The practice of setting life goals has a process that is important to follow, which includes goal setting, action scheduling, and implementing. Of course, there is also testing and tracking periodically to ensure your ideas are working, but in general, goal setting includes more than just writing down some dreams.

Writing down a goal does not mean you will accomplish that goal. It only means that it is what you want out of life. But to achieve the goal, you must do the work required to achieve it.

For example, if you wrote down a goal to write a 100K-word novel within the next year, you’ll have to realistically plot how much time you need to accomplish your goal in the time you have set – ending up with a daily task list that will ensure the job gets done if you do the tasks.

There are plenty of reasons why some people achieve goals and some don’t.  Understanding these reasons is essential so that you can be sure to be one of the people who do achieve theirs through SMART goal setting (more on SMART later). 

Fear of Failure and Rejection

For most people, the fear of failure and rejection alone will prevent them from trying. Don’t let this happen to you. Research shows that failure and rejection is the best way to learn something new. As Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Not Knowledgeable about How to Set and Achieve Goals

Probably the second most common reason why people fail to achieve their goals is that they don’t know how to set them up correctly in the first place. Goals need to be clear and as specific as possible to work. Most experts suggest that you use SMART goal setting to help yourself succeed. That means a goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely or time bound. Basically, that just means that you need to know precisely what you want to accomplish, how you’re going to get there, how you’ll know you got there, and that it’s possible to do it.

For example, a goal that is as vague as, “Make $10,000 a month” doesn’t tell you anything, nor does it provide a sense of direction.

How do you want to make $10,000 a month?

You may want to make $10K a month, but can you really do that in your current career path or educational path?

When you set out goals, make them very clear and visualize yourself completing them as you go along. If something along the way doesn’t feel right or you feel lost, you need to keep redefining these goals to make them even more clear. You should be able to look at your calendar today and see what you’ve scheduled to do, and know that if you achieve those small tasks, which goal it’s advancing you toward.

Sense of Unimportance

The difference between someone completing a goal and not achieving a goal is often not what you know, but the confidence you have in your ability to achieve your goal. The person who completed the goal knew they had a path to get it done, and because of that, they did the work to ensure success.

Don’t let doubt and a sense of unimportance prevent you from accomplishing a goal. It only leads to a lack of confidence and self-sabotage that you don’t need to feel.

Too Much Too fast

Often, people avoid goals altogether because they become overwhelmed. Sometimes succeeding is scary. Alternatively, you may have bitten off more than you can chew, and due to that, you didn’t set your schedule realistically.

Slow down and realize time is on your side and one of the reasons that we set goals in the first place. It breaks down a seemingly impossible task into small chunks or steps that you can take each day until you finally reach your main goal.

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it either. The harder it is, the better it will feel in the end when it is over. As you accomplish each goal, you will gain new skills and knowledge that will only make it easier to accomplish your next goal.


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