Top 5 reasons people fail to achieve their goals

1. Radical changesethan-sykes-222962-unsplash

Physical or mental changes will always require planning and a smooth transition. Setting goals that are too high can drastically decrease the chances of success. If you have not done any physical exercises in the past year, you cannot start with 4 times a week for 30 minutes a day. If so, he/she would fail before hitting the target of week one and would end up discouraged.

This also applies mentally, as the thought of working hard for something that looks “so far” to be achieved turns to be a demotivator. People who don’t achieve success – after some hard work – has increased chances of failure and quitting, resulting in a discouraged person or team. It can be toxic especially in organizations.

Setting small, but progressive goals, are never exciting but proven to be the key to success and organic progression. Succeeding from level 1 to level 2,  prepares and motivates you to level 3. 

“Smooth, steady and progressive changes are more dynamic and adaptable, promotes motivation, and reduces risks”



2. Not exploring the real WHY behind a goal


The first step when making a plan is to deeply explore why you want to achieve what you want to achieve in the first place.

Often, we see people doing the same job or activity for years, and even being somehow successful, are unmotivated and unhappy. Among other reasons, the majority of them lack clarity of purpose, not knowing why they are doing what they are doing anymore.

Whenever people don’t understand the real why behind what they do, quitting is a matter of time. That’s why it is so important for people and organizations to make their visions and missions as clear as possible and to remind themselves and others of it on a regular basis.

The better you understand the real motivation behind a goal, easier it gets to set an objective, and straight, action plan, and more prone to success you will be. Changes are fuelled by purpose.

“Changing without a purpose is like driving a car without a destination”


3. Lack of Precision and Specificity


Several studies confirm that people who set the precise time and location to perform a task, are 75% more likely of doing it.

In an experiment, a group of drug addicts was studied during the period of withdrawal (a time when the effort required to control the urge to take drugs severely compromises their ability to undertake nearly any other task). As part of the effort to help them find employment post-rehabilitation, one group was asked to commit to writing a CV before 5:00 PM on a particular day. Not a single one succeeded. A second group was asked to complete the same task, but this time, to say beforehand exactly WHEN and WHERE they would write the CV. Eighty percent of that group succeed.

Therefore, people who set time and location to do something, not only maximize effectiveness but also increase the chances of succeeding in short and long term goals.

4. Being too hard on yourself


Researches suggest that people who condemn themselves due to failure and sustain guilty, are twice more likely to repeat the same mistake and can end up quitting before achieving the desired outcome.

Self-condemnation directly affects levels of self-confidence. How we see ourselves is powerful – but often overlooked. Self-condemnation, hold us back from having a resilient mindset.

Believing and being surrounded by people who believe in yourself is a powerful strategy. For instance, studies found a correlation between the level of how mothers believe in their child and their late success in life. Resilient mindsets see failures, mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities. 

Failure (as well as success) is part of life and mistakes are best served if used as a fuel of motivation and determination for not failing again.

5. Focusing on what you DON’T want instead of what you DO want to achieve or to become


Studies says that goals using negative statements such as “From now on, I will not…….anymore” are 50% more likely of failing.

By default, our brain focuses on whatever we think. For instance, if you are trying to quit smoking, by repeating to yourself anything similar to: “I will not smoke anymore”, will certainly not help. For every time you repeat this, your brain will pull up the exact image and feeling of smoking.

However, if you focus your thoughts on something like: “I am free, I am healthy”, your brain will have no reason to assimilate with the feelings of smoking. Your mind will empower this thought and you will be stronger when temptation comes. 

Always focusing on what you DO want – to achieve or to become – is a powerful strategy that sets you for success, requiring less energy. So whenever you set a new goal, never use statements such as:

  • I am not…
  • I will not…
  • I cannot…

But instead, always focus on what you do want to achieve to get or to become.

“Whatever you focus on, you will only have more of it”

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