Top 3 Mistakes People Make When Setting Goals That’s keeps them Frustrated and Demotivated

Goal setting is key in life, regardless if personal or in business, we all need a direction in which to aim our focus; when we know we do not like where we are now. The most common goals that everybody at some point makes are new year resolutions, what you are going to different this next year!

How many goals are achieved? How many struggle? And How many simply give up and forget them?

Here are what I believe to be the top 3 reasons why goals fail, and if you master these now, I believe you can achieve your goals in life.

#3, Action

The first step of any goal is to take action, no goal is a self-fulfilling prophecy, YOU need to take action, to move towards what you want.

Ensure your goal is self-initiated and self-contained; remember this is your goal, for YOU.

The objective of a personal goal, is to achieve something yourself for yourself, and this is not selfish; your goals will influence what is important to you, and reflect your values and beliefs too.

Your goal must be congruent, when you read it back, it brings you joy, makes you smile, makes your heart sing. The word congruent itself means in agreement or harmony and that is what it must be.

Remember your goal is for you, and congruent. This means you are motivated to take action.

#2, Not SMART

Now you know to take action, is your goal SMART?

OK so some of you may be thinking yeh, yeh I know what SMART goals are, but do you?

Within Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), I believe we increase the scope of SMART, and once defined within the processes of NLP we can take it even further!

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are:

  • Short
  • Specific
  • Simple
  • Measurable
  • Meaningful to you
  • As if now, state it in the present
  • Achievable
  • All areas of your life
  • Realistic
  • Responsible / Ecological
  • Times (specify times and dates)
  • Towards what you want – (positive, say what you do want, not want you do not want).

It is good to have both short term and long term goals, and it is not for me to tell you what short or long term is, as this is a very individual thing. Short may be 1 month or 3. Long term may be 6 months or 10 years. Do what is right for you.

The importance of short term goals is so you have the opportunity to review your process to know if it is working or if you need to tweak your approach.

With a SMART goal defined it does not mean it is set in stone, you must review your SMART goals. Life happens and you may have an occasion you find following a review you wish to tweak or update your SMART goals to reflect what you know now.

Be mindful of the importance of A, in SMART, “as if now”. Write your goal as if it has already been achieved. Your language will be key, review your words carefully to ensure you are not using future tense.

“It is (date) and I am/have/live/weigh ………..” is a generic format to begin with.


Remember the importance of a SMART goal is to define a desired outcome, and why this is important, is because if you know you want something different from what you have and where you are now, and to simply move to do something different, you could move in 1 of 360 directions if we use degrees as a measure of possibilities in which to travel.

Now if you define a SMART goal then there is only 1 direction in which to move, towards what you do want, the path may not be straight but your opportunity to achieve a SMART goal is greatly increased.

The way you state a goal does make a difference. Researchers in the mid to late 70’s discovered that a goal stated in positive language is more likely to be accomplished than one that is not. Make your goal S.M.A.R.T. , say it the way you want it.

#1, Unconscious Blocks

Your now ready to take action and your goal is SMART, so why would it fail?

Let me draw you attention to a crucial point, which is a question to ask yourself once you have a SMART goal. Ask yourself, “Am I ready?”

A goal is thefinal step of coaching session(s), a goal without being ready, is like a dream vacation booked far away but you don’t have a passport. You are not going anywhere even if you want to, well, you will try, and try, and try. Your willpower will drive you forward, but willpower is no match to old patterns, bad habits, limiting beliefs and stored negative emotions, they will hold you back, or if an aspect of you appeared to achieve, it will not be the whole you, the real you, and not all the potential that lies within you.

If you are unsure if you are ready or not, then review your SMART goal and ask yourself, “Why is this important to me?”

Your answer will reveal your motivation for this goal, and if you are moving toward what you do want or away from what you do not want, or a combination of both away and toward.

Notice how you answer the question, “Why is this important to me?”.

Do you use:

..words of Negation: No, Don’t, Can’t, Won’t, …

..words of Necessity: Must, Mustn’t, Have to, Need to, Should, …

..words of Comparison: Better, More, Nicer, Less, Easier, …

The words you use, define your motivation to achieve a goal, and your motivation as a whole may be divided into aspects, a percentage of toward what you do want and away from what you do not want.

Words of Negation, Necessity and Comparison imply a percentage of away motivation.

Your motivation may be 100% toward or away, or 50/50 or 60/40 or something else, the trick is to be honest, to feel, to sense as you measure your motivation in proportions of away and towards, ask, “Is this true for me?”, and when you know it is, it is.

So, what is the purpose of doing this, well if there are away from motivations, this can imply you have something within your unconscious that can block your progress in achieving your goal. Within NLP we can take this even further by determining your Values, identifying what is important to you in different aspects of your life, this goes deeper than goal setting, and is so enlightening of your unconscious makeup and what you unconsciously believe.

If you discoverwhat you believe are, or could be blocks and feel further insight would be useful at this stage then book a free consultation with me, to talk it through and clarify any thoughts you might be having now. As sometimes the removal ofblocks and change work is believed to be difficult and must take a long time, but, I can tell you now, change can be as quick or as slow as you believe it will be.

Now change does not need to be huge, change is best achieved in stages or layers. Goals can evolve as we evolve, the more we learn about ourselves the more we can see what serves us and what does not. So remember to take a bite sized chunk at a time, and again many bites do make a big chunk.

I emphasis this to highlight the importance of coaching, and for you to appreciate the importance of being the most highly effective person you can be. There are always exceptions I grant you that, but always remember to be honest with yourself when asking “Am I ready?”

Remember these top tips and keep your goals SMART, and towards what you do want, what we focus on is what we achieve.

If you have any questions or wish simply wish to book that FREE consultation then let me know, if you do not see a slot that fits your schedule, message me as I can always arrange a convenient day and time to fit both our schedules.