Top 3 Reasons Setting Goals Doesn’t Work

Why do goals fall apart and go to the back burner and how can you turn it around?

Setting goals is something we typically do at the beginning of the year. But what about now? It’s May, almost half way through the year, and you’ve probably long forgotten about the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Even I’m at fault on this; I wrote a blog post about goals and new years resolutions, but I never re-visited it, and I even stopped keeping up with my blog and my ideas, which was the point of writing that post to begin with.

Here are my top three reasons why setting goals often fail:

1. Life gets in the way

We tend to get so caught up in everything going on in our day to day lives that we don’t have the time or energy to put into keeping up with the goals we set. And although life does happen and everyone has a busy schedule, we shouldn’t think of goals as the things that get in the way of the, but they should be the things that help organize and set focus to our lives.

2. Lack of Planning

Setting a goal should be more than just saying, “I’m gonna lose weight”, or “I’m going to keep blogging and building on my ideas.” If you actually want to attain a goal then you need to plan out how you’re going to accomplish it. I think that’s one of the areas where I’ve also fallen short.

Take my new years resolution goal for example. I said “…one of my resolutions is to try to keep up with one of my ideas and try to see it through (ie. this blog and everything that goes with it including the book and some new workbook ideas I have in store for 2015.)…”

So where am I with that goal? Well my book has been selling every month, but pretty much on auto pilot, so it could be doing better. My blog hasn’t been updated since January, so I think I could be doing much better with that.

I set my goal but I didn’t make a plan on how to accomplish it and that’s why it didn’t work. I don’t know what I need to do to achieve my goal. What’s my plan for how often I post to my blog? How can I increase the sales of my budget books? When can I set aside time to work on my other workbook ideas? These are all things that should be planned so I can reach my goal.

As you start to plan, it might seem overwhelming, but take small steps. For example, instead of saying I will write a new blog post 7 days a week, maybe I can start with once or twice a week. When you attain a goal you can build on it and set the next goal to reach for, that way you’ll stay motivated to do more.

3. Lack of Time

Ah, time. Where would we be without you? One of the biggest reasons we fail with the goals we set is because of lack of time. Life if busy, planning takes time, execution takes time, priorities push smaller goals to the back burner. It all revolves around time. If you set a goal and make a plan, make sure you account for the time it will take. If you have lofty goals but only a very small window of time to work on them you might need to think about scaling back.

This year I’ve been busy running around with my almost two year old son Reid, I changed jobs, I have an unending list of house projects, and weekends are usually filled with any number of things.

My day typically starts at 6am, I wake up, shower, get the baby out of bed and give him milk and and a snack, make myself breakfast and lunch, go to work, get home by 5pm for dinner, play with Reid, give him a bath, put him to bed by 7pm, then I pick up his toys, wash the dishes, and do other house chores, by then at at least 8pm. Keri gets home from work at 9pm and we usually unwind by watching TV for an hour or so before bed. That schedule doesn’t leave me a lot of time to do other things so I need to set goals being very conscious of my time and when I can plan to accomplish them.

These are just my top three, there are other reasons we fail to succeed with our goals. Do you have other reasons that you’ve found have stopped you from succeeding with your goal? How did you get around it? I’d love to hear from you.