Ever considered why your goals fail?

Typically, at the end of every year or at the end of January, people are immensely frustrated that they hadn’t achieved want they had set out to do.

Earlier this year, I spoke to a client who felt just that about their work. They set goals, had a clear vision, and whilst some achievements had been made, it had left them flat. We talked through why this happened in these drawings.


When writing goals, we are all generally pleased (or at least agree) with what we are going to set out to do:

These goals are likely to fixed on one point and quite often they are imposed. For example, societal (New Years resolutions), peer pressure (I’ll join too), work (objectives).

The mindset is also fixed: I know where I want to be, want to achieve and want I need to do. Get from A to B.

But we are happy with them.

Then life happens.

You come across people with opinions, which influence your thoughts, changes, and events happen, you get a new boss, you get a bit lost for a while, etc.

Waves and why they matter

These influences cause waves and whilst you still want to hit your goal, you are now wondering how. Some may give up, park the goal for another time, doubts set in and then your goal gets harder. Or, you get to the end of the year and you think, how did that happen?

When setting goals, waves are often not considered. Nor are goals connected to a purpose.

How often do you consider whether the goals are going to move you forward?

How often do you consider whether you really care about your goals?

Achievement vs Accomplishment

So let’s rewind a little and briefly discuss what an achievement is:

Achievements are the building blocks for someone to gain a sense of success, which gives us possibilities.

We can consider each goal and achievement.

Do you know the difference between an achievement and an accomplishment?

“The feeling of accomplishment welled up inside of me, three olympic gold medals. I knew that was something nobody could ever take away from me.” Wilma Rudolph, Olympic Champion

Can you see the difference?

If we now go back to the first image where we have set goals, which may be aligned to your team and organisations goals, but .. does it matter to you?

  • Are you bought into the purpose and intention of your organisation?
  • Is your vision clear? Have you articulated it to your teams AND yourself?
  • What would achieving that goal give you?

The point here isn’t the word achievement or accomplishment, it’s the sense of emotion and value attached to your goals and what it’s going to give you / your teams.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve.” Norman Vincent Peale

Consider this

You have your clear vision.

You set a small number of goals – remembering that these will be iterative.

If a wave occurs, ask yourself these questions.

Think of your goals as iterative. Be purposeful. Set your intention. Be clear on your vision. Be excited about it.

It’s hard work. You will fail. You will learn. You may pivot. You may see other opportunities.

Take the smaller steps to get to what really matters.

Juliet Morris – Executive & Performance Coach

0333 987 5252 | sayhello@opensquareconsulting.com

Image credit: Pedro Sandrini from Pexels

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