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7 Reasons You’re NOT Achieving Goals

Illustration of a person digging themselves into a hole instead of making plans to achieve their goals

You’ve been trying to achieve your goals for weeks, months, and even years with little success. You feel like a failure, and it is only making you more frustrated. But why?

What are the real reasons that you aren’t achieving your goals?

In this blog post, we will explore 7 common reasons why achieving goals can be difficult and how to overcome them!

1. You Don’t Have a Clear Goal

Achieving goals is only possible with a clear goal.

If you don’t know what to do, how will achieving your goals be possible?

Make sure that you have a clear goal in mind at all times. If not, this can lead to unclear thinking which inevitably leads to difficult, confusing, and non-beneficial decision-making.

Remember why achieving specific goals is important to you so that when tough choices and hard times arise, it won’t be difficult to stick to your path.

How to Create a Clear Goal?

Start with writing down your reasons for wanting to achieve this specific goal.

Take into consideration the next goal you want to achieve:

  • is a part of a bigger goal
  • is beneficial to your personal development
  • will contribute to your long-term happiness
  • if achieving this goal is a priority for you

Once you’ve established the base or foundation of your goal, it’s time to begin setting goals and creating a specific plan to reach your goals.

With the next step, you can utilize the SMART method to avoid losing sight or getting off track with achieving your goals.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

The SMART method is one of the most effective techniques for achieving goals because it allows you to focus on one goal at a time while imposing a time limit so achieving specific goals doesn’t become a never-ending process.

By achieving smaller goals within the time limit you’ve set, achieving bigger and more complicated goals becomes much more manageable.

Achieving your goal should be fun and exciting, not frustrating or agonizing!

By achieving smaller specific goals, your sense of accomplishment, pride, and happiness will increase while boosting your confidence to take on bigger goals.

The next time achieving your long-term goal seems too difficult to deal with, utilize this simple method so that it won’t be as complicated to manage or even start.

Remember: Without understanding your reason(s) why achieving goals is important to you, there’s no way you can expect success by blindly following someone else’s advice. Don’t forget to factor in your personality and values when setting goals.

2. You’re Not Taking Enough Action

To achieve your goals, you must take action.

Nothing in life is achieved without doing something. If achieving your goals is important to you, then take action now!

Keep in mind that achieving goals requires work and dedication.

Goal setting alone doesn’t provide results; achieving goals requires action.

Achieving goals combines goal setting, planning, and taking action to make achieving your goals a reality!

How Do You Take Enough Action?

Many people struggle to achieve their goals because they fail to take action, lose sight of why they’re working toward their goal, or they give up before coming close to the finish line.

If you believe that mere motivation will keep your momentum up during times when all you want to do is avoid everyone and everything for a few days, you’re setting yourself up for a colossal failure.

Sometimes motivation doesn’t work when you need it the most, which is why creating a system where achieving your goals is a necessity rather than an option will help you stay on track to achieve all of your short-term and long-term goals.

Remember, motivation doesn’t last forever.

During moments of doubt, a routine or habit will get you going faster and easier than watching all the motivational videos or reading all the motivational blogs.

Create a system for achieving your goals and turn that system into a healthy habit.

Whether you want to lose weight, make more money, or becoming more business savvy, achieving any goal is a process.

For example:

On days when I’m feeling lazy and unmotivated, I still push through and try to work on the goals I already set for the day and keep track of my progress by working my way ticking off my to-do list.

I’ve become accustomed to doing certain things at a specific time to the point that if that time slot passes and I don’t complete something pertaining to that task, it feels weird and unnatural.

For example, writing in my journal and drinking at least two glasses of water first thing in the morning.

This process helps tremendously, and it doesn’t matter if I’m moving at a snail’s pace. What matters is that I’m making progress even on days when I feel like sleeping in all day.

It doesn’t matter what your system looks like as long as you have one and stick to it.

Creating a system is relatively easy. However, sticking to it is a harder task.

