45 Reasons Why You Fail To Achieve Your Goals

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The high rate of failure of goals is shocking.

According to the University of Scranton, 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail.

Another study showed that 73% of people who set fitness goals on New Year’s failed.

And that’s just New Year’s goals. How many company goals have you seen given lip service but never followed through on?

How many people do you know talk about wishes and fantasies, but never achieve them?

How about you? How often have you started pursuing a goal but fell short?

It doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we will discuss 45 reasons why you don’t achieve your goals – and what you can do about it.

1. Your goals are not written down

Though the study that’s often quoted on why you should write your goals is bogus, there have been other studies that have shown the importance of writing your goals down. In general, those who write their goals down are more likely to succeed in them.


What to do:

Write your goals out. Don’t just wish it in your head. Make it real on paper.

2. Your goals are not clear and specific.

Vague goals don’t get you anywhere. Saying “I want more money” or “I want to lose weight” or “I want to advance in my career” or “I want the business to succeed” doesn’t really mean anything.

How much money? If I give you a dollar, would that suffice?

How much weight do you want to lose? If you lose 5 ounces, does that work?

What do you mean by advancing your career? How will you know when you “advance” it?

Do you get the point?

You must be clear and specific, otherwise, it’s just a vague fantasy.

“I am earning $25,000 more on commission this year. “

“Increase my salary by 20% this year.”

“Become the VP of sales at my company.”

“Lose 35 pounds by June 11.”

You get the idea.

What to do:

Make your goals specific. Make sure that you know exactly what you want. If your goals are vague, your results will be vague.

3. Your goals aren’t measurable

If you can’t measure it, how will you know you arrived?

If you can’t measure it, how will you know if you are progressing are not?

You must be able to measure it.

If you can, quantify your goal. Put some numbers with it.

If you can’t really measure it with a number, write out the major milestones or steps that you must take to get there.

What to do:

Make sure your goals are measurable, whether with a number or the major steps you will have to take to get there.

4. You’re not focused – you have too many goals

I’m the kind of person who wants to do everything. I’ll set 20 goals and try to pursue everything at once.

What happens?


When you spread yourself out too thin, you easily overwhelm yourself. You also don’t spend much time on anything, so nothing really gets done.

What to do:

It’s good to set goals in the different areas of your life. It’s good to have multiple goals you want to pursue.

However, don’t focus on all of them at once. Find the one goal that, if everything else remains the same, would have the greatest impact on your life.

Then, pursue that goal.

When it becomes a habit or you finish it, then focus on another.

You may do 2-3 goals at a time, but be careful. Spreading yourself out on many keeps you from focusing on any.

5. It’s not really a goal you are passionate about

Pursuing goals takes work. There are failures, missteps, and tough times.

If you are not passionate about the goal, the chances of you pushing through are slim. And if you aren’t passionate about it, why are you doing it in the first place?

Often people pursue a goal because someone else wants them to do it. Their parents or boss want them to. But if they don’t buy into it, if you don’t buy into it, then you are likely not to do it.

What to do:

Make sure the goals you are pursuing are goals that you really are passionate about. Don’t just pursue something because someone else wants you to when you don’t.

Granted, there are situations when you may need to pursue and accomplish something because of your job or because you want to do it for your spouse or such. In those cases, find reasons to become motivated and passionate about them. Think about the long-term effects, how it may help you, how it may help others, and so on.

6. You are too comfortable where you are – you are not willing to pay the price

Pursuing lofty goals brings work and change. Generally, to get something you don’t have, you have to do things you haven’t done before and become someone you haven’t been before.

That takes work and pain.

For many, the pain of changing, in their mind, is more than the pain of where they are now. They are too comfortable. They are not willing to pay the price.

It’s more comfortable to deal with the weight and less energy than getting up early to run. It’s more comfortable to sit in front of the tv than take the time to read books and grow as a person to advance your career.

What to do:

Count the cost. See what the price is. It’s nice to say “Yeah, I want this”.

