As we approach the New Year, it is a time that people traditionally set goals for personal improvement. Then, within a day, a week, or even a month of setting those goals, we feel defeated and give up, not seeing our goals to eventual realization. Did you ever wonder why this happens? It seems to be a cycle that is often repeated in many of our own lives. Where exactly do we go wrong in our goals of personal improvement?
According to a study published by the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, an estimated 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. However, only about 8 percent of those are successful in achieving their goals.
There are 5 main reasons people fail at reaching their goals. If you want to make this a year of true change, be honest with yourself and overcome these challenges:
- Fear. Many people are afraid they will fail or, even worse, they are afraid they will succeed. They lack a belief in themselves and their own potential. In their mind, they are afraid everyone will think negatively of them if they fail. In their mind, they are also afraid everyone will be envious and think negatively of them if they succeed. It is a lose-lose situation no matter how you look at it. Fear is a strong force. This past summer, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel of teacher-authors at a small business convention in Las Vegas. While I wasn’t afraid of speaking publicly, I was afraid of feeling less and being less than the many other people there. A couple of times, I went back to my hotel room, called my husband, and tearfully told him my fears. He told me to grab my business cards, go back out there, and hand out as many as I could. He reassured me that I had a lot to offer to that community. He reminded me of my goals and told me that I could do it. He was right. I swallowed that fear, and acted with confidence, and soon I felt confident. You need to know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Believe in yourself and your abilities.
- Not utilizing an effective goal-setting process. Setting a goal is more than merely writing it down on paper, setting a date for completion, and marking it off in checklist format. Goal-setting is not a short-term, one-time thing. In order to effectively set goals and see them through to achievement, you must look at it as a process with specific steps. Those steps should include the following:
a.) Write down your goals.
b.) Make a list of resources needed to accomplish your goals.
c.) Create deadlines.
d.) Visualize and look at your goals every day.
To read more about how to effectively set goals, read my post, 5 Steps to Effective Goal Setting.
- Lack of commitment to the goal. Even thought many people say they want to achieve a certain goal, they are not truly committed to it. I’ve heard people say, “I’d give anything to know the scriptures like he does” or “I’d give anything to be as fast of a runner as she is.” Really? Would you really give anything? I can pretty much guarantee that those individuals who are highly successful and fluent in scripture mastery, distance running, business, or any other area did not just automatically become this way. I’m sure they have spent hours and hours studying, learning, and training to become as knowledgeable as they are. Commitment is a crucial part of attaining any goal.
- Having too many goals. Some people suffer from goal overload. They have too many goals and not nearly enough focus. Imagine a skilled archer standing in front of three targets with bow in hand. Now picture that same archer hitting all three targets simultaneously with one arrow. The task is impossible. To be successful, you must determine the one goal you want to be focused on and move forward with that one goal. This is not to say you can’t and shouldn’t have more than one goal at a time, however, make your most important goal one which receives your full focus and attention.
- Feeling unworthy of the desired outcome. For whatever reason, we sometimes do not feel that we are worthy of attaining the goal, and so, we actually sabotage our own efforts. Perhaps we walk away from someone who could help us with our goal, or we neglect to follow through with a task that could enable us to reach the goal. I have known many women who fall into this category. While I’m not saying that men don’t experience these feelings, for some reason women do seem more prone to the phenomenon of feeling unworthy of success. I personally have struggled a great deal with a lack of self-confidence through the years. It is no coincidence that an improvement in my self-confidence over the past 2 years has led to greater goal attainment and personal success. Confidence is the key to achieving one’s goals.
Are you ready to make a change? Choose one of these pitfalls and work with great intensity to overcome it when setting your goals. Let yourself find success at whatever your righteous desires may be. Have the confidence you need to achieve success and know that you are worthy of having that success.