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Achieving your goals - Why you fail to reach your goals

Updated on March 18, 2012

Achieving your goals

Everyone has goals or at least dreams to reach somewhere. To achieve your goals, you need to follow a process of goal setting, planning and execution. When people fail to understand this process adequately, they tend to miss their goals. People who miss the mark do so because they understand neither themselves nor their goals, or because they do not have enough drive to take them to their destinations. Not being able to achieve your goals is not a major problem as long as you are able to review, analyze and find what is stopping you from achieving your goals and correct the process of implementation. Top achievers work consistently and with determination right from the stage of conceptualisation until they achieve their goals.

Achieving your goals
Achieving your goals | Source

Top 10 reasons why you fail to achieve your goals

Not being certain of what you want – Most people desire many things, but they do not know what they want or why they want them. Not knowing your own mind or your goals could be a major reason why you fail to achieve your goals. Wanting is not everything, being able to evaluate, prioritize and decide what you really want to achieve, helps direct your efforts towards goal achievement. Uncertainty and indecisiveness get in the way of your progress towards your goals.

Unclear goals – Goals that are not specific or well defined seem vague and unreachable. Goals need to be specific or measurable and it is important to write them down. Goals also need to be broken down into short term and long-term goals in order to sustain motivation and achievement. Targets should be clear and reachable – bite what you can chew. Big targets usually de-motivate people. Unclear goals tend to confuse and misdirect your efforts and bring down your level of motivation.

Lack of focus / planning – Planning brings into clear focus the objective and directs your efforts in the right direction. Planning should take into account the finer details especially when it concerns short-term targets. When you do not have alternate plans, you tend to get frustrated at every obstacle. Plans should take all areas of life into consideration. If you are planning for your career, factors like family or health, social factors etc. need to be taken into consideration. When these are considered, there could be a conflict of interests and this could lead to failure in achievement of goals.

Lack of motivation – Lack of motivation is one of the biggest reasons for failure to reach your goals. As the saying goes, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration’. The ninety-nine percent of your achievement could become drudgery if you do not have the motivation, commitment or passion to take you through to the end. People find inspiration everywhere; they jump quickly into action without adequately planning and quit at the first taste of difficulty. This is where motivation plays a huge role. Motivation is what sees you to the end and it needs to come from within. Looking towards others for motivation does not really help. No one is going to cheer lead you all the way, people have their own life to focus on. You need to find that motivation within yourself. Visualisation is an excellent tool for sustaining your motivation. When you lack passion and foresight, you are destined to fail.

Lack of persistence – Not being able to hang on to your goals in the face of hardships is what stops you from reaching your goals. Persistence is not just hard work, but it is the ability to think creatively, out of the box and be able to pull yourself out of difficult situations. Persistence is ‘never say quit’. Not being able to take responsibility for one’s own plans and actions and not being able to follow through is what stops a person from achieving his / her goals. Procrastination and putting off things that you can do today to another day are all part of lack of persistence. which stops you from achieving your goals.

Inability to handle stress – Stress can hit you in different forms, fear of failure, fear of success, opposition from others / external factors, lack of support and just the pressure of work is enough to make people bow down and run away. Handling stress is an art in itself and those who unable to cope with stress often break down. Resorting to making excuses, getting into blame games or complaining drains out all your energy and changes your focus. Being vigilant and capably handling stress is an important factor in achieving goals.


Insufficient skills – Over estimation of your potential or just the plain insufficiency of skills is enough to derail you from reaching your goals. Not knowing how to do things could send most people into panic mode. Insufficiency of skills itself is not a major problem for those who are highly motivated and willing to learn. Lack of skills becomes a huge hurdle to those who are not willing to learn or take help from others. Most people learn along the way, but a steep learning curve may de-motivate you if you are not open to learning. If you could think critically, you could handle any problem easily. The willingness to employ more skilful people or people skilled in that particular area could also help. The inability to perceive hindrances as opportunities and challenges for learning is a major limitation to achieve your goals.

Inflexibility – Sticking to your plans to such an extent that you are not able to think beyond them could cause you to stop halfway through your journey of achieving your goals. The ability to look at a problem from different angles and adapting yourself to other efficient methods of achieving your goals is important. The environment around continuously changes and the ability to adapt yourself to change is what makes a goal achievable. When people are too specific about what they want to do and refuse to brainstorm and find other means of working through a problem, they are stuck in a groove. Good planning is being able to plan for roadblocks, though oftentimes it is impossible to foresee everything. Inflexibility can be another important cause for you not to reach your goals.

Inability to learn from mistakes – Everyone makes mistakes. It is highly possible that you could make a mistake or mess up something in the projects that you undertake. The ability to extricate yourself from mistakes and being able to analyse and learn from each mistake is what takes a person towards his / her goals. Very often people blame themselves for mistakes and tend to think and act negatively. Thereby all their energies are focused negatively towards themselves and not towards their goals. Falling is normal, but being able to get up on your feet and march forward is what success is all about. Negative criticism that accrues towards you because of your mistakes could bog you down and detract you from your goals. Being able to take criticism positively and using them to challenge yourself to reach your goals is what stand between success and failure.

Revaluation of your plans – When people fail to revisit and re-evaluate their progress periodically, they tend to move further and further away from their original plans. This is where a well-written and well-considered plan helps. The failure to review your plans would also mean distraction and change of focus from your original goals. Not making use of your today to correct the past would mean more mistakes and failures in the future.

Being aware of what stops you from achieving your goals could help you become cautious and proactive. This list could also direct you in the path towards success and achieving your goals.


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    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      So good to know the reasons why we can't so we can! Excellent hub, thank you so much.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 5 years ago

      Nabolife, You are right goals have to be Realistic, based on your Values, achievable , Specific, Measurable and time bound... Evaluation of goals and resetting them to fall in line with these aspects of goal setting would take us closer to our goals. Thanks for stopping by. God Bless.

    • nabolife profile image

      Nabil 5 years ago from Morocco

      If you give a goal, analyze the cause and set a more realistic goal.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 5 years ago

      Paradise7, Goal achievement is about reevaluation and ensuring that we are on the right path. All of us need to be doing this on a regular basis. Your endorsement is very highly appreciated. I am sure that your search for excellence will be highly rewarded. Have a beautiful day. God bless!

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 5 years ago

      @Perspycacious, I do agree with you that Hubbers are achievers. Thank you for the positive and encouraging comment. Have a wonderful day. God bless!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'm in a period of re-assessment from my long-term goals right now. Some of them are no longer practical; others, well, I have different priorities now than when I was younger. Some of my long-term goals, I've already met.

      So, where am I now? That's the question I have to answer. I'm starting over in many ways. Where do I want to be?

      I'm printing out this article to peruse it again. I think it will help me tremendously, once I've answered the above question to my own satisfaction. Thank you.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I guess that (so far) the "why aren't yous" are ignoring this chance to learn, and all Hubbers are achievers (after all, they are here aren't they!) Good points made in your Hub, and worthy of examining whenever "something" is holding one back at the brink of achievement.