The question is: Are you really willing to pay the price?

Think about the end results, where you want to be. And think about where you are now. Is it worth the effort?

Are you willing to pay the price to do it?

If not, that’s okay. That’s your choice. Just stop talking big that you want this or that – because you really don’t.

7. Your goals aren’t challenging enough

Generally, when something doesn’t challenge us, it doesn’t motivate us. When a goal is something that is super easy, you aren’t going to put much effort into it.

Let’s take a race example. Let’s say you are a regular runner, on a track team, maybe even aiming for the Olympics.

And you set a goal for yourself. Run 100 meters in 40 seconds.

Would that challenge you? Would that make you put your best effort in?


But what would? Trying to shave a second or two (or some milliseconds) off your best time. Then you would put your best effort into it.

What to do:

Make your goals challenging. Make sure they stretch you.

8. Your goals are unrealistic

On the other hand, another reason you may fail your goal is that your goals are unrealistic.

It’s one thing to stretch and challenge yourself, it’s another thing to do the impossible.

When you set unrealistic goals, you don’t put in the effort to do it, because you don’t really believe you can.

All it does is demotivate.

If all you do is sit on the couch now, it may be a stretch to run a marathon in 3 or 6 months for you. At the same time, it’s not realistic to think you will do it in a week’s time.

It may be unrealistic that you will earn $1,000,000 your first year out of college – I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but it may be wise to set a challenging, but lower goal.

Get the point?

What to do:

Set challenging and stretch goals, but do make sure they can be realistically accomplished (just don’t use “realistic” as an excuse not to stretch. It’s okay to push yourself and try and fail. Just don’t do the “way out there” goals.)

9. Life got in the way

Sometimes life just gets in the way. Life happens.

Maybe you had a family member get sick. Maybe you had a job change. Maybe you burned yourself out.

Maybe your biggest customer dropped. Maybe you just got distracted.

What to do:

Don’t beat yourself up. It happens. Just relook at your goals, make sure they are still what you want to pursue and start where you left off.

At the same time, don’t blame “life” for being lazy or just not making it a priority in your life. In those cases, take responsibility and make the changes you need to.

10. You give up too easily

The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that those who succeed persist – they don’t give up.

In fact, successful people generally fail more than unsuccessful people – because they keep trying and doing more.

Persistence is key to success in your goals. If you persist through failures and missteps, if you pick yourself back up and keep trying and trying, the chances of success are tremendous.

What to do:

Know failure and hard times are going to come. There will be times you will be demotivated.

Keep going. Persist. Don’t give up. Remember the why of what you are doing.

Don’t give up.

11. You don’t know how to recommit, revise, or remove and restart

You will likely mess up. Life and things may happen and you may not make it to the gym for a month or two.

Maybe you completely forgot about your goal. Or maybe you just got busy and put it on the sideline.

Maybe it’s just not working as you want it to.

What to do:

Michael Hyatt in his book Your Best Year Ever says we should recommit, revise, or remove and restart. Take some time to look back at your goals. What happened? What went well and what went wrong?

Is it something you want to keep going pursuing the same way? Then just recommit and keep going.

If you want to pursue the goal but need to start over or in a different way, revise.

If you find the goal is not something you want anymore, or it’s not a priority, remove it and start another one.

12. You are worried about what other people will think or say

Many people fail to start or achieve their goals because they are afraid of what other people will think.

What will they say when you start watching less tv and exercise? What will they say if you stop eating the way you have been or stop eating out all the time?

What will they say when they start using your time differently? What will they say when you quit your job and pursue your business full-time?

People’s opinions can be detrimental to your goals.

What to do:

Realize this: people are not thinking about you as much as you think they are – they are worrying about themselves!

Your value is not based on other people’s opinions. Your value is in who you are, not whether others like what you are doing or not.

And, the truth is, successful people will encourage you in your pursuits, not tear you down. They will encourage and try to help you along, not criticize you.

