Why People Don’t Stick to Goals

This should come as no surprise to you, but according to research from the University of Scranton, 92% of people that set New Year’s goals never actually achieve them. While setting goals at the beginning of the year has been the norm for some time, same principals apply when goal setting any time of the year. Regardless of when, there are a few reasons why people don’t stick to goals.

Life is all about leveling up, achieving things we never thought possible, and becoming successful – whatever that looks like. In order to cross those things off the list, setting goals is a must. However, you have to do more than simply set goals. You have to have a plan for those goals and actually achieve them to truly level up. Let me share common reasons why people don’t stick to goals they set. If any of these reasons are happening to you, bounce back and fight through it!

Reasons most people don’t stick to goals…

#1 People don’t take their goals seriously

When setting goals, it’s important to make sure those goals aren’t simply “surface level” goals. Surface level goals mean they don’t deeply impact you. When your goals are surface level, there’s no true desire behind them. There’s no real reason to accomplish them other than you’d simply want to. When people set surface level goals, they tend to not take those goals seriously. Which makes sense, because there isn’t any reason to make it a high priority or importance.

When you decide to set goals, dig down deep for the real reason why you want to achieve that goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Next, ask yourself why? Would it simply be nice to see 10 pounds less on the scale? Not going to cut it. Now, let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds because you haven’t been able to stick to your weight loss efforts and you know that losing that 10 pounds will results in a much higher self confidence for you. Now we’re talking! Make your goals important and relevant to what you truly desire. This will make it much easier to take them seriously.

#2 People aren’t able to envision the end result

One thing that helps me significantly when setting goals is picturing the end result. Picturing how wonderful my life will look once I achieve this goal. When I know how much better my life will look because I achieved the goal, it serves as a true motivation to fight through. Keeping the end result in mind will serve as fuel to keep you working towards your goal, even when things are trying to distract you.

If you aren’t able to picture what life will be like when you reach the goal, what motivation do you have to keep it going? Keeping that end vision in mind will help you stick to your goals. On the contrary, not being able to foresee the fruits of your labor could cause you to give up on what you are working on.

#3 People make too many excuses

Guess what? If achieving truly impactful goals was an easy process, everyone would be doing it. The people who don’t stick to their goals are the ones that make excuses:

“It’s too hard”

“I’m too fat”

“No one would buy anything from me”

All of these negative thoughts about yourself are simply excuses. Excuses to justify your laziness. Excuses to justify why you can’t keep working to get to the next level. Those who achieve their goals and true success are the ones who don’t make excuses for the work they have to do. They are the people that fight through the excuses and get to work.

When you are working on goals, especially in the beginning, put yourself in a position to succeed. If you struggle to get up an hour early to work out, but don’t have any other time during the day, go to bed an hour earlier and have your workout clothes laid out. The goal is to eliminate all excuses before you start and ensure you don’t have the opportunity to think twice about moving forward with your efforts.

#4 People give in to temptation, due to lack of discipline

This is a common reason why people don’t stick to their goals, especially money and health goals. It’s so easy to say that you are on a budget and can’t spend money, but it’s so much easier to walk into a mall and come out with 4 bags of items. It’s so easy to say that you are on a diet and won’t eat ice cream for a week, only to have a stressful day at work and give into the temptation of eating an ice cream.

When you give in to temptation that keeps you from achieving your goals, you need to look at your self-discipline. Are you holding yourself accountable to your actions? If you lack discipline, then you likely aren’t taking accountability for your actions. Don’t let yourself get away with things that are hurting your progress.

#5 People aren’t able to get out of their comfort zone

I mentioned this earlier. If achieving success was easy, everyone would be doing it. What makes success difficult is the fact that people have to get out of their comfort zone to experience a new level. A person has to be uncomfortable to level up. Most people can’t handle (or don’t want to handle) the uncomfortable, the unknown, or the unplanned.

To achieve the goals you set, you have to be willing to do things you haven’t done before, even if that means getting out of your comfort zone. Trust me, it’s not easy. I’ve had to do things that were very uncomfortable in my life, but the cool thing is that once they are done, they don’t seem as scary as I had originally thought.

#6 People beat themselves up when they make mistakes

When people slip up with their actions, they beat themselves up. They think “well, I already messed up, I may as well start over tomorrow”. That’s not the right approach. The right approach is “why did I slip up? Did I give in to temptation? Was I afraid of feeling uncomfortable?” Get to the bottom of why you slipped up. Then, take it a step further to say, “just because I slipped up doesn’t mean I can’t get right back on track”.

You don’t have to wait until another day, another week, or another month to get back on track. Make sure you hold yourself accountable, get to the root of the issue, and make the decision to move forward with grace. No one is perfect. I make mistakes, you make mistakes, we all make mistakes. How we bounce back is what determines true success.

Related: 6 Habits of Unsuccessful People


Now that you know what can hinder a person from reaching their goals, you can proactively think through your own goal setting efforts. You can achieve everything you want, as long as you stay focused, see the end goal, and step out of that comfort zone of yours! Have you achieved any major goals? What helps you stay focused with your efforts to reach a goal? Share in the comment section below.

The CGS Team



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