The Top 10 Reasons Your Goals Fail

Top 10 Reasons Your Goals FailIt is that time of year again, where we set goals and make New Years Resolutions.

Like many of you, I’ve made resolutions and goals only to have them fail. Some big and some little, but in the end they all ended up on the cutting room floor.

Yes, even a leadership coach can fail at achieving goals. I’m human and perfectly normal.

So, I decided to go back through the archives and do some research to see what tripped me up from success. What were the common themes and elements which led to my failure?

While this list is not comprehensive, it represents some of the big ideas and reasons why I failed and I bet many of these will resonate with you.

Without further ado…

The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Goals Fail:

  1.  You don’t break bad habits. The name of the game is breaking bad habits and creating the good habits needed to accomplish your goals. Your life is a series of habits. If you keep doing the same thing, you can surely expect the same results. Not a recipe for achieving goals.
  2.  You play the blame game. “It’s his fault, I’m too busy, my boss keeps me late.” You need to be responsible and take full ownership for your success or failure of your goals. Life will get in the way, but you need to accept what is yours. Make the necessary choices to move forward no matter how difficult.
  3. You don’t put systems in place. Systems and routines help you stay on track and re-enforce good new habits. Use your calendar and schedule your entire day. Use a time management system like GTD or the Pomodoro Technique. Schedule your day and focus your time on what you need to do to accomplish your goal.
  4. You don’t work in increments. Little steps lead to big results. Therefore, you must execute daily towards your goal. Break down your goal in bite size steps and create systems and processes to help you work in daily and hourly increments (see GTD and Pomodoro Technique).
  5. You allow distractions to rule you. The sparkly new gadget keeps taking you away from what you need to do or your favorite website just has to be checked one more time. Pause, capture the distractions on paper, put them aside and get back to it.
  6. You don’t set boundaries. Other people may not know you are trying to instill new habits and practices to accomplish your goal, so they continue to interrupt you or monopolize your time. You need to set new boundaries and ask for them to be respected. Create a system to negotiate and respond to other people’s requests.
  7. You don’t observe and iterate. Self-observation and tracking your progress is key towards your success. You need to allocate time daily, weekly and monthly to review what is working and what isn’t. Then you need to adjust accordingly. Staying on the same path without checking to make sure it’s the right direction will not lead you to success.
  8. You don’t keep you goal in front of you. Often times we will write out our goal in great detail and never look at it again. Always have your goal in front of you. Always keep your goals near you so you can remember them. The more you see it the less you will want to stray from it.
  9. You don’t ask for support. You can’t always make it on your own and requesting support from your friends, colleagues, family and a coach can give you the extra oomph you need to succeed. It’s ok to ask for help.
  10. You aren’t learning from your mistakes. Along the way you are going to make mistakes. In order to learn and implement fixes, you need to step back and observe what went wrong. Don’t ignore it and hope it won’t happen again. Not learning from your mistakes can also lead you to beating yourself up. Avoid this path by accepting the mistake, learning and moving forward.

So there is my list culled from years of experience, trial and error.

Do any of these ring a bell?

Beyond New Years Resolutions & SMART GoalsWhat I’ve found to help me achieve goals, besides avoiding the pitfalls above, is to do the following:

  • Take a snapshot of my current reality
  • Envision my future or desired result
  • Know my core values or guiding principles
  • Create detailed SMART goals
  • Know my inner challenges and how to work with or around them
  • Create a plan

Lucky for you I’ve written up a series of posts that will help you do exactly what is outlined above.

Beyond New Years Resolutions & SMART Goals

To achieve goals with more ease and enjoyment, I’ve found that creating a plan, which is tied deeply to my personal vision and values along with support has given me the best odds of full execution and success.

As you enter the New Year, take time to set yourself up for success, avoid the mistakes above and follow the system outlined in Beyond New Years Resolutions and SMART Goals.

Here’s to  your success in 2013!

Image courtesy: Tim Green aka atoach

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