Those who pull you down often do it because you make them uncomfortable. You pursuing goals and doing more makes them look bad for not doing it – so they try to bring you back to their level so they feel comfortable again in their mediocrity.

If you are surrounded by people who pull you down – start hanging out with other people. Find people who are trying to pursue the same goals you are and encourage each other, or people who pursue success, even if different goals, and who will build you up, not tear down.

13. You fear failure

The fear of failure is a huge reason why many people never start.

They don’t start a business because they are afraid that it won’t work. They don’t start exercising because they fear that they will fail and not lose weight. They fear going back to college because they fear flunking out.

What to do:

Here is the truth – if you don’t try – you already failed. You failed by not trying.

If you try, you at least have a chance of making it happen.

It’s like asking someone out on a date. If you don’t ask, it’s already a no. But if you ask, you just might get a yes.

Realize too failure is part of life and of learning. Failing doesn’t make you a failure – unless you quit or let it. Failures are stepping stones for success. It’s how you learn.

Successful people fail – they just pick themselves up and keep going.

So don’t think of failure even as a failure – think of it as a chance to learn and try again.

With this mentality, you are sure to succeed.

14. You fear success or feel you are unworthy of it

Instead of failure, sometimes people fear success. They fear what it will mean, what people will say, the change in their life.

They may feel they are unworthy of success: why should they have it when others don’t?

What to do:

People will always talk – if you fear what people will think when you succeed, you probably need to find new people to be around. Successful people will celebrate with you, not tear you down.

What will success mean for you? It means you will have more confidence, more accomplishment, more (hopefully humble) pride in what you did, and hopefully gratitude for the blessing of success.

It means you accomplished what you set out to do and all that comes with it – an education, an increase in pay, a new job, less weight, and so on.

Are you worthy of it? Yes, everyone is worthy of it. Everyone is worthy and deserving of success – including you.

Don’t worry about having more success than other people – it’s not a competition or a comparison. Those around you have a chance to pursue success as well if they choose.

And think about it this way – if you want to help others succeed, what is the better place to be in to help them – one in which you are succeeding or one in which you are staying back in failure?

15. You didn’t set deadlines for your goals

Deadlines bring urgency to your goals. Without deadlines, your goals are just fantasies. They are “I’ll get to it, sometime”.

It leads to procrastination. There is no need to put effort into it because it’s open to doing – forever.

Deadlines have power – more gets done and gets done faster when you set and even challenge yourself with deadlines.

What to do:

Set deadlines. Make them a little challenging, too. If you think you can do it in 12 weeks, try to get it done in 10, for example.

Make sure every goal has a deadline or timetable for it. (And don’t make all of your yearly goals set for December 31 – spread them out or set sub-goals for them).

16. You didn’t plan it out

Planning has power.

Brian Tracy says that for every minute in planning, you save 10 minutes in execution.

Planning helps you focus on what’s important and recognize what’s not. It helps you see and avoid hurdles.

It helps you break down HUGE tasks into manageable chunks you can do.

You may have failed your goal because when you were looking at your goal, you didn’t know what to do. It seemed huge and overwhelming, and you didn’t know how or where to start.

Or maybe you failed to do it because it seemed so huge, and you kept putting it off.

What to do:

Make a plan. Especially if it’s a HUGE, overwhelming goal, break it down into manageable steps.

You can think backward – think about the end result and the step you would have to get there. And then the step to get there, and so on till you get to the beginning.

Or you can break down all the steps that you know you will have to do, then order them in sequence or priority.

Or, in some cases, you may not know what to do – that’s okay – just plan the first step – and then take action.

17. You may have gotten lost in analysis paralysis

You can fail by not planning – and you can fail by planning too much!

If you wait till you have everything figured out, know 100% how you are going to do everything, and are sure everything is perfect and the perfect timing – you’ll never start.

What to do:

Planning is important, but the more important part is starting! If you have a tendency to over-plan, write a basic outline of what you need to do, and then get to work.

Take a step and start.

Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, probably no matter how detailed your plan is, as you go along it’s going to change.

You don’t have to know every step. You don’t have to calculate every percentage. You don’t have to figure out everything.

Make a basic plan, or just figure out the first step, and GET STARTED.

18. It’s not a priority (and you keep procrastinating)

One reason you may fail to achieve your goal is that you didn’t make it a priority.

Even with goals, the whirlwind of life happens. If you don’t make it a priority, you will keep putting it off and it’ll never get done.

What to do:

Figure out why it’s not a priority and why you keep putting it off.

Is it because you aren’t really motivated or passionate about the goal? Then reassess and change goals or find ways to get passionate about it if it’s a must-do.

Are you feeling overwhelmed and feel you have no time because of the whirlwind in your life? Learn more about how to manage your time and schedule what’s important in your life.

Is it because it seems overwhelming and not sure how to get started? Make time to plan your goal out and break it into manageable steps. Then start working on it every day.

19. You don’t know (or forgot) your why

It’s vital that you know the why for your goals. The why gives you meaning and purpose for pursuing it.

It helps you keep going when the going gets tough.

Why do you want to eat healthily and exercise? Is it because you want to lose weight? To feel better? To look better? To have more energy? To be around to see your grandkids?

Why do you want to earn more money? Is it to be able to give more? To live a better life? To be able to travel?

What to do:

Know your why. Take time to examine your why. If you don’t have one, you aren’t going to be motivated about your goal when the going gets tough.

What’s the end result you are looking for? Why do you want it?

Take time to think about it and write it out. Then, whenever you are feeling discouraged, pull the paper out and remind yourself of the why.

Take time to visualize the why. See the result. Feel it. Feel the emotion you will have when you succeed.

The why can keep you going during the roughest of patches.

20. You didn’t really believe you could achieve the goal

If you don’t really believe you can do something, then you aren’t going to try.

You must believe, truly believe, that you can do it and succeed.

What to do:

Make sure you believe your goal is possible and can succeed.

If you don’t, why don’t you?

Did you set your goal too high? Lower it some.

Is it a self-limiting belief? Work to overcome that. Visualize yourself succeeding. Tell yourself you can succeed. Give yourself small victories.

Set small sub-goals that you can easily accomplish to get started and give yourself a boost toward larger success.

21. You didn’t anticipate hurdles

It can be easy to run in our goals and assume everything will work out just right.

Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Often, hurdles will come. Obstacles will enter our path.

What to do:

Anticipating what hurdles may come your way can help you prepare for them. If you know you are going to have to learn a new skill, you can start learning now.

If you know there may be a financial issue or time issue, start working now to overcome it.

Truth is, you may not be able to see or prepare for all hurdles. But you can be aware that they will happen and just have the right mindset for them – that you will overcome whatever obstacle comes your way.

You can expect them and expect to learn from them and overcome them.

22. You have bad habits that keep you from succeeding

Sometimes our habits can keep us from accomplishing our goals.

Some negative habits include poor time management, laziness, poor punctuality, wasting time staying up late, using your mornings poorly, ways you spend your money, and so on.

What to do:

First, recognize any bad habits you may have. Overcoming that bad habit may be the first goal you need to set and focus on before pursuing others.

Then, set a plan on how to overcome it. Enlist help and accountability. Look at how others have overcome it. Find your why for overcoming it, then start taking action on it – immediately.

23. You waited too long to take action

There’s a law called the law of diminishing intent. It says that the longer you wait to start doing something, the less likely you will do it.

There’s a chance that you never achieved your goal because you never started it in the first place.

What to do:

The best thing you can do is to just start. Find an easy, simple step you can do and start. Then make it part of your daily routine or activities.

If the goal seems overwhelmingly big, break it down to easy steps and then start hitting the steps, one by one.

Don’t waste time analyzing and waiting for things to be perfect, take action as fast as you can toward your goal. Get started.

Get the law of inertia rolling in your favor.

