Why Most Goals Fail: How to Recognize the Patterns

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Most New Year’s resolutions (and other goals) are often doomed to fail because most people repeat the same negative thoughts, behaviours, patterns and habits. They might not be aware of their patterns, or if they are aware of them, they do not know how to change them so that they can be more successful at achieving their goals the next time they try.

This is that definition of insanity: when you do things the same way and expect a different result. People need someone (a coach, a counselor) to help them see why their goals fail and how to react differently. We can only do so much with what we know. You can’t expect different results with the same actions.

Why Goals Fail: Recognize The Patterns

Not setting realistic and achievable goals.

It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew ensuring that your resolutions and goals are impossible to accomplish. This is a way to set yourself up for failure and a huge reason why your goals fail. It’s not humanly possible to lose 30 lbs in one week but it is possible to loss 3 lbs in a week. People get discouraged when they set goals they can’t reach and end up giving up.

Lack of patience.

Many people don’t realize that long-term goals can take a lot of time to achieve. Some long-term goals can take 10 plus years. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Due to underestimating how long something will take to achieve many people can assume they aren’t talented or are incapable of reaching their goal and they give up way too soon instead of sticking it out for the long-term. For example, building a successful business can often take 10 plus years and it might not be possible to pull it all off in 2 years.

Many people quit because their early work isn’t a masterpiece. They don’t realize that if you keep trying you get better. The discomfort of feeling inadequate and not being the best at or perfect at something can prevent people from continuing to try. Not knowing how to do something or not being good at it, knowing you might make mistakes or even fail is very uncomfortable. The additional discomfort of others seeing that they don’t know everything, that they aren’t an expert, or that they will make mistakes because they are new at it causes many not to follow-through and continue trying at their resolutions.

Negative thinking and limiting beliefs.

Often times goals fail because of the negative thought patterns that arise: “I can’t do it”, “It’s not possible”, It’s too hard”. Not believing in yourself is common during times of change. Many people do not have an attitude of success.

Not enjoying the journey.

Making changes is really hard when it feels like something you have to do or that you should do. If cooking healthy dinners or exercising is a chore it’s going to be really hard to follow-through on. Many people look at other people’s Facebook posts, compare themselves and want their perfect life right now. They are in such a rush to have it all right now that they don’t appreciate and enjoy all they do have.

Overthinking.

Many people overthink instead of doing. They might spend an endless amount of time worrying about their goals. They might go into what ifs: What if I fail? What if I make a mistake? Or they might imagine every possible reason why goals fail instead of working towards the goal. It’s easy to get hung up on planning every single detail instead of moving forward on achieving the goal.

People want to know all the answers and the entire plan before they start or so they can keep going. They don’t realize that a lot of the time the answers will materialize as they move forward with their goals. It’s like building a puzzle. When you first start you can’t see the full picture but it materializes as you start to fit the pieces together. The plan will materialize as you go. Some people give up the minute it gets tough instead of pushing through it. When you stop trying you can’t possibly succeed

Trying to do everything at once.

Writing a long list of tasks and trying to get it all done at once can be overwhelming. Instead pick 1, 2 or 3 top priorities and lay out the steps you will take to achieve these. Set milestones with start and end dates to give yourself a sense of how you are progressing, and most importantly to properly set your own expectations.

Not having positive social support.

Studies show that social support is what gets us through stressful times in our lives. Change is stressful and we need people who believe in us and pick us up when we fall down or just listen to us when times get hard.

We are going to be putting up a few articles to provide you with tips to help make your resolutions a success this year. In the meantime read about some of our advanced goal-setting tips.

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Celebrating and setting new year's resolutions