A quick 25 minutes time slot every day or every other day can be the difference between achieving your goals and not achieving them.

Start by choosing a specific time throughout your day to incorporate working on your goal. It’s best to choose your peak times which are the times when you’re most productive.

After choosing a time, develop an actionable task that will advance achieving goals, which simply means doing the action step you’ve identified for the goal you’ve set. Remember, baby steps are just as important as giant leaps.

If you can get a fraction of your goal completed during your chosen time slot, you’ve made more progress than waiting for the perfect time to work on a bigger portion of that goal.

If you fail to complete your entire task for the day, don’t fret, you can always pick up where you left off tomorrow.

Rome was not built in a day, so don’t be too hard on yourself. A little action is always better than no action.

Take the first step, even if it’s small, and stay dedicated to get where you want to be.

Remember achieving goals is a process, not an overnight accomplishment.

3. You’re Comparing Yourself to Others

You may believe that comparing your achievements may keep your accountability in check, but the truth is, comparing yourself to other people will only make achieving goals harder.

The key is to understand that everyone has unique strengths, weaknesses, and their own paths in life.

Comparing yourself to others will lead to a list of unwanted issues:

  • You’ll become discouraged and start thinking you’re not doing enough.
  • It will become harder to stay focused on achieving your goals because you’re distracted.
  • You’ll feel like achieving your goals is too difficult because you’re not achieving at the same rate as someone else.
  • You’ll believe achieving goals is impossible and you’re not cut out for success.

Thinking those negative thoughts will spiral you into a loop of negativity which will bar you from working towards your goals.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Keep your focus on what you want to achieve instead of how much someone else is achieving because their achievements belong to them, not anyone else.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself?

Keep track of your progress.

Having a tangible record to refer to whenever you’re in doubt about how much progress you’re making will help ease those negative thoughts and keep you on track to achieving your goals.

If someone does something that makes you feel discouraged, take a step back and remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why achieving this goal is important to YOU.

Mentally acknowledge the things other people are achieving but do not allow them to distract and discourage you from all the work you’ve been doing.

To achieve any goal, you must first believe achieving your goals is possible and that you’re worthy of success.

Set goals that you’re passionate about achieving.

The more time you spend thinking of reasons why achieving your goal is not possible, the less likely you will achieve them. It’s that simple.

Remember to focus on what drives YOU to achieve goals instead of comparing yourself to others who are achieving their goals at a different pace.

Once again, achieving goals is a process, not an overnight accomplishment. So take it day by day and celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small or irrelevant they may seem.

By keeping track of your progress, you’ll eliminate the need to compare yourself with others to determine how far you’ve come and how much more work needs to be done.

4. You Lack Motivation and Determination

Motivation is believed to be the driving force behind accomplishing goals.

While it’s important to stay motivated, it’s not the only factor to consider when working toward your goals.

Even though a lack of motivation can be a sign that something you’re doing needs to change, it works best when combined with determination and habitual systems.

When pursuing any dream, obstacles are inevitable along the way.

However, achieving goals isn’t just about achieving a specific outcome. It’s about the journey you take to get there and the fact that even though obstacles may appear in your path, they’re not meant to stop you from achieving your goal but rather help guide you towards it.

If you put forth a solid effort and execute all the action steps required with dedication and perseverance, then you will be able to achieve any goal no matter how many times an obstacle gets in your way.

For example:

If your weight loss goal is to lose 20 pounds, then it’s likely that a lot of obstacles are going to get in the way at some point or another.

Those obstacles can come in the form of unhealthy tasty treats that you’ve never been able to say no to or not having the energy to get a great workout session done during the week.

However, achieving goals is about falling and getting back up again even when you’ve fallen more times than you can count.

Your determination and consistent effort will help you overcome those roadblocks.

So, How Do You Stay Motivated and Determined?

Keep reminding yourself why you’re working towards your goal.

Understanding your Why will have you accomplishing goals even when you’re feeling your lowest.