24. You don’t know how to set goals

One reason you may have failed to achieve your goals is that you don’t know how to set goals.

If you don’t know how to set goals, it can make it hard to achieve them.

What to do:

Learn how to set goals.

Make them specific and concrete. Make them measurable and with a deadline. Make sure they challenge you yet are still attainable.

Make sure it’s something that you are passionate about and that you know (and have written) your why. Make sure you write your goals down as well and look at them or write them frequently.

25. You try to take too big of steps or do too much

Sometimes trying to do too much at once can hurt you. It can burn you out or cause you to spread yourself thin.

Taking too big of steps can sometimes also be harmful. If you keep trying to make these big steps and fail, it will be demotivating.

What to do:

A little effort over time will bring great results.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put a lot of effort or that you shouldn’t take big steps – just make sure you aren’t burning yourself out or demotivating yourself.

It’s better to take little steps over time than a few big steps and quit.

26. You don’t want to have to change yourself

To accomplish great goals, you often must do what you haven’t done before and become something you haven’t done before.

If you aren’t willing to change and grow, you are likely to never reach your goals.

What to do:

Be willing to change and grow. Be willing and want to improve yourself.

The mentality of “this is who I am and I’m never going to change” is going to do nothing but hurt you.

Be willing to recognize that you aren’t perfect, you can grow, and you can be a better person – and pursue it.

27. Your goals don’t match your priorities

If your goals don’t match your priorities – either you won’t work toward your goals, or your life will be in more chaos.

For example, if spending time with your family is your top priority – but your goal is to be the best golfer at work – and so you spend all your time at the golf club – your goals and priorities aren’t matching.

That will cause extra stress and a loss of congruence in your life.

What to do:

Make sure you know what your priorities are (written down is always good), and make sure that the goals you set and the activities you will do for them match up.

If they don’t, do some reassessing. Do you need to change your priorities? Or do you need to change your goals? Or, as time has passed, have your priorities changed and your goals not changed with them?

28. Your goals don’t match your values

If your goals don’t match your values, your life will be out of congruence.

If, for example, integrity is a value that you hold firmly to, but you feel like you must be dishonest to accomplish a goal – that can put your life out of whack.

If you start living outside your values, that will start hurting your mental state, your relationships, and your health, and it will cause extra stress in your life.

What to do:

Make sure you know what your values are (and having them written down is good).

Make sure your goals match your values. If not, you need to do some readjusting of your goals or reassess and make sure you really believe in those values. Because, if they don’t match, it’s going to hurt you.

29. It’s the right goal for a different season

We all go through different seasons in life.

Certain goals you might set as a college student or as a new parent you may not set when you are looking to retire or your kids leave the roost.

Some goals are more relevant or realistic in some seasons of life than others.

What to do:

Make sure your goals match your season of life. We mentioned previously values and priorities – with different seasons come different priorities.

Just because a goal may not be relevant or realistic now doesn’t mean it won’t be later, and just because it used to not be in the past doesn’t mean it can’t be now either.

30. You don’t take responsibility for your life

Keith Ellis, in his book The Magic Lamp, says “Life is a self-service gas station. You can sit in your car and honk, or you can fill the tank yourself.”

Many people in our society play the victim. They feel that everything should be handed to them. Or they feel that all the situations in their life are caused by someone or something external.

Everyone has been a victim of something, but it’s how you react and how you think that matters.

You can either be a cause or an effect. You can make changes, or you can let everything else make changes to you.

You can’t always change what happens in your life, but you can always choose your response to it.

What to do:

When it comes to your goals, take responsibility.

If you failed, it’s because of you – no one else. Stop making excuses, stop blaming.

Take responsibility for your choices, your reactions, and your actions.

Then learn from them, grow, get better, make changes, and take action toward success.

31. You keep giving in to small give-ins

We may think we are making an exception on our goal “one time”, but those one times add up.

And when you give an exception once, it makes it easier to make an exception the next time.


