Did you set goals at the beginning of the year, but they just aren’t working out? Have you given up on goal-setting altogether because you haven’t been successful in the past?
You’re not alone. Anyone who has set goals has experienced failure. I know I have!
But I’ve had great successes too! The accomplishments outshine the failures.
Analyzing why some goals were complete and utter flops and others were wild successes has helped me hone my goal-making and goal-reaching skills.
Looking at why you failed will help you to improve, make progress, and get it right!
Here are 8 reasons that your goals may have failed. Which ones apply to you?
1– You didn’t set any goals
Seriously. Sometimes we have a dream, wish, or even a resolution and we think it’s a goal. Unlike a dream, a wish, or a resolution, a goal has a defined time frame, is specific, and is measurable.
There’s no way we could have paid off over $100,000 in debt on the strength of a hope or a dream. Just wanting to accomplish something isn’t enough. We set a specific, measurable, time-bound goal to pay off our debt.
2– You had too many goals
Goal setting can be pretty exciting and it’s easy to get carried away with all the things you want to accomplish. However, setting too many goals, especially when you are new to goal-setting, can be a recipe for failure.
My husband helps rein me in when I get a little out of control with goal-setting. He reminds me that setting a dozen goals will lead to being overwhelmed and frustrated.
Start small. Everyone can accomplish something, but no one can accomplish everything.
3– You listened to naysayers
When you set awesome goals, you’ll inevitably get people who will share their negative two cents with you or even make fun of your goals. Don’t listen! Don’t believe!
When I was brand-spankin’ new to blogging, we set the goal to pay off $130,000 of debt in 3 years, my husband’s pre-tax salary was $39K. A big-name personal finance blogger openly mocked our goal to his huge following on Twitter. He tweeted that I obviously couldn’t do math and asked how in the world I planned on making this ridiculous goal happen.
I was embarrassed, enraged, and felt about two inches tall.
After composing myself, I tried to respond with grace and faith, but you better believe I was fired up with a drive to achieve. While an “I’ll show him” attitude isn’t the purest motivation, it’s better than believing the naysayers and giving up on your goals.
4– You didn’t tell anyone about your goals
Accountability is huge! The more challenging the goal, the more accountability you need. Goals with no accountability are just opportunities to give up. You need someone to keep you on track and someone to cheer you on.
When we set the goal to pay off our law school student loans in three years, we knew we would need serious accountability. In addition to being accountable to one another, we decided to tell the world. That was one of the reasons I started writing this blog.
5– You weren’t consistent
Significant goals aren’t achieved in one sitting. Reaching goals takes consistent work over time. Many goals require repetition of the same activity again and again. Consistency is key to making these goals a reality.
The cumulative effect of consistency is significant. If you can dedicate 15 minutes a day to something, at the end of the month you will have invested seven and a half hours in that activity.
6– You weren’t focused
Our world is full of distractions. There are shiny, loud, attractive, intriguing things vying for our attention at any given moment. Sticking with a goal, especially when it doesn’t feel nearly as exciting as all of the hubbub around us, is just plain hard.
When I get tired of a task, especially if it’s something on the computer, it’s really easy for me to get distracted and let myself take just a minute (which is never just a minute) to check this or that or look up something completely unrelated. Before I know it I’ve forgotten what I was even taking a break from.
Breaking your goal into smaller action steps or smaller time chunks can really help you maintain focus. Put on your blinders and zero in on the steps you need to take to accomplish your goal.
7– You didn’t mark your milestones and celebrate progress
You don’t need to hold your applause for the end. You can have a sense of accomplishment even before your goal is completely accomplished. Breaking your goals into bite-sized pieces allows you to have multiple opportunities for celebrating along your journey.
When you set big goals, be sure to decide on milestones along the way. Decide how you’ll celebrate each milestone. It’s amazing what a little pat on the back can do to keep you going strong toward the finish line.
8– Your goal wasn’t a priority
Goals often fail when they aren’t in line with our priorities. When it comes down to it, we show our priorities by how we spend our time, money and other resources.
For example, I believe that exercise is important. I would really like to have fitness as a priority, but the truth is that it isn’t. I might say that exercise is a priority, but my actions show that it isn’t (at least not a high enough priority to manifest itself in my daily routine).
You may have a dream to write a book, but if you spend your free time browsing Facebook and pinning fancy recipes on Pinterest, you can’t be surprised when you don’t have time for your book. Your actions show that Pinterest and Facebook were a higher priority.
For more than eight years, I have followed Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com. Watching her set and achieve goals has been a huge inspiration for me. She is one of my goal-setting mentors.
I remember following along as she and her husband saved to buy their first house with cash. I loved watching her monthly progress and was impressed with her drive and dedication.
Her goals in motherhood and homeschooling have been equally inspiring to me. While I don’t “homeschool,” I am still my kids’ first teacher. I have read dozens of chapter books aloud to my kids over the years thanks in part to Crystal’s inspiration.
Get Guidance on Your Goals
If you want some guidance and inspiration in the goal-setting arena, Crystal is a great person to follow. I was thrilled when I heard that she was putting together a goal-setting course with her husband Jesse.
I got to have early access to all of the resources for Make Over Your Year, which is designed to be a four-week course. Not only are Crystal and Jesse full of practical experience and a clear goal-setting method, they are very personable and easy to relate to. In fact, they’re pretty candid and real, which is refreshing.
You’ll be inspired by their story as you read the workbook, then you’ll learn to set goals that line up with your priorities and make an action plan with the worksheets. I love that there are clear examples of how to use the worksheets for creating your goals and making an action plan.
After you complete the reading and assignments for each week, you’ll watch a one-hour video segment. The first half of each video is instructional and the second half is Q & A. The videos are relaxed and informal. It’s like Crystal and Jesse are chatting with you in your living room.
If you’ve struggled with goal-setting, this is a great chance to turn over a new leaf!
You Can Do This!
If you could identify with any of my reasons for failing at your goals, then the good news is there is hope. While each of those reasons is a real way to thwart the accomplishment of your goals, each of them also points to something you can do to to increase your success! You can accomplish your goals!
How about you?
- Why have you failed at your goals in the past?
- How have you overcome your goal failure?
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