Think about what achieving your goals means to YOU, and never allow anyone or anything else to distract you from that thought.

What is your purpose of wanting to achieve the goals you have?

The answer to that question is your true driving force. That is where your motivation will come from every single day to accomplish all your goals and dreams.

That reason will spark your creativity to build habitual systems that will work once implemented to achieve your goals.

That reason will reinforce your determination every time you start losing sight of why you’re enduring all the headaches and hardships that come along with your goal achievement.

If achieving goals were easy, then everyone would be doing it. However, the truth is there are only a few people who are actually brave enough to go after their dreams and achieve them.

Allow your reason to mold you into one of those people who work smartly to accomplish their goals.

Achieving goals takes dedication, courage, and a lot of perseverance when faced with the inevitable obstacles that will come in your path along the way.

The more you understand why you want to achieve your goals, the easier it is going to be for you to find the motivation and determination you need to cross the finish line.

5. Your Goals Are Vague or Too Complicated

complicated goals

Smart goals are specific, detailed goals. Set smart goals to avoid confusion and frustration.

Any goal that is too complicated (too many insignificant parts) or too ambiguous (has no specific information included) can lead to failure, and achieving it becomes confusing, frustrating, and impossible.

Take, for example, the goal of “I want to be rich.”

Now, what exactly does this mean? What sum of money do you consider to be “rich?”

Is “rich” a specific number?

No, it’s not. It’s an ambiguous goal. You may not even have a real reason for wanting to be rich other than to spend money on materialistic things that probably won’t bring you any happiness.

How to Clarify Your Goals?

To turn any ambiguous dream — especially the one mentioned above — into a smart goal requires answering a few questions.

Using the “I want to be rich!” goal as an example, here are a few questions that should help:

  • What is your reason(s) for wanting to be rich?
  • What is the specific amount of money you desire?
  • What date do you want this goal to be achieved?
  • How will you go about acquiring the money?
  • What different elements do you need to educate yourself on when it comes to the topic of money? (money management, investments, etc.)
  • What boundaries are you not willing to cross to acquire the money you desire?
  • What will your milestones look like, and how far apart will you set them?
  • How will you keep yourself accountable and track the progression of your goal?

As you can see, there are many factors to consider.

If you’re currently working towards a goal and you haven’t broken it down into smaller pieces, then it’s time to do that now.

Everything you’re working toward needs to be broken down into smaller pieces. This makes achieving them become less impossible and more manageable.

Uncomplicate and clarify your goals by thinking about exactly what you want to achieve and what route you’ll take to achieve them.

6. Your Priorities Are Out of Order

Priorities are your order of importance. Knowing what is most important in your life will assist you with achieving any goal faster and more effectively.

When you have no idea where your priorities lie, things can get complicated really quickly.

Not knowing where to focus your energy and what to do when you have some free time can make you feel like you’re working hard without making any progress.

You have the power to change your life, no matter what situation you may be facing. The key to making this change is to determine your priorities.

What is the most important thing in your life?

What is the second most important thing in your life?

How do achieving goals fit into all of this?

Once you know exactly where your priorities lie, you can begin to set boundaries.

For example:

If your family or friends invited you to a get-together and you’ve been wanting to spend time with them, then it’s probably a good idea for you to attend the get-together.

However, if achieving your goals is the top priority in your life right now, then achieving those goals requires sacrificing some personal free time.

Instead of going out on a Friday night with your friends or family, use that free time to gain some headway on your goals.

It’s more than okay to take a break once in a while and enjoy life’s pleasures. However, constantly making excuses to get away from working on bettering yourself will leave you in the same place you’re wanting to escape.

The truth is achieving your goals requires some sacrifice. Prioritizing your time will help you understand when is a good time to step away and have some fun and when you need to buckle down and get some work done.

How to Prioritize Achieving Goals?

Analyze your goal’s action steps.

How much time do you need to dedicate to accomplish this goal before your deadline expires?