      • You are trying to save money, but you really want this one item. You just make an exception – this time.
      • You are trying to eat healthier, but you will eat this dessert – this one time.
      • You are trying to exercise regularly, but you just don’t feel like it, so you’ll skip – just this once.

The one times get you off your routine, break your streak, and make it easier to do the “one more time.”

What to do:

Don’t give into the “just one-time”s.

It’s not that there are ever exceptions. You may be sick so you need to miss exercise. You may budget fun items into your budget while you save money. You may allot a certain amount of dessert a week.

Just make sure it’s planned or for a legitimate reason, otherwise, you are hurting your chances to achieve your goal.

One method to use when faced with temptation is what Keith Ellis in his book The Magic Lamp calls the preference question.

With the preference question, you ask yourself “Do I want (whatever the end result is of your goal) right now or do I want to (do whatever the temptation is)?” Right now, if you could pick between the two, which would you choose?

Would you rather have the money saved up and ready right now or have the splurge spending and not have the money?

Would you rather have less weight, more energy, and look better or eat that extra snack right now?

At this moment, if you could have either one, which would you choose?

This can help you pass over the temptation.

For some goals, finding ways to remove the temptations can also be extra helpful (e.g. don’t buy junk food; don’t browse shopping sites, etc.).

32. You focus on where you don’t want to be instead of where you do want to be

Whether riding a motorcycle or driving a car (or even walking), you go where you look and focus.

Have you ever caught yourself drifting to the other lane when focusing on something in that direction? Or even start veering in that direction while walking?

If you ride a motorcycle, you are going to go where you look. If you look at the curb, that’s where you are going to head to. You must look where you want to be, not where you are or where you don’t want to go.

It’s the same in life: where we focus is where we go. Too often we focus on where we don’t want to be instead of where we want to be.

What to do:

Focus on your progress and the end result of your goal, where you want to be, not your lack or what you don’t want.

Don’t focus on the fact that you are overweight or didn’t lose as much as you wanted. Focus on the fact that you lost some and on losing weight. Picture yourself in your ideal weight, not in the weight you don’t want.

Don’t focus on the debt you have, focus on earning money to pay it off. See yourself debt-free and work toward it.

Don’t focus on the economy, focus on what you can do to make your business succeed.

Don’t focus on being unemployed, focus on finding the right job and what you can do to increase your skills to get it.  See yourself succeeding, not failing.

Focus on where you want to be, not where you are or don’t want.

33. You associate with the wrong people (and listen to the naysayers)

Successful people will encourage you and try to help you succeed.

Unsuccessful people do the opposite.

When you try something worthwhile, they criticize you. They put it down. They tell you that you can’t do it.

They are the type to complain and criticize and blame instead of doing anything to accomplish what they want or fix their issues.

When you succeed or push yourself up, it makes them look bad, so they try to bring you back to their level.

What to do:

Make sure that you hang around the right kind of people. Spend time with people who will encourage you and pull you up, not try to push you down.

And remember, too, anytime you try to do something worthwhile, you will always have people who will criticize you.

Just smile, wave to them, and keep moving forward.

34. You waste too much time

Many goals take time and effort.

For many, when they get home, all they do is watch TV or binge-watch Netflix or go party or play video games.

If all you do with your free time is entertain yourself, you will never move forward.

And, often, many stay up late entertaining themselves and don’t get enough sleep – which makes it even harder to be “motivated” to do something different but lounge around.

What to do:

There’s not wrong with rest or entertainment. In fact, we should take time to take breaks and rest.

But if that’s all we ever do, that’s a problem.

You don’t have to make big changes. Just cut out 30 minutes, an hour, whatever, and use that time to pursue your goals.

Remember, a little bit over time adds up big.

35. You tried to do it alone

Accountability has power. When someone is relying on us, we tend to follow through better.

Same with reporting to a person. If someone checks in on how we are doing, generally we don’t want to look bad or let them down.

What to do:

Pursuing your goals alone can be tough.

Find someone or someones who share the same goal that you can work on together. You can hold each other accountable to do what you committed.

