Why People Fail to Achieve Their Goals

The four reasons why and what you need to do

Most people and I assume that you are one of them, know the importance of having goals and goal- setting. Setting goals gives you something to strive towards and boosts your self-confidence when you achieve them.

But do you set goals and pursue them? Research suggests that 80% of all people never set goals for themselves; furthermore, of the 20% that do set goals for themselves about 70% fail to achieve them. In short, only six people in every hundred set and achieve goals for themselves!

So why do people fail to achieve their goals?

There are four key reasons that underpin this. These include:

1. Setting goals that are too low – people tend to set goals that are easier for them to achieve rather than harder goals which are more demanding or which will take them outside their comfort zone. As a result, they are not motivated sufficiently to achieve the goals and them under-invest in what they need to do and how they do it. As a result, people set themselves low goals which they fail to achieve – hardly an inspiring level of performance!

2.The planning fallacy – this is when people underestimate the amount of effort, time, resources and energy that is required in order to achieve the goals. So they find that what they have to hand and with which to achieve the plan is insufficient. In these situations, people lack persistence and often give up or make excuses for themselves.

3.Optimism bias – people tend to be too optimistic in terms of how easy it will be achieved; this, in conjunction with the planning fallacy, results in people developing plans on an overly hopeful basis. These plans then quickly fall over when an unexpected event occurs, or progress does not occur as expected; this puts people on the back foot and they become reactive focusing on trying to catch up on an unrealistic plan.

4. People look to compete, not dominate – your goals are in place to help you achieve your strategy. The strategy is not about competing against your competition, it is about winning – and to win you must dominate your market. If you just compete you are looking to beat your competition, not dominate them.

Four Steps for Achieving Goals

  • Set Your Goals – it may seem obvious, but you can’t achieve goals unless you know what they are.
  • Make your goals significant – don’t go for 10% over what you achieved last year that is just an incremental improvement. Go for something really significant; improve by a factor or two, three, four or more. At worst if you underachieve on a much larger goal you will have achieved much more than on an incrementally larger goal, at best you will be on a much higher level.
  • Take non-stop action continuously in your efforts to dominate.
  • Once you start to achieve your goals then step up your level and intensity of effort.

Once you have your goals in place then pursue them. Don’t make excuses for failing to achieve your goal that just wastes time, effort and energy. It may be easier and safer to do nothing, but if you want a life that is worth living then challenge yourself and go beyond your comfort zone; set yourself challenging goals and pursue them with single-minded determination and effort that outpaces those around you.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here. 

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s