Guest Posts

3 Reasons Why I Used to Fail at Achieving Goals

3 Reasons Why I Failed to Achieve My Goals | www.TheHeavyPurse.comEditor’s Note: Tanya from Eat Laugh Purr is back with us today to examine why her goal-setting rarely led to goal achievement. She shares some great insight that many of us can relate to as well. If you’re interested in guest posting at The Heavy Purse, please review my guidelines first. Take it away, Tanya.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with goals. I understand their purpose and appreciate them when it comes to my professional life. But when it comes to my personal goals, it’s been a real hit and miss for me. For a long time, I never really understood why. I did well against my professional goals, so why wasn’t I seeing the same level of achievement on my personal goals?

This is where I hang my head in a bit of shame. Personal goals were a bit of an after-thought for me. I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to them. You could argue that I wasn’t setting authentic goals, which isn’t completely accurate. They were goals I wanted, but I wasn’t really committed to achieving them. So that explains why goal achievement was rare back then, so what’s my excuse now?

3 Mistakes that Led to Goal Failure

I’ve put on my detective cap and dug a little bit deeper into my so-called failures and uncovered three key mistakes. Those struggling to their achieve goals may find that you can relate to my mistakes.

I Decided to Wing-It, Instead of Creating a Plan

Okay, okay, I know. Bad idea. Just writing that hurt. A lot. I swear that I am smart person who knows better than to wing-it, especially with something as important as a goal. But it’s what I did. Instead of following the next logical step of creating an action plan to make my goal a reality, I played loosey goosey with my goals. And it was an epic failure.

I also know that I am not alone in doing this. I’m just simply not that cool. 🙂 How many people have you heard say (or said yourself) that you track your budget, calories or whatnot in your head? Hand raised.

My Solution: The obvious answer is, of course, to create a plan. But I actually consider that to be step 2. The first step is to figure out why you never did so in the first place because deep down, you most likely knew you needed one. So you need to first answer why you didn’t create one. For me, it varied. Sometimes the goal seemed overwhelming. Or I didn’t know where to begin. Most of the time there is some sort of emotional reason behind your reluctance to create a plan.

I Lacked Patience

Have you ever looked at the magazines at the checkout counter? There are always a few women’s magazines that claim to be able to help you achieve a flat belly before the next big holiday, which happens to be the following weekend. Realistically, I know that a flat belly can only be achieved within seven days if your belly is already almost flat. Emotionally, I grabbed that magazine and put it in my cart with my fingers crossed that they had the magic solution I needed.

I wanted goal achievement to happen quickly and be pain-free. While certain goals may follow that trajectory, many won’t. I searched for easy answers and lacked the patience to do the work, even when slow and steady is what wins the race in most cases. Because it wasn’t happening fast enough, I gave up and put my attention on other things.

My Solution: It’s important to not only set realistic timeframe for goal achievement, but also to schedule markers along the way, so you can experience little wins on the road to your big win. For me, this is an absolute must. I am motivated by winning. It keeps me moving forward and stay focused. Otherwise, I can get bored and become distracted. Or start looking for that easy fix that doesn’t exist and only increases the time to goal achievement.

I Got to Play the Victim

We all know people who seem to attract bad luck. A dark cloud follows them around and everything always seems to go wrong for them. We feel bad for them, so we give them plenty of attention, which some feed off of. They like the attention being the victim gives them.

While I don’t necessarily like playing the victim, my goal failures let me join a rather large club of people who didn’t achieve their goals. We could commiserate together and boo-hoo over how hard we tried and still failed. Now I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t comfort those who are hurting, but I also know for me, failing also meant an easy way out.

No more stressing over goals that I wasn’t sure how to achieve. I could quit, knowing that I had tried and and seek others who had failed too. We’d exchange condolences and lament how our hard work was for nothing. This sounds ugly and I’m embarrassed by it. But I am committed to being honest with myself because I am tired of repeating mistakes. And sometimes, as awful as it may be, I liked the attention. I also know that I would much rather receive accolades for my goal achievement, rather than sympathy over goal failure.

My Solution: Stop playing the victim. PERIOD. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you do control whether or not you give-up. I’m choosing to no longer find any satisfaction in victimhood and reclaim the power of victor instead, even if my first, second or third try doesn’t work.

Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently. Henry Ford

Giving Up is Failure

Don’t be afraid to dig deeper and uncover why you haven’t succeeded at achieving your goals. Like me, you might not always like what you discover, but it’s only when you realize how your actions and/or thoughts are inhibiting your goal success that change becomes possible.

I used to think not achieving my goal was failure. Because I failed more than I succeeded at my personal goals, I began avoiding goal-setting. I don’t like feeling like a failure. But it’s really not failing, unless I give up. If the goal remains true, than the answer is simple — don’t give-up. Try again. And again. Until you succeed.