And a little friendly competition, depending on the goal, can often spur you to push a little harder.

You can also find others who you ask to check in on you to make sure you are following your commitments.

Doing this can help you keep going, even when it’s tough.

36. You don’t have the know-how (don’t know how to do it)

One reason you may fail your goals is that you don’t know how to accomplish them or don’t have the skills to do so.

If you want to design websites but don’t know how to program, you probably need to start learning.

If you want to lose weight but don’t know what’s the best ways, it’s time to do some research.

If you keep getting into debt, you may want to learn how to handle finances better.

If you want to start a business but know nothing about marketing and sales, you may want to work on that.

What to do:

Examine your goal(s) and see if there is anything you need to research or learn in order to accomplish your goal – then work on learning it.

Even if you have the “know-how”, you can ask yourself, “What one skill, if I improved it, what help me accomplish my goal faster and better?”

37. You set unrealistic deadlines

Deadlines are good and it’s good to set challenging deadlines to help push yourself to do more, faster.

However, when you set unrealistic deadlines, it can be demotivating when you don’t reach them.

What to do:

Examine your deadlines. Are they realistic? Is it even possible?

If you say you want to be fluent in a brand new language in 1 month, is that even possible?

Do you actually have enough time in the day to make it happen?

Make sure that, while you want to push yourself, still be realistic in your timetables. If you are unsure, look up what others have done and how long and use those as guidelines.

38. You’re not consistent

If you not consistently working on your goal (and make it a priority as we mentioned before), then it’s not going to get done.

When you are consistent, you get momentum going. You get a routine going.

If you sporadically try to work on your goal, it becomes easy to put off, and it’s more challenging to get started and pick up where you left off.

What to do:

As much as possible, be consistent in working on your goal. Set a schedule on when you are going to work on it (daily if you can), and don’t miss a day.

When you start missing days, it becomes harder and harder to get back started and finish your goal.

39. You kept chasing after shortcuts

There’s a difference between finding easier, better ways to do something and trying to skip the hard work of the goals.

People are often looking for the “easy way” to get what they want because they don’t want to do the work. They want instant.

A magic diet pill. A secret formula for instant business success.

That’s not the way life works. Most anything worthwhile is going to take work. It’ll take effort. It’ll take learning. It’ll take growth.

Anything worth having is worth the struggle to obtain it. In fact, the struggle itself often makes the achieved goal so valuable. Without the struggle to get it, it wouldn’t be as valuable.

What to do:

While it’s smart to improve your skills and find ways to chase after your goals faster and better, don’t fall into the easy, instant, no-work trap.

Anything worth having is worth working for. It’s likely to take time. And that’s okay.

It makes it even more valuable when you reach that goal.

40. You never learned to love the process

It’s easy to love the end result, the part we want.

It can be a lot harder to love the process it takes to get there. If we often lament how much we hate the process, it’s going to be an even harder road to the finish line.

What to do:

Learn to love the process. Find ways to enjoy the work you must do to achieve your goals.

Stop telling yourself you hate doing it. Tell yourself you love it. Tell yourself you enjoy it.

Visualize yourself doing the process with emotions of joy and pleasure and happiness.

Find aspects of what you are doing that you like. Focus on the positive, not the negative. Feel the emotions of the finished goal, how you will feel when you achieve it, while you do the process.

If you can find ways to enjoy the process, it will make reaching the goal even easier.

41. You didn’t make it part of your routine

One reason we keep missing days or missing working on our goals is that we haven’t made it part of our routine.

When we are starting something new and something that’s different than what we normally do, it takes more effort and willpower to do it.

If we can make it part of a habit, make it a routine,  it makes it so much easier.

What to do:

Find ways to make the work you do toward your goal part of your routine.

Try to do it at the same time, in the same way, every time you do it. For example, you may always go for a jog right when you get off work.

Or you may read your book for 15 minutes after you sit on the couch before you turn on the tv or right before you go to sleep.

