Before going into more detail about why a defined goal is not achieved, it is important to define what a goal is: An objective is the decision to achieve a certain situation or a concrete result at a specific point in time.
Goals therefore also serve as benchmarks, as guidance. So they show where you want to go. Whether you reach the specific situation or the specific result at the specified time or not depends of course on many factors.
Let’s say you have set a specific goal for yourself. So you’ve defined exactly what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. The following may be the main reasons why you don’t reach your goal:
1. It is not YOUR goal
You may have set a goal for yourself, but it is not your personal goal. On the contrary, it has been presented to you.
It may be the increase in sales requested by management or your partner’s desire to lose weight. It is therefore a “foreign” target.
A personal goal is characterized by the fact that it is born of your personal desire.
If this desire is missing, there is usually also a lack of motivation and passion to reach the goal.
2. The goal deviates from your personal values
Everyone has their own value system that has developed over the course of their development. For example, one person attaches great importance to career and/or material values, the other cannot do anything with them.
If you set a goal that deviates from your own value system, it is much harder to achieve than if it is consistent with your values.
3. The goal is unrealistic
I advocate setting big goals in life. But these should of course be realistic in the sense of being possible.
If my goal is to learn an instrument and then be accepted into the Vienna Philharmonic within the next two years, then it is almost certainly impossible, no matter how talented I am.
Often, however, it turns out only in retrospect that a set goal was unrealistic because we could not judge it better ourselves.
4. The goal is too big
For many, having a big goal presents a major challenge that can ultimately lead to failure. Because a big goal carries the risk of losing the big picture and thus our motivation.
If, on the contrary, you break down the big goal into several smaller goals, into milestones, it loses its “horror”.
5. You cannot use your strengths
This is often underestimated:
The more we can use our own strengths and talents to achieve our goal, the easier it is to achieve our objectives.
As an example: Two friends who have so far shown little interest in sports have set themselves the goal of participating in the next Vienna Marathon next year. One is in good physical shape and has an excellent basic fitness, the second cannot show both. Who will probably find it easier to reach the goal? That’s right.
6. You give up too early
In my opinion, this is the most common reason why a goal is not achieved: to get there early. Of course, there is no point in chasing a goal when it is clearly doomed to failure.
Nevertheless, many lose sight of the goal at the slightest resistance, or even if success does not come at the expected time.
7. You cannot accept setbacks
This point overlaps the previous one. Because it is precisely the setbacks that often lead to early dropout. If you also tend to do this, be aware that virtually no goal can be achieved without overcoming setbacks.
We also like to be blinded by the success of others. You surely know someone admirable – admirable also because you can see what that person has already accomplished.
So we see the status qou. But what’s behind it, the complaints, the setbacks that this person has often fallen on the path to success, the effort and strain that ultimately led to what we admire so much – we see it in the Usually not or we don’t see it at all.
8. You don’t have the time
Each objective takes time, which is often overlooked. A goal is set quickly, but the effort to implement the necessary individual steps is initially ignored. The hectic daily life (at work) leaves little room for air and the goal remains with a project.
9. Lack of self-discipline
Now there are goals that have a lot of passion in them. We then approach them with a lot of motivation and vigour, so that we are literally carried to the goal. Such goals are rather the exception.
If they lack that passion and motivation, they require a good dose of self-discipline and an iron will.
Without that, the goal is difficult to achieve. By the way: self-discipline can also be learned:
“Self-discipline can be learned: an effective exercise”
10. Lack of a structured approach
An objective is achieved by taking one step at a time along the way. While this may seem logical, in practice, some people find it difficult to use this structured approach.
This well-planned procedure becomes more difficult as individual steps are required to achieve the goal. If you lose track of the next required steps or actions, you are moving further and further away from your goal.
11. You are not looking for support
Each project can be implemented more easily with support. Of course, this also applies to the objectives. It can also be a form of motivation if you absolutely want to do it by yourself, to prove it to others or to yourself, but it is certainly not easier.
I know this false pride in myself, so I achieved the goal, but it certainly would have been much easier and cheaper if I had sought and accepted support.
In my opinion, these are the most common personal reasons why a goal is not achieved. Of course, there are also enough other reasons and circumstances that may be responsible for not succeeding. But with this list, I wanted to focus on the factors for which we are personally responsible.
Failure can make a big difference
I would like to say something else in this context: in our society, failure, for example, the failure to achieve a goal, is often perceived negatively. Just look at the various magazines and newspapers. The mark of failure is very quickly left on a person without questioning the reasons for the failure.
In the United States, failure is less negative, and it should be. Because failure often turns out to be a valuable experience for the person in retrospect, from which something great can in turn come out.