If you have extra time, by all means, enjoy some fun time because your brain works better when it’s in a relaxed state.

However, if your deadline is rapidly approaching and you have not completed the majority of the steps needed to achieve your goal, then your goal takes precedence over everything else, with the exception of emergency situations, of course.

Remember, if your reason for accomplishing your goal is strong enough, skipping out on a few fun activities won’t affect you too much.

Determine what needs to be done and when it should be completed.

Set time aside every day or week (whatever works best for you) and work on making your goals a reality.

If distracting activities pop up during those times, simply decline the invitation.

7. You’re Not Using a Goal Achievement Plan

Having helpful tools to keep your progress on track can be the difference between achieving your goal and getting stuck in the mud.

All you need is a pen and paper or a word processing program (Notes, Word, Google docs, etc.) to write out an achievable, measurable plan for your goals.

To determine what steps must be taken to achieve your goal, create a Goal Achievement Plan that works best for you.

This should include:

  • Your specific goal in detail
  • Start and finish date
  • Milestones
  • Smaller action steps to work up to achieving your milestones
  • Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to-do checklist

Creating a goal achievement plan can be very time-consuming, especially when you’re starting from scratch.

No need to worry. I’ve already done the tedious work and created a printable yearly planner that includes a goal achievement plan, a to-do list, and many other helpful templates to help you stay on track and achieve all your goals.

When you understand how much control you have over the direction of your life, especially with achieving your goals, you’ll begin to see and understand that anything in life is truly possible.

Use the systems available to help yourself to propel forward.

Give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals by filling out a plan and sticking to it.

Schedule your action steps in your weekly calendar and hold yourself accountable to achieving all your goals.

You hold the fate of your future in your hands, so don’t take no for an answer and don’t allow anyone or anything to discourage you from achieving any goal you set.

Start Achieving Your Goals

To achieve your goals, sacrifices must be made. You can’t have it all without giving anything in return. Dedicate the time and energy necessary for what’s most important in life right now.

Create systems to keep moving forward, especially when your mood or motivation levels dip.

Be accountable for achieving your goals by holding yourself responsible for taking action and achieving all you can in life no matter what obstacles may arise.

You’re capable of achieving anything if you put your mind to it. A plan is just a tool that will help guide you through this process.

Create your achievable goal plan from the yearly planner available here on Navigating This Space.

All of your accomplishments begin and end with you.

Questions You May Have

What is the importance of achieving goals?

Achievement goals help us find our sense of purpose in life. It helps us feel like we are making progress and moving forward to a better future. Goals give us a target to aim for and something to look forward to. Without goals, we would just be drifting through life without any real sense of direction or purpose.

How can I achieve my goals?

Time and dedication are the secret ingredients to achieving goals. The more time you put in, the more determined you will be to achieve your goals. They work hand in hand. Break your ultimate goals down into smaller action steps and keep track of your progress. This will help to keep you motivated as you inch closer to your targets.

How can I become great in life?

Do something great every day. That’s the only way to become great in life. You can achieve anything if you take it one step at a time. What does not kill you makes you stronger, so learn from your mistakes, constantly adjust your path, and don’t waste time procrastinating.

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Jody is a creative writer, artist, graphic designer, and a digital nomad who also helps people live more fulfilling lives by finding creative solutions to their personal growth and development problems and lifestyle challenges.

2 thoughts on “7 Reasons You’re NOT Achieving Goals”

  1. I feel like I’m pretty good with all of these, but the one that gets me is comparing myself to others. My goal for my entire life has always been to become an author. And this year I decided to actually sit down and write my book. I’ve mapped everything out in baby steps and made a clear plan. But I always come back to, “there’s better authors out there.” It’s exhausting, but I’m working on it.

    1. Jody

      Knowing where you falter will help you overcome it. You’re doing great Kasia because you’re working to become the best version of yourself, I’m proud of you and I’m rooting for you, keep going! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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