8 Reasons You’re Not Achieving Your Goals

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Setting goals is a really good way to set ideas in motion, get things done, and move closer to your bigger picture. But it doesn’t always work out, does it? Sometimes we struggle to achieve our goals, and it can get frustrating if it happens often. We may feel that we’re not getting anywhere or that we get stuck putting out spot-fires rather than making any progress.

I have worked with women who avoid setting goals altogether because they feel too anxious about not achieving them. The good thing is that goal setting is a skill that can be learned. There are reasons why some goals don’t get accomplished and I want to share them with you. I want to help you set goals that you can achieve so you can start moving forward in your business again. Without the overwhelm.

I work with my members to create goals every month and I see patterns arising from times when goals aren’t achieved. Let’s look into the common reasons I see (and experience myself) that stops women achieving their business goals:

1) You're setting too many goals

Often we underestimate how much we can do in a month. Life happens, the kids get sent home from school unwell, client work can come in unexpectedly, we have new ideas that we want to play with… not to mention the laundry, cleaning (is there any room for me-time in there?)

We have the very best of intentions when setting our goals. But we need to put the brakes on sometimes. If you’re setting too many goals then you’ll find yourself halfway through the month with only one or two goals achieved. Then you feel a bit crummy because you didn’t get done what you wanted. 

What to do instead:

Limit yourself to 3 goals. It may not seem like many, but it really is a magic number when it comes to goal setting. If you get partway through the month and you’ve smashed them out already, go ahead and set a new one. But start with no more than 3 so you can keep it realistic.

2) You don't have the capacity, resources or ability to achieve them

When you have an idea for a goal you want to achieve, make your decision based on whether it is something you have the capacity to actually do. If you don’t have enough time to see it through, or you lack the required funds or don’t have the skills to put it into action then you won’t achieve your goal. Because you are simply unable to.

What to do instead:

Assess your capacity before setting your goal: Do you have the time for it? Is your month clear of other big events? Do you have the mental energy for it? Do you have enough cash flow and resources to make it happen? If not, then you may not see that goal achieved at the end of the month. Perhaps defer this goal, or create a plan for gaining the resources or skill you need to see it through.

3) You haven't established a clear plan

They say a goal without a plan is just a dream. And it’s true. The process of goal setting must always include a clear plan of action. No plan is kind of like having a destination to go on holiday but not thinking about the details like flights, packing your bags and accommodation. We don’t want you wandering around aimlessly, do we?

What to do instead:

When you establish your goal, make a habit of following it with that all-important plan of action. List the steps it’ll take to make it happen. Will there be any challenges you’ll face? Will anything need to be done before you can start? Once your plan is established, enter it into your task management system (like Asana, Trello, or your notebook). Keep these front-of-mind so you don’t forget.

Related: Access my free guided workshop on setting your monthly goals. Free access, no sign-up required

4) Your goals are too vague

A goal that is too vague is one destined to be unfulfilled. A vague goal is unclear in its purpose, timeframe and can be left open for interpretation. Let’s bring in an example so we know the difference between a vague goal and one that is specific. 

If you set a goal that says, “I want to start email marketing” then it is unclear. There are no details such as the purpose, the time frame or what will be measured. If your goal is too vague, it becomes to easily brushed aside.

What to do instead:

The same goal as above written with more detail is a lot clearer: “I aim to set up and send my first email marketing campaign to my subscribers by 30 June.” You see how that provides more detail about what you want to achieve and when? When setting your goals try to acknowledge the details of what you’re setting out to achieve. 

Related Blog: Using SMART goals to achieve more in your business

5) Your goal is too big

We want to feel like we’re achieving big things. But if we set our sights too high then we may look up and feel like we’ll never get there, and perhaps not even try. This comes back to the capacity to achieve our goals. If we simply cannot achieve it realistically then we need to revisit our goals.

What to do instead:

Break down the big goal. If it’s too big to achieve, don’t be disheartened. Break it down into a series of smaller goals that’ll help you get there while staying motivated.

6) You haven't created a way to measure your achievement

If you don’t have a way to measure your goal, how will you know you’ve made progress? If you can’t figure out when you’re halfway, or nearly done then you’ll have no way to gauge when you’ve actually achieved your goal. This can result in goal abandonment.

What to do instead:

Identify a way of measuring your goal progress. For example, if you have a profit goal, instead of saying, “I want to increase profits.” say “I want to earn 15% more profits this month than last month.” If your goal is to set up your website, then say, “I want to set up and launch a 5 pages website by the end of the month”. Every page you complete becomes a stepping stone to achievement.

7) You haven’t created checkpoints to celebrate

Much like the previous point, if you don’t have checkpoints to celebrate your progress along the way then your goal may feel a bit daunting. There’ll be no motivation encouraging you to keep going.

What to do instead:

Identify some checkpoints so you can see you’re achieving things throughout the month. This provides the motivation you need to keep going. You can often use your plan of action as checkpoints. As you’re ticking them off you’ll see that you’re much further along than when you started. Or if your goal is to gain 100 new people to your email list then you can create checkpoints for every 20 people. It becomes less daunting and more motivating.

8) You haven't established a realistic timeframe (or any timeframe at all)

Lack of a timeframe is a big goal squasher. With everything else we have to do, it will be too easy to push our goals aside to make way for the spot fires we put out.

What to do instead:

Attach a deadline to your goal, and stick to it. You don’t have a boss to be on your back about deadlines, so you’re in charge of your timelines and take them seriously. Input your timelines into your calendar and even set deadlines for your individual tasks and checkpoints. You’ve got this!

What do you think stops you from achieving your goals? Let me know in the comments, I’ll be happy to chat with you about them.


About Michelle

Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a business that fulfills them, without feeling the overwhelm and angst that comes with running your own show.

Close up of woman (Michelle Marks) holding a purple notebook and smiling

About the author

Michelle is a chocoholic, stationery obsessed Business Coach from the seaside town of Mandurah, WA. She specialises in working with Virtual Assistants and B2B service providers, helping them to grow a fulfilling, sustainable and profitable home-based business.

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