• Kim Foster

Goal Setting: Why it doesn't work, and how to change it.

Actually, it's not just you, and it's not just setting goals. We set them with the best of intentions, usually to help us get organized and then systematically work some plan to achieve the goal. So why doesn't it work? Why is it that we tend to fail to accomplish so many goals and then end up back at square one?


First, we tend to set goals that are too big or unrealistic. Most people fail to make positive change because the goal they set is shoddy. It's not specific enough or time sensitive. 'I want to lose 40 pounds in 30 days' is not realistic. Goals like this just set us up for failure from the get go. This goal is too broad (40 pounds) for the time frame suggested. (30 days.) There is nothing positive gleaned from the process of setting the goal, and we end up giving up having realized too late that the goal is not practical or achievable in the time frame we set. We've all been there. But there's a better way that helps set us up for success.


We set goals when obstacles come up in life, which is tied to wanting to do more and avoid having deep regrets later in life. Thinking 'what if I regret doing/being/having...' stems from the fear of not living up to your full potential, or having missed out on lost opportunities. This fear motivates action through a sense of hope as you strive to do something about it, and setting goals is one way you can feel in control over your life mission and purpose.


Let's take a look at some of the reasons goals are set but not met.


1. Poor preparation or planning. Often happens when we become aware of a set back and panic to come up with a plan or solution too quickly without evaluating the entire picture.

2. Poorly defined or stated. Goals that aren't specific enough.

3. Lack of vision or mapping. Goals that lack proper planning and outlining of a process to achieve the desired outcome.

4. Lack of accountability. Not having any consequences or support throughout the process of achieving the goal.

5. Lack of intrinsic motivation--an inherent desire to meet the goal.

6. Lack of Primers (visual cues) or rituals to reinforce the goal.


Because our brains automatically default to a negative outlook, you must have goal meeting support in place to achieve what you set out to accomplish.


Successful goal meeting contains these 3 elements:


1. Defining a specific need or want

2. Well defined parameters of time--a realistic deadline

3. An actionable plan.


Goals that can be met follow this template:


I want to Increase/Decrease your need or want by a specific date by doing specific plan.


Let's outline our weight loss goal using this formula.

I want to lose 40 pounds by (something more realistic) the end of the year by going to yoga and the gym at least twice a week.



This is more specific, easier to follow, more realistic, and you know exactly what you want to do to achieve the goal in a reasonable time frame. Now you could begin to work your plan, and regularly check your progress as you work on meeting your weight loss goal.


So it's not just setting goals. What we actually aren't so good at is MEETING our goals. But in order to meet our goals, following this kind of template for more intentional setting will support you meeting any goal.


What are you working on? Set a better goal RIGHT NOW and share it in the comments.


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Happy Goal Meeting!!

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