When Goal-Setting Doesn’t Work

by Scott on February 21, 2014

sad businesswomanThis post is part the Achieve series, a mini-series where I discuss the process of achievement – from start to finish.

It happens to everyone.  You get stuck.  Nothing seems to work.  Your ideas don’t stick.  You’re frustrated and ready to give up.    

What do you do?

In today’s post I share six reasons why people get stuck.  Within these reasons, hopefully you’ll find a way to get back on track to achieving your goals.

1.  You’re not good enough… yet.  We often underestimate what it really takes to become good at something.  The media surrounds us with stories of people who make it big – Mark Zuckerberg and JK Rowling to name a few.  Their work influences us.  We want to be just like them.  So we set our goals accordingly.

What we don’t see is the struggle.  We don’t see the mediocre products they made before they were good enough to make the remarkable ones.   The process to become remarkable takes time.  Malcom Gladwell estimates 10,000 hours.  Jim Collins says seven years.  You’re probably not there yet.  But you could be someday – if you keep moving forward.

2.  You’re not being open-minded.  In my last post I included this quote from Tony Robbins:  “When people get stuck, it is often because they are playing a game of either/or. That’s a dilemma. If you think you only have one choice, it feels like a demand.  If you have two choices, it’s a dilemma. But there’s always a third choice.  Realizing this is what it takes to get unstuck.”

Let’s face it: 10,000 hours or 7 years is a long time to wait.  Is there an opportunity available that will serve as a stepping stone to your ultimate goal?  What is it?

3.  Your deadline is unrealistic.  There is no such thing as an unrealistic goal – just an unrealistic deadline.  Bill Gates said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Maybe you didn’t achieve an important goal last year.  It’s not that you didn’t work hard enough.  You just needed more time.  Here’s a simple solution:  extend the deadline.  In reality, most deadlines are bogus anyways.

4.  Your “why” isn’t strong enough.  This is important.  Whenever you set a goal you should determine “why” you want to achieve it.  This will give you a compelling reason to achieve the goal or a compelling reason not to set it at all.

5.  You’re afraid.  If this is the case, create a new habit that will help you achieve your goal.  This will help you gradually overcome the fear getting in your way.

6.  You’re looking for the easy answer.  You can become remarkable.  You were born with a unique skill-set that no one else has.  That said, it still will take you a lot of time to develop your skill-set.  There is no magic formula to skip the process you must endure to achieve your most important goals.

In the end, goal-achievement is up to you.  You decide if you will achieve something.  If you have a goal, expect to make some sacrifices along the way.  You might have to trade something you value – like time, money, or another resource – to get something you will value more.

What’s holding you back?

How can I help?


Follow me on Twitter

Join MoE on Facebook

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley J February 21, 2014 at 11:53 am


I truly appreciate this post! As you know how long I have been at reaching a certain goal, I been back in that rut of asking why it is so hard, the passion is in my heart and I wish someone would just it and say, I see how hard you been working, your commitment and I think you are a perfect fit for this, but I guess I am still in that 7yr cycle.

Thank you for your post and being that place of being a reality check.



Scott February 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hi Shelley, I bet you’re a lot closer than you think. Keep working hard and keep your options open. Have a good week.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: