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When we set a goal and don't follow through: tips to get back on track


How many times have you set some goals and then failed to follow through on them? It’s the New Year’s resolutions, the big weight loss goals, the declaration that you’re finally going to run that big race, the aspiration to save money for that dream vacation, or to make more money in your profession. We’re all guilty of it. When we fail to reach a goal, it’s not that we don’t want it enough. We fail for a few reasons.


  1. We lose sight of the goal in our day to day life.

  2. We hold the goal as an abstract dream without any concrete action.

  3. We fail to break the big goal down into bite-sized chunks.



So how do we overcome these obstacles to reach our goal? We develop a plan.


  1. Bring the goal front and center in our mind. If we’re going to achieve a goal, we can’t just speak it once and leave it out there. It’s not going to happen TO us. We have to go get it.


We need to track our progress and revisit our goals frequently to assess and reflect on where we are.

  • At the end of the day, what progress have we made?

  • Where do we need to adjust?

  • How might we plan better for the next day?

  • What is working and what is not working for us?


To reach a big goal, it requires daily attention. Most days that means taking some sort of action. Other days, it may just mean putting in some thought work on it, laying some foundation for action. But the point is, if we see that long term goal as a faraway place, it makes it hard to see clearly because it’s too far away.

B. Break the big goal into a set of smaller goals with a timeline in mind. Let’s say the big goal is to run a half-marathon. You obviously can’t expect that you are going to be able to go out and run 13.1 miles in six months if you can’t run one mile today.


What are the smaller things you are going to have to do to get there? Break the goal down into bite-size goals for the month.


Then break those down into even smaller goals for the week.


And, finally, break that down into a plan of action for each day.


I like to call this “chunking”. We take a big goal and chunk it down further and further until those goals are easily actionable.


Example for the big goal of running a half-marathon:

My goal for the month: to run a 5k.

My goal for the week: to run 1 mile without stopping

My goal for today: to run/walk 1 mile



C. Do SOMETHING each day to keep propelling yourself in the right direction. Sometimes with a big goal, it remains a dream, because we’re paralyzed in terms of action. If we establish a habit of taking some sort of small action every day, we’re keeping that goal front and center of our minds. Goals are often derailed because of lack of attention. One day with no thoughts or actions towards it leads to one week of no thoughts or actions, and then we just let the goal go.


D. Finally, sometimes we struggle to work towards our goal because of the way we’re talking to ourselves about it.

The thought “I want to lose weight” and “I will lose weight” are not the same thought. One leaves the goal in a dream state, the other is a belief statement.


Words matter. Words can either create motivation and action or they can trigger our unconscious mind to bring up our doubts and fear of failure.


Our self-talk can be hard to analyze, because we’ve never tried to do it before. It takes practice and curiosity. So try to create awareness of the way you’re talking to yourself about your goal.

  • Are you using words that create doubt or belief?

  • Are you using words like “I HOPE I can…” or “I PLAN to…”

  • When a thought that doesn’t serve you, be willing to change it to a thought that does.



I hope this is helpful. If you need help with any of these goal setting obstacles, I can absolutely help you. Set up a one hour session HERE, and let’s work it out.





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