TanyaTanya is a freelance writer, web designer and blogger. You can find her at Eat Laugh Purr where she and her ginger tabby, Max, enjoy simple pleasures every day and at TV Fanatic reviewing Madam Secretary and more. Connect with Tanya on twitter and Pinterest. And please, no judgement on the number of cat pins I have.
January 21, 2015  •  21 Comments  •  Guest Posts

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  1. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    LOVE your honesty here, my friend!!!! Patience was a huge factor for me for many years. I wanted success NOW or else I would simply rather have a tantrum and give up, saying "I can't" . Now I work to focus on the "I'm getting there" message. Patience is a wonderful thing to have.
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      It's no wonder we're buddies, Laurie. I was/am the same way. It would take too long or too much work so I'd pout and give-up. Ugh. Patience is truly a wonderful thing to have and I'm working on it.
  2. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    Lacking Patience. This.
    I want things to be done and dealt with and over and awesome! Things like keeping my diet and exercise under control so my weight stays down... it's all about patience and there are no quick wins. *sigh*
    Excellent, truthful piece.
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      Thanks, Anne! It's taking me a long time to admit there are no quick wins. And it seriously bums me out. I definitely need to do the hard work - eat right and exercise - and stop buying magazines that promise quick fixes! If they worked, EVERYONE would be skinny, right?
  3. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    I think I've done everything you mentioned in the past. Now I try to manage my goals in smaller chunks instead of planning way out in advance how I want my year to go. I have an "idea," but I just try to take it month by month now. BTW I have the opposite problem…I usually achieve more of my personal goals and less of my professional (or financial) goals.
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      Yeah, I'm definitely going to have the big goal with lots of markers along the way so I stay motivated and don't feel so overwhelmed. In fairness, I'm probably not quite as good at my professional goals as I was when I worked at Corporate America. I really wanted those high rating, big raises/bonuses so I busted my butt for them. I used to think the reason why I was so lax with my personal goals was because I put too much emphasis on my work goals. And they were definitely not balanced but I also didn't create tactical plans either. They were more of a dream or longing, than a concrete goal with a plan.
  4. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    I used to be the worst about making plans and just assuming I could wing it. Honestly, I was scared to set specific goals because I was afraid I would fail at them and to me there is nothing worse than failure. What I have of course learned is that with planning, you actually accomplish more than when you don't plan.
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      I think that was a big reason why I winged it too, Shannon. A plan made it real and the chance of failing a possibility too. I still don't look failing but I know that goals play a big role in creating the life I envision for myself, so now I plan. And when I find myself procrastinating, I know something else is holding me back that needs to be dealt with first.
  5. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    Your "playing the victim" reason is absolutely vital in reasons for failing to achieve goals. And yet, it's often overlooked. I would say this is the number one reason why I am achieving more of my goals - because I am taking ownership and becoming a "victor".
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      Yeah, I think many people don't realize how much playing the victim affects their ability to reach their goals, mostly because it's really not the most flattering reflection, but it is important to know when you've fallen into that trap. Good for you for keeping a victor mentality and I plan to join you, Natalie!
  6. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
    I hear you on lacking patience. That's one of my biggest problems - I want immediate results, but that's never realistic! I have to learn to enjoy the journey instead. And "playing the victim" is so true, too. It's a lot easier to band together with people who have also failed and seek comfort than it is to pick yourself back up.
    • Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
      Sometimes I think it's even harder these days to find patience because we are so used to being able to get what we want when we want. I am definitely working at setting more realistic timeframes and learning to embrace the journey. And yes, playing the victim holds more appeal than we realize, which is probably why so many of us are guilty of doing it.
  7. Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
    Love your advice, and appreciate your honesty-- especially with number 3. I think you identified what so many of us do- and so many of us support each other doing. Time to support and be the victor!!!
    • Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
      Thanks, Leah! I think a lot of people overlook their playing the victim card because it's something we aren't proud of doing and may not even realize we do. For me, it was a bit about the attention but more so about the fact I could give-up and go back to the status quo guilt-free. And gets pats on my back for trying. Not pretty to recognize about oneself, but I'm glad I did.
  8. Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
    I use to sabotaged myself because I couldn't get my way, then complain. I am so over that and I focus on creating the life I want to live.
    • Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
      Been there and done that too, Petrish. And I'm with you - I'm ready to stop complaining and actually create the life I want for myself! We can do it!
  9. Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
    I am loving the transparency of this post. My favorite posts are always the ones where someone reflects on what is not working and makes an action plan to change it. I'm right there with you on this one, " I understand their purpose and appreciate them when it comes to my professional life. But when it comes to my personal goals, it’s been a real hit and miss for me. " My main problem is that if I lose track of my goals, instead of just picking up where I left off, I start all over, aiming at perfection. I am learning that messing up is ok when it comes to goals.
    • Sunday, January 25th, 2015
      Thanks! I do the same thing! Instead of moving forward from where I'm at - I have to start all over again too, which I didn't even think about before. So thank you! I aim for perfection, which really holds us back because it's virtually impossible for every step to be perfect, ya know. Definitely something I am going to be more aware of going forward.
  10. Monday, January 26th, 2015
    Patience can really make our dream come true. If we rush things like making decisions, we'll end up in regret because we fail to see the bigger picture and different perspectives. Taking it slowly really pays off. Those who waits patiently get most of the time the rewards they're expecting. I commend your honesty and transparency Shannon.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan