people
will be envious and think negatively of them. So it becomes a
lose-lose situation no matter how they look at it. But realize that
you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Believe in yourself
and your abilities and others will, too.
of understanding about the goal-setting process: Many people
mistakenly believe that goal setting simply means putting a goal on
paper, setting a date for completion, marking off checkpoints as
they occur, and then starting all over again. Such a mentality
hinders people from success, because a goal isn’t a one-time thing
that you eventually scratch off a list. Setting a goal is really
about changing yourself for the long-term. Goals aren’t short-term,
quick-fix things; they are fixed and immovable destinations that
show the world who you want to become or what you want to achieve.
of commitment to the goal: Even though people state they want to
achieve a certain goal, in truth, they’re really not committed to
it. Because of this lack of commitment, they don’t give the act of
goal attainment their full effort. And as with anything in life, if
you don’t give it your all, you receive mediocre results. Commitment
is crucial for attaining any goal.
Inactivity: After setting a goal, writing down dates, and
setting checkpoints, some people stop. They never actually take that
first step needed to progress toward their goal. But realize if you
don’t get started, you can’t go anywhere. Without action, nothing
happens. So if you’ve created a goal list and now wonder why none of
your goals are transpiring, ask yourself what action steps you’ve
taken to achieve your goals. If you haven’t taken any action, now is
the time to start.
Analysis paralysis: Many people let questions and doubts
paralyze them. They believe they can’t start on a goal until they
have all the answers to every “what if” scenario. However, no matter
how long and hard you prepare, you will never have all the answers
to the questions you ask. Additionally, most people make their
decisions and/or answer their questions based on where they are
right now, rather than on where they want to go or who they want to
become. Always base your decisions and answer your questions with a
view to the future, not a view to current situations. Your situation
will change because of the decisions you make today and will dictate
the success of your journey. So move forward toward your goal
knowing that you’ll never have all the answers.
of a real destination: People often begin setting goals without
a solid destination of who they want to become or what they
ultimately want to achieve. But if you don’t have a destination in
mind, then you’ll never know which road to take to get where you
want to go. Your destination needs to be clear – something you can
visualize and describe to others. Without such a clear view of what
you want in life, you’ll be forever changing course and falling
short of your potential.
Failing to plan: While many people understand the formula of
goal setting, they don’t have a plan for goal attainment that’s
personalized to them and their experiences. In other words, they
neglect the gifts they possess which can help them attain the goal,
as well as the people they know who may be able to help them. We
each bring so many unique talents and attributes to the table, and
we know a multitude of people who can help us in some way. Be
mindful of these advantages during your planning process and use the
resources you have available to you.
Having too many goals: Some people have too many goals and not
enough focus. It’s like they’re standing in front of a dart board
with three targets in mind. Hitting just one target is difficult
enough; hitting three targets simultaneously with one dart is
impossible. Therefore, determine the one goal you are focused on and
move forward with that one goal only. Eliminate other goals that are
secondary. This is not to say that you should never have more than
one goal. Rather, you need to realize that you have only so much
time and energy. Therefore, chose the goal that will give you the
highest ROE (Return On Effort) and focus on that one goal first.
Once complete, you can then focus on other goals in sequence.
Feeling unworthy of the end result: Some people really don’t
believe they’re worthy of attaining the goal. As such, they
self-sabotage themselves. Perhaps they suddenly walk away from the
key contact who will help them with their goal, or they neglect to
do a critical activity that will enable them to achieve their goal.
People who feel unworthy usually lack self-confidence, and
confidence is the keystone to goal attainment.
of motivation to change: Finally, many people are simply
satisfied with what they have and where they are in life. As such,
they don’t explore what else is available or what greater things
they could achieve. Research tells us that there are only two
motivating factors that cause people to change: Pain and pleasure.
And even if someone is feeling pain in a situation, that pain may
not be great enough, or he or she is simultaneously receiving ample
pleasure, so the person doesn’t strive for more. Change and goal
attainment only happen when you’re ready to break the status quo and
truly want something better in life.
achievement doesn’t have to be an elusive target. You really can be
whom you want and do what you want. By balancing your goals
into the four categories mentioned and avoiding the mistakes that
hinder people’s results, you can achieve any goal you set for
yourself and reach new levels of personal and professional success.
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