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4 Things That Will Keep You From Goal-Setting Success

Struggling with goal-setting? Consider if any of these four things are hindering your success:

1. Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

One of the biggest reasons I was a goal-setting failure for so long was because I would set these gigantic and impossible goals. It’s better to set microscopic goals and actually make some good headway on them, than to set goals that are so far out of your reach that you give up before you even take a step in the right direction.

When considering your goals, be very realistic–especially if you’re new to goal-setting. Don’t create an enormous and impossibly long. Stick with a few simple and achievable goals and break them down into bite-sized pieces.

As you become more experienced in goal-setting, you can set your sights higher. But when you’re first starting out, keep it simple and doable. Your success at simple goals will give you momentum to attempt more audacious goals later on down the road.

2. Fear of Failure

If you’ve failed at goal-setting in the past, it’s easy to convince yourself it’s not even worth trying again because you’ll probably just fail yet another time. Do not let the fear of failure keep you from taking the first step in the direction of success. Even if you do end up stumbling and falling and struggling, you’ll still be much farther along than if you never started at all.

Remove sentences that start with, “I can’t…” and “I’m not good enough…” from your vocabulary. These words will never set you up for success, they’ll just trap you in defeatism

Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, celebrate your progress and success–even if it seems barely measurable. Stay focused and positive; you can do it!

3. Lack of Discipline

Setting small goals and having a positive attitude will help propel you toward goal-setting success. However, if you do those things, but you don’t have the discipline to follow through with your goals, you’ll never get very far.

You are only guaranteed success in goal-setting if you have the discipline, perseverance, and commitment to follow through with your goals.

4. Lack of Accountability

Accountability is the key to discipline. Write your goals out, break them down into bite-sized pieces, post them in a very conspicuous location, and review them on a daily basis.

I’ve found that it’s helpful to review my yearly goals list when making my weekly goals list and my daily to-do list. This keeps me on track and reminds what I need to do this week and today to get where I hope to be at the end of the year.

I also recommend finding an accountability partner to check up with you on a regular basis and see how you’re doing. Not only can they serve as a cheerleader to keep you moving in the right direction, they can help you get back on track if you start veering off course.

What keeps you from goal-setting success?

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  • KATIE says:

    I try to make small goals so that I can actually achieve them but I make too many small goals and when I don’t accomplish one of them, I often give up on the rest. I think I just try to make too much of a change at once and I need to go much much slower.

  • Jenna says:

    I agree that accountability is so important! The two things I am doing differently this year are making sure I am ordering my daily routine around the goals I have for myself and blogging about it :). Nothing like publishing your goals to keep you on track!!
    Even after just a few weeks, I know I am more focused and intentional than I have been in past years.

  • The lack of discipline aspect keeps me from achieving my goals the most. I am always reading about goal setting, and I learn a lot by following your advice.

  • Leighann says:

    Accountability. One reason being an adult is so hard is that you usually don’t have someone to be accountable to except yourself. It’s one of the things that keeps me from accomplishing my goals. Who’s there to make me do it, other than myself?

  • Tara says:

    I would say a fear of failure is my #1 problem!

    Yesterday I finished reading chapter 2 of your book. I have been knowing that I need to declutter for a while but just haven’t done it yet. I figured I wouldn’t start then either (not without interuption anyway) because I have all 5 of our boys here all the time. Not long after I read that chapter my mom called and asked if she could come get the boys for a while! I said “Sure!” and then thanked God and told Him that I would get some stuff done while they were gone. Two hours later I had “deep- decluttered” the catch-all hallway upstairs and gone through the boys’ room (that they all share!) and cleaned it too.
    All of that to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me that push that I needed. I have a lot more to do, but now it doesn’t seem impossible!

    • Jenni says:

      After being with my three small children all day, I often grab the keys and try to get out of the house after dinner when my husband is home to watch them for a break. But recently I realized that I usually was tired when I went out, didn’t want to be tempted to spend money, and came home to a house that was still not that organized. The last week I decided that for my “break” I would go downstairs and just work on the areas that frustrated me, even if I didn’t finish them. Surprisingly, they didn’t take long at all and now I’m pretty much done. And, as a bonus, I feel relaxed and rested after I’m done – who would have thought?

      • Jenna says:

        Good for you!! I have determined to tackle my problem areas consistently and hopefully I will see progress little by little. It can be really hard to do (I have my 5 little ones all day as well) with everything else we need to do – but it feels good just to make the commitment to not let it go anymore!

      • Tara says:

        What a great idea, Jenni! I, all too often, will want to run to the store when my husband gets home. And I, like you, would find myself more frustrated when I would return because everything would be worse than when I left. I think I will be trying your idea for a “break”!

