7 Reasons Why Goals Fail

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Why do some people achieve their goals and some never do? Does that mean some people have what it takes and some do not? 

The truth is we succeed at our goals when we recognize why we fail.  Turning our failures into lessons learned gives us the resources and information to achieve our goals. 

7 reasons are why goals fail 

1- It’s not visible.  

If your goal is not in a place where you can see it, then the saying is true “out of sight, out of mind.” 

The more you see your goal, the more you will embrace it.  One simple way to keep your goal in front of you is to create a goal vision board. 

Another idea for keeping your goal visible is to give it a name or an image.  For example, if your goal is debt freedom, you could call it FIND (Freedom In No Debt) and then write the word “FIND” everywhere… your phone, bathroom mirror, in your car, etc. 

It’s subtle but super powerful to keep our goal visible!


2- The goal is not attainable (at least not in the short term.)

Goals should be big.  Goals should be bold.  But not so big and so bold that we set ourselves up for failure before we even start.  

Let’s say you admit you’re somewhat of a packrat and have had enough of the clutter.  Which goal is more realistic?

I’m going to declutter the whole house in one month.

I’m going to declutter one room at a time over the next year.

It’s easy to see that the second goal is more attainable, but some people miss this important part of goal setting.  They set a big, bold goal that’s not attainable in the short term and that leads to defeat. 


3- It’s a goal without a vision. 

Some people refer to this step in the goal setting process as defining your why.

In the business world, the companies that are most successful have a clearly defined vision:  

Amazon- “Our vision is to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 

Starbucks- “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Google- “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” 

What is your why for achieving your goal?  If you don’t know or own your vision for your goal, define it and claim it! 

Knowing your why will keep you motivated and moving forward.  


4- It’s a goal without a plan. 

As the quote goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

Your goal needs actions and check points.  

If your goal is to run a 5K and you’re not in shape, then you need to take some action steps to head in the right direction. 

Your plan might include:

  • Walk for 2 minutes, Run for 1 minute
  • Exercise daily
  • Drink 8 cups of water (or more)

The daily actions will add up until you can meet your goal of completing your first 5K.  Then you can set a new goal to improve your time.  Action leads to results! 


5- Distractions take over. 

Distractions are an enemy of progress.  

Sometimes it’s referred to as chasing squirrels… getting off task and letting everything get in the way of achieving our goal.  This leads to nowhere! 


In order to succeed at our goals, we have to manage our time and productivity habits.

It’s easy for distractions to get in the way, but we achieve our goals when we stay focused and keep our “eyes on the prize.” 


6- Momentum fades. 

We start losing momentum when we do not see results.  This is when most people give up.  It’s the most challenging place to be.  

It reminds me of the true story I remember reading about in Napolean Hill’s book, paraphrased below.  

Darby found a deposit of gold and started drilling only to find that it mysteriously disappeared. He gave up and sold the land to a “junk man” for pennies on the dollar.  The junk man hired an expert to study the land.  He pointed out a fault line and, from that information, the junk man found the vein of gold just 3 feet away from where Darby had been drilling. 

Can you imagine?!?  Luckily, Darby ended up learning from his mistake of quitting too soon and went on to be successful in the insurance industry. 

The moral of the story… Don’t quit too early, success could be just “3 feet” away! 


7- Old habits die hard.

New habits require consistent repetition until they are no longer a habit, it’s just part of your regular routine.  

It is not easy to break old habits.  But doing the same thing over and over leads to the same results.  

Achieving a new goal requires letting go of old ways of thinking and doing things. A new belief in yourself/your goal will shift your mindset and that’s the “magic sauce” of successfully achieving your goals.  


FAQ’s related to reasons why goals fail-

What are the statistics on achieving goals?

The University of Scranton conducted a study on achieving New Year’s Resolutions.  The results found that only 8% of people achieved their goals.  

More than likely they fall trap to some of the reasons listed above.  Also, New Year’s Resolutions are mostly part of a tradition that is not really associated with a plan for follow-through.  They are usually abandoned after a few days. 

Instead, set specific goals with an action plan to succeed!  


How can I improve my goal setting skills?

Anything you want to improve gets better just by focusing on that skill.  One way to do that is by surrounding yourself with goal achievers.  

Here are some of my favorites:


Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals

I’ve always been a fan of Michael Hyatt then I heard him speak at a leadership conference and became a bigger fan.  He is a great resource on productivity and goal setting. 


My favorite podcaster on the topic of setting and achieving goals is- 

Brook Castillo- The Life Coach School 


I have two goal setting resources in the resource library… just click on the folder labeled “Success Habits.” The monthly goal setting resource is an editable .pdf with motivational quotes. 


Why is setting goals so important? 

Setting goals is important because there are things we want to do in our lives that are entirely possible by putting a plan in place achieve them.  

We check daily things off the to do list because it’s important to keeping home, life & finances in order. 

Our goals should be an extension of that list to improve our home, life & finances.  It is a way to create meaningful experiences instead of regrets. 

How do you succeed in setting your goals?

Set yourself up for success with goal setting by:

  • Believing in yourself
  • Taking action
  • Staying committed 

Those are really the key parts of the goal setting process!


Related Reading:

10 Simple Ways to Reach Your Goals Faster


Reasons Why Goals Fail



Join me in putting strategies and systems in place to simplify finances and home in order to spend time on the things and people that matter most. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Recent Posts