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As a coach, I see people making the same goal setting mistakes over and over again. These mistakes are the reason they fail to achieve their goals.

I’m convinced that this is why 80% of people’s new year’s resolutions fail by February and why so many people just give up on their big goals and dreams.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Goal setting works and it can be extremely powerful provided you understand both the mistakes to avoid and the strategies for success.

In this article, you will:

  • Discover 29 reasons why you fail to achieve your big goals
  • Learn some simple strategies you can action today to maximise your success
  • Gain access to our Ultimate Goal Setting Guide

29 big reasons you fail to achieve your big goals

29 big reasons why people fail to achieve their goals

1. You keep your goals in your mind and haven’t written them down

This one simple act of writing your goals down will boost your chances of success by a whopping 42%. To find out more about this powerful practice check out my post on why you need to write down your goals and then go grab that pen and paper!

2. You used the SMART Goal setting process to set your big dreams

When it comes to big dreams, investing your time in SMART goals won’t pay off. To begin with, SMART Goals are outdated. Secondly, SMART goals were designed specifically for the workplace. They were never intended for setting big goals and dreams. Curious to know more? Check out this post on Why SMART Goals don’t work and uncover a great alternative.

3. Your goal is too vague

I see this a lot. When it comes to goals, it pays to be specific. So many times, I see people with vague goals such as ‘I want to exercise more’ — more than what? Does that mean taking two extra steps a day? What does success look like? How will you know if you ever know if you have achieved it?

A more specific goal would be ‘I want to exercise three times a week for 30 minutes’. With this goal it’s clear what you want and the specific action you need to take to achieve it.

Take a moment now and reflect on your goal. Ask yourself: “could it be more specific?”

4. You don’t visualise your success

Visualisation is a simple technique that really works to boost your success. Create a vision board, daydream about success, really imagine and feel what it’s like to achieve your goals.

The power of visualisation really works — for some incredible inspiration check out our 4 celebrities talking about how visualisation brought them closer to their goals.

5. You lack the self-confidence to pursue your goals

There is no question about it: it takes confidence and courage to achieve our goals. In the past, I doubted myself when I set big goals.

I questioned whether I could really achieve them. I asked myself what others would think of me and felt thrown when challenges presented themselves.

What really helped me was boosting my self-confidence. One top tip is to use positive affirmations daily. Check out our list of positive affirmations for self-esteem, its packed with examples and tips!

6. Your goal is too easy

There is a wealth of psychology literature that setting a goal that is challenging increases motivation and energy levels. Frank Smoll (PhD) in an article for Psychology Today writes: “Difficult or challenging goals produce better performance than moderate or easy goals. The higher the goal, the higher the performance.”

But keep it realistic! Dr Smoll goes on to add that this works, provided the goal does not exceed what a person is capable of.

Take a moment to review your goal and ask yourself: does this challenge you?

7. You spend too much time with negative people

Negative people hold you back from your big goals and suck you into their ‘everyday drama’.

Jim Rohn the famous motivational speaker, and early mentor to Tony Robbins believes, that “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.” It is important to realise that success breeds success.

Consider who you are spending your time with and ask yourself, ‘whether they raise you up or drag you down?’ Think about who will give you more energy and who will simply take it away.

Surround yourself with like-minded people enables you to learn and model their behaviours, accelerating you towards your goals.

Think about where you could meet these people — is it online? If you have an exercise goal perhaps it’s at a gym or if you have a business goal maybe it’s at a networking event. Ask yourself: where could you meet likeminded people that could support you in achieving your goals?

8. You struggle to reframe negative emotions into positive emotions

Ok, get ready for one of my all-time favourite statements:’Energy goes where attention flows’.

If you’re focusing on what you don’t want, you will attract exactly that into your life. However, learning how to reframe your negative emotions is an extremely powerful mind hack.

When I was first setting up my online business, I was really struggling with the technical side of things. Every time something went wrong I found myself saying ‘I am useless at this’ or ‘I just can’t do the technical stuff’.

Negatively framing my experience, amplified my negative mood and depleted my motivation. However, a simple reframe changed everything.

Each time I faced a challenge I would say something like: ‘I’m so happy I face this challenge today’; ‘it was a great opportunity to learn a new skill’; ‘every expert was once a beginner’; or I am so proud of myself for learning new skills’.

Reframing the negative into the positive lifted my mood, kept me focused, and helped move me forward.

Take a moment and consider if you are engaging in negative self-talk when it comes to goals. If so, how could you reframe this?

9. You use the same approach again and again

As Albert Einstein said, Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yet, when it comes to goal setting, I often see people follow the same formula, expecting that it will be different this time.

If you find you keep setting goals and continually fail to achieve them, it’s time to change your strategy.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

— Albert Einstein

Why not start with booking a free discovery call with me. We can talk through where you are now, where you want to be and what needs to happen to move you there. This 30 min session is free. To find out how to book your discovery call check out this post.

10. You feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You have your goal in mind, you read the blog posts, but you are confused as to exactly where to start and the strategy to follow. If this sounds like something you can relate to — a great starting point is our ultimate goal setting guide!

11. You lack clarity on what you really want

Setting goals can be powerful but going after the wrong goal can be devastating. Before going after a big or small goal, first think long and hard about what you really want in life. Finding clarity is an integral part of the goal-setting process. That’s why I’ve covered it in detail in my Ultimate Goal Setting Guide. Learn about clarity and find yours using our free downloadable template.

12. You are not looking after yourself

Do you find yourself neglecting your needs? Self-care and daily habits are integral to long-term and sustainable success. If you are not looking after yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally sooner or later you are destined to slip up, lose motivation, or even burnout.

13. You get close to your goal and then self-sabotage it because deep down inside you believe you don’t deserve it


14. You suffer from ‘someday syndrome’ and continually put your dreams on hold, allowing everyday life to take over


15. You’ve set too many goals and feel overwhelmed (and end up achieving nothing)


16. You don’t take time to review your progress towards your goals


17. You are losing motivation because you don’t celebrate the small successes towards those big goals


18. You don’t make time in your day to take action towards your big goals


19. You believe you can’t do it because of an event that happened in your past


20. You are afraid of failure

Check out this post to overcome your fear of failure.

21. You are worried about what other people will think if you share your big goals


22. You are your own worst critic


23. You stay in your comfort zone and avoid any risks


24. You don’t understand fully what success looks like to you


25. You don’t really want to achieve the goal you have set


26. You are constantly distracted by comparing yourself to other people


27. You don’t take full responsibility for your goals and blame others for your lack of success


28. You know what you want but you don’t understand how to make the time for it


29. You tried to achieve this goal few times without success


Final thoughts

At The Power to Reinvent we want to give you the clarity, courage, and resources to achieve your big goals. Remember, if you want to set goals the right way, check out our ultimate goal setting guide here.

Or if you’re tired of using free resources and want to move forward fast with expert coaching pop me a message – I’d love to chat.

We wish you every success in achieving your goals.

Just imagine the things you could achieve if you reached your fullest potential!

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Sarah Gregg, flow expert standing on balcony picture

You have the power to reinvent your life and go after your big goals. It's my job to show you how. Let's enjoy the journey together.

If you’re looking for an approachable, patient coach to help you work towards your goal, look no further 🙂

Jess Bess

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