  • Laura Jane says:

    Of the things you mentioned a lack of discipline is one of my biggest goal achievement hindrances. I just really struggle with following through when the going gets tough as it always does. Also, I don’t know if I necessarily set goals that are just way out of reach, but I tend to either set way too many at once or make them poorly defined so I can weasel my way out of them. (Like setting a goal to eat “less” sugar without defining what less really means so I often justify eating a decent amount of sugar anyway.) Another huge obstacle for me is a perfectionist mentality that if I mess up on a goal once, I may as well throw in the towel.

  • Charity says:

    I can’t find a spare second to achieve anything but the “must dos”. Even this comment is typed one handed while nursing the baby.

    • Sarah says:

      Been there! Enjoy your precious baby!

      • Charity says:

        Oh, I do! I just think at this stage in my life with four littles (5ys and under) that there aren’t going to be any big goals achieved other than spending time with my children and loving on them. That’s the most important to me. 🙂

        • Cheryl says:

          I think raising 4 little ones is a mighty big goal! 🙂

          • Crystal says:

            Agreed! And I think that it’s still good to set goals (no matter what stage in life you’re in), you just need to recognize the season of life and what is realistic. If you have four little children, your goal might be to read to them for 15 minutes a day, memorize one verse a month, exercise for a total of an hour each week, andlisten to two audiobooks in a year. Having a few goals will help keep you going in a good direction and encourage you that you’re accomplishing something even when it seems like you might just be running around in circles all day!

  • Jen says:

    I TOTALLY thought you were going to say the INTERNET as one of the big obstacles. 😉 Great post – enjoying your book, too, Crystal.

  • Kate says:

    “Biting off more than you can chew” really hit home! I just had to drop a college course because I had signed up for more than I could handle. In the end it will be better to pay the fee for dropping the class than it would be to fail or do poorly in 3 classes. Live and learn. 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    I feel like a combination of these things… my blog is new and because I’m so passionate about it, I’m coming home from my day job and spending all evening working on it ~ which while fun, probably isn’t the best for balance in my life. But then in other areas of my life, like diet/weight loss, I feel unsuccessful and not so motivated, so I don’t have much discipline at all. Definitely an area in my life I can work on! Nice post, Crystal.

  • BethB says:

    For me it’s fear of failure. Big time. When I was in my twenties I experienced some significant failures (Or so I viewed them) and the emotional impact they had still affects me.

    What I also think happens is we sometimes forget to check in with ourselves periodically to make sure our goals etc. are still relevant in terms of what we want. We might be operating on the assumption that those from 10 years ago or even what we think other people are expecting of us are still what we want.

    I spent the year and a half recovering from a few rough years we had as a family. Getting the house in order, managing my time better, etc.. Little by little I’ve been noticing a new clarity creeping in to the point where I finally had some major revelations about what I really want. Crystal is on the mark about clutter. Our house wasn’t all “that bad” but it Bothered Me and kept me from dealing with other things. I have a friend whose life is literally and figuratively a mess and I’ve been trying to encourage her to take small steps and remedy the situation. It makes a world of difference.

  • Bambi Mudget says:

    I have so many goals I want to achieve but it seems they never are. The one I want the most is to get the debt paid down but with barely able to pay the bills its difficult to put money towards other old debts. Hopefully I can figure it out and get it done.

  • Elysha says:

    I can’t set goals not because of failure but because of the planning it requires. Planning sets me on edge, makes me hyperventilate, and worry. I can give myself projects to accomplish but goals are painful. Projects just make me think’ “This is what I have to do.” And I do it. Goals make me worry about all the variables I cannot control.

  • I have to wake up and ask God every morning for strength to get me through the day. I just started a strict diet to lose weight–I cut out sugar and starches totally. I have a group of women who help to hold me accountable and that is so important!!!

  • Lisa says:

    Can this great lady get an “Amen?” How about a “woop-woop?” You bet! Nailed it. Great post.

  • Amber Cullum says:

    So did you find setting weekly goals the best place to start or would you recommend starting with monthly goals or yearly goals?

  • Callye says:

    I love all these realistic reminders about goal setting. Thanks to your blog, I’ve started my own blog where I can sort of personalize and adapt inspirations from you and other people to fit my own life. And I finally feel successful with organization! Splendid.

  • Kimberly S. says:

    Thank you for your repeated encouragement to take bite-size pieces. I am a big picture person and that is so hard to do when I see a million things that need to be worked on. One problem I have is preferring to do things in bulk rather than consistently – which meant mountains of dishes and laundry piling up and never having time with an infant to completely catch up. About two weeks ago I decided to try to do one load of laundry (wash-put away) and the current dishes every day that I am home. I have missed some on the laundry and the dishes and i have a long way to go, but I finally feel like I am definitely making progress. And knowing that is my goal, I just remind myself that it only takes 21 days to form a habit – great motivation for me to do another load of laundry on the days I really don’t want to!

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