Routines are built off cues – something happens, then there is the behavior (the routine), then a reward.

Find cues to build your goals off of (such as waking up, getting home, finishing breakfast, brushing your teeth, etc.). It will take time to build it into a habit, but once you are there, you will be doing your goals with much more ease.

42. Didn’t find ways to make it easier

There are two aspects to making it easier – overcoming temptation and working on the goal.

Sometimes just improving a skill, buying equipment or software, or getting someone’s help can make working on the goal easier.

On the other side, when our willpower gets low, it can be hard to overcome the temptation that comes our way.

What to do:

When it comes to working on your goals, what can make it easier for you? Is there a new skill you can learn, equipment or software you can get, or is there someone who can help you toward your goal that you can talk to?

When it comes to overcoming temptation, make it easy for yourself. First, remove temptation. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t tempt yourself with junk food in the house.

If you are trying to exercise at the gym, have your stuff ready to go the night before to take with you, and make sure the gym is one that’s easy for you to get to.

If you are exercising in the morning, have your clothes and everything ready to go, even on the floor so you will basically kick it when you get up.

If you are trying to get out of debt, get rid of the credit cards. Use cash only. Stop browsing shopping sites.

Make it easy for you so that you don’t have to use so much (or any) willpower to overcome that temptation.

43. Your goals are focused on the negative

When your goals are focused on the negative, it keeps your mind focused on what you don’t want instead of what you do want.

What to do:

Write your goals positively, not negatively. Write what you do want, not what you don’t.

Don’t write “I want to quit smoking”, write “I’ve been a non-smoker for 6 months” or “I am a nonsmoker..” or “To be smoke-free (or nonsmoker) for X time.”.

Don’t write “To not eat junk food”. Write “to eat healthy foods..”

And so on.

44. You didn’t review yourself along the way

It’s important to review yourself and your progress.


It helps you know if you are on track or not and lets you know if you need to make a course adjustment.

It can be a time to celebrate success or encourage yourself if a little behind.  It gives you the chance to adjust if you are way off base or change goals if you find it’s not something you are still passionate about.

What to do:

Set time to review your goals. If you do daily goals, doing a quick daily check can help you stay focused and on track.

Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly reviews are also very helpful.

You can ask questions such as:

      • How well did I do on my goals?
      • In what ways did I do well?
      • In what areas can I improve?
      • What’s holding me back?
      • What obstacles are in front of me?
      • What can I do to overcome those obstacles?
      • Who can I ask for help?
      • Is this goal something still worth pursuing (not passionate or for a different season)?
      • What can I do to overcome temptations?
      • What other steps can I take to make my goals part of my routine?
      • What can I do to make it easier to accomplish my goals?
      • What steps am I going to take (tomorrow, next week, next month, next quarter, next year)?
      • What changes and adjustments do I need to do?

45. You didn’t surround yourself with your goals

One reason people fail in their goals is that they forget about them.

They may think of it and try to keep it in the back of their mind. Or they may write it down and stick it in the drawer, but then not look at it anymore (which, as a side,  is better than just thinking about it).

Many people who are passionate about their goals fill their life with their goals.

They read them every morning and/or night or write them every day. They post them on the wall or bathroom mirror. They may carry them on index cards and look at them.

Throughout the day they may visualize their goals and the emotions with them.

They surround themselves with their goals and make them part of who they are.

What to do:

You don’t have to do everything, but find ways to surround yourself with your goals. Make them part of who you are and your focus.

Read them every morning/night. Even rewrite them consistently.

Post them around so you will see them. Think about them. Visualize them completed and the emotions with it.

Make it part of you, and it will become so much harder to not achieve your goals.


There you have it, 45 reasons why you may (or may have) failed your goals.

Use this page as a resource to help you overcome the hurdles that come your way.  Accomplishing your goals can be hard, but you now have an extra tool to help you keep going.

Now to you: What is the top reason you sometimes fail to achieve your goals? What steps are you going to take to overcome it?

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