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Why Your Goal Setting Fails: The TOP Reason And How To Succeed

We’re in the last quarter of 2022 and we know what that means!

Everyone, everywhere, constantly talking about “crushing their goals”, “finishing the year strong” and “ending on a high note”. Now, if that makes you cringe - I’m right there with you, my fellow Light Worker.

For the longest time, I skipped out on setting goals at the start of the year because FAILURE was the only thing that came up for me.

The thought of setting goals (much less “crushing them”) made me feel uncomfortable - because I had tried and never succeeded.

If this resonates with you, this article is for you.

You see, after years of struggling to achieve my goals, I finally had a revelation about the TOP reason why goal setting fails – and how to overcome it to find success.

Read on to find out how you can end the year in a way that feels aligned and empowered, and achieve your goals.

Why Goal Setting Fails

When we think about goal setting, both in our personal lives and at work, we often fixate on an outcome or a specific result that we want to achieve.

My target is to get 10 new students signed up this month.

I want to save $20,000 to put a down payment on a house by 2023.

My goal is to lose 15lbs before Christmas.

When the time comes to review the goals we set, we judge ourselves based on our ability to meet these specifics - if we haven’t fulfilled all aspects of the target we set, we immediately declare that we have failed.

I only got 6 new students signed up - I failed.

I only saved $8,000 for the down payment on the house - I failed.

I lost 12lbs instead of 15lbs - I failed.

Doesn’t this seem harsh?

Unfortunately, this is what many of us do. We tell ourselves we haven't succeeded because we didn’t reach the specific result we set. Over time, we create new patterns of thinking in our brains that trap us in a habit of inevitable failure, even before we start pursuing our goals.

Avoid Creating Habits of Failure

“Success is the product of daily habits.” - James Clear, Atomic Habits

If we can find success through our habits, the flip side is also true. Our habits can also lead us to failure. Through working with dozens of entrepreneurs and reflecting on my personal experiences, I’ve realized that how we train our brains to think has a lot to do with why people fail to reach their goals.

When we set goals like wanting to get 10 new students in our yoga class or save $5,000 - and we tell ourselves we have failed when we do not meet those specifics, we are training our brain to think about failure. We automatically do what we are thinking about, so when we start thinking about failure, we start to manifest those thoughts into actions and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As this happens over and over again, this becomes a habit for us. We start assuming that when we set a goal, we are going to fail and our failure confirms this belief.

So what can we do to avoid creating habits of failure and achieve our dreams?

How to Hit Your Goals: Reframe Success

A simple yet effective solution is to reframe how we think about our goals and outcomes and redefine what success means to us. Instead of thinking about success vs. failure, good vs. bad, or right vs. wrong, we can look at the bigger picture and focus on the journey.

If your goal was to get 10 new students and you got 6 students to sign up, that’s success.

If your target was saving $10,000 and you saved $5,000, that’s success.

If you were hoping to meal prep every day this week but only managed 2 days, that’s still a success.

When we reframe our idea of success as not simply fulfilling an objective but rather as making progress towards a final goal, then we can start to see all our small actions as leading us in the right direction. We can look at these smaller achievements as stepping stones on the way to reaching our bigger dreams. Any amount of success is success!

Another part of reframing success comes from shifting our attention from the end outcome to the small habits and mental focus that you are cultivating that are taking you in the direction of your goal. We can do that in two ways:

Create Awareness

Recognize and become aware of the small systems and processes you are setting up to move towards your objectives. These are the tiny but significant actions that will turn into habits on the path to reaching the goals you set. Being mindful of how you spend your time and where you direct your energy will inevitably lead us to success.

Leverage the Snowball Effect

I first learned about the snowball effect from Dave Ramsey and used it to manage my finances but it applies to every other goal you’re aiming for too. The idea is simple. Small actions lead to bigger actions that lead to your desired outcome.

Whether you’re trying to get more clients, make more money, lose weight, or achieve any other goal, if you just do one little thing, you are on the way to achieving some part of your dreams. Start by taking small actions and keep doing them. The more we keep going on that path, the more that we keep integrating these habits and systems, and the more we can count on getting to our desired results.

Goal Setting Strategies

Targets we set act as goalposts. They help us know where to direct our energy, both in our personal lives and businesses. However, keep in mind that it might change as you go along and that’s just a part of life.

So when you set your next goal, here are four tips to guide you:

  1. Let go of the outcome: Hold on loosely but don't let it be the end-all, be-all of your efforts. If you hold too tightly or get too attached to the result, you're going to lose control (cue Hold On Loosely song by 38 Special) so try releasing it or using it as a guiding light instead.

  2. Seek alignment: When your goals are in alignment with who you are, your values, your beliefs, and what you hold true, you can’t help but move towards them. The final outcome may be different from what you had imagined, but seeking alignment will set you up for success in the long run.

  3. Embody productivity: Focus on the small steps that you will take to reach your objectives. What are the habits that will set you up for success?

  4. Create awareness around your time: It’s not useful to set goals if we don’t set aside time to carry out the actions to reach them. Time blocking is an effective tool that can help you create awareness around how you spend your time and ensure you have time carved out for self-care.

If you are ready to shift your thinking around goal setting, set meaningful goals that light you up, and achieve them with confidence, I would love to be your cheerleader. Together, we can help you set achievable goals while reframing what it means to obtain them! Sign up for a FREE 30-minute chat with me today!


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