Sloane Green

eating disorder recovery coach

Individual & Family Coaching


5 Reasons Goals Fail

I kind of love January.

It’s the time of year that people start getting a mindset refresh. People are excited and re-energized and there’s some good mojo flowing. You know, “New Year’s Resolutions.”

I love that other people make them. I love, especially when they stick to them. We need less pessimism in this world for assuming our friends and family will back out on what they said they would achieve. We’re allowed to have set-backs. We’re allowed to fail and realize what we want instead.


Anyway, when we talk about “Resolutions,” the word “Goals” can easily be inserted as what we actually mean.

I’m here to tell you something: Goals fail.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1.       Your goal is unrealistic.

I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, because I really do believe in you… but you’re probably not going to be the next Michael Phelps if you haven’t been in a pool for 15 years. Sorry.  

You know yourself, you just have to be honest with the person in the mirror. If you want to walk outside more, then your goal should be more like “walk every day after work for 30 minutes,” than “become world speed-walking champion.” Get real with who you are today so you can design your future self… realistically.

2.       Your goal can’t be measured.

The word “more” needs to be erased from your goals.

“Workout more.”

“Read more.”

“Visit family more.”

What does that mean?

You need to measure how you’ve done before with how you’ve done after all this “more” has happened. Do you have a number of days each week you want to do something? Do you want to have a pre- and post-measurement for success?

Get into the details and ask yourself how you will know you’ve reached your goal.

3.       It’s not specific enough!

This is middle-school me talking. I wrote goals before every sports season, every school year, and every calendar year. Most of them were like “Write in my journal more,” or “Be nicer to my sisters.” Well what does that look like? How am I going to make that happen? No clue.

If I was nice to my sisters one time, I’d say, “Yup. I am nicer now. Goal, achieved.” Instead, maybe I could have said, “Ask my sister to play with me once each week.” Then I could check that box (or not…).

Being specific at your goals gives you a clearer picture on how you’re doing in the midst of your timeline.

4.       You are a big-picture thinker. Only.

And this one is me today. I want to do everything, and I want to do it all now. I have a hard time breaking it down into smaller pieces, but I just know my end goal is to do it.

This is why (my) goals fail.

If I want to, say, bike across the country, I can’t just decide I’ll do it. I mean, that sounds like something I would try, but I’d likely fail and call my husband to drive to Kansas and pick my butt up.

You have to break your goals into smaller steps. Ask yourself: “What is the very first thing I need to do to get me there?” And then do it.

Eventually, you’ll design your small steps into that big picture you really want.

5.       You’re coasting.

This is a big one. People fail because they don’t realize the effort—sometimes, prolonged effort—it takes to reach a goal.

You know, there’s a quote that says, “If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” And people don’t want to do the thing they have to, to get what they have never had before! It blows my mind. Guess what, folks? It takes a little effort. It takes more than some pennies in a wishing well and a notebook full of doodles.

If you want to achieve something—anything, big or small—you have to put some effort in and do some stuff you really don’t want to.


Instead of goals, I challenge you to set intentions, or actions.

I intend to ___.
My first action step is ___.

I can't wait to hear how you work these into your 2017 plans. Leave me a comment and let me know!

Want to learn more and work with me to design these intentions? Let me know that, too!

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