Why Most People Will Never Reach Their Goals

Reaching Goals

by Jayaram V

Summary: Goals are an important part of success and happiness. This essay is about the reasons or causes why people fail to reach their goals


Goal setting and goal achievement are integral to achieving success in any field. Goals help us focus our minds and energies upon the aims or the ideals which we want to achieve in our lives, careers, businesses or professions. To harness the energies of the mind and body, it is necessary to have clear and specific goals, and pursue them with determination and perseverance.

The Vedic people of ancient India were probably the earliest people in the history of the world who realized the importance of having goals in life. They prescribed four common goals for all people who chose to become householders and participate in worldly matters. They were, duty, wealth, pleasure or happiness and liberation from worldly suffering. People made those goals the chief aims of their lives and pursued them as a part of their religious duties.

In today’s world also, many people realize the importance of having goals. However, only a few people set them and pursue them with required seriousness, sincerity and concentration. As a result, many people fail to realize their true potential or express their uniqueness. They lead aimless lives or engage in activities that may not bring them success, peace and prosperity or happiness.

When you do not have specific goals, your life will largely be guided by chance or fortuitous circumstances. You will be at the mercy of others or the forces of life. You will lose control of your life and circumstances and miss opportunities to put your skills and talents to proper use and derive maximum advantage to yourself. Success and failure are not always under your control. However, with right approach, methods and attitude, you can increase the probability of success.

Goal setting is not a difficult task, which you cannot practice, although sometimes it may require a lot of preparation and right mindset. Through goals, you give a concrete shape to your predominant and persistent thoughts, desires and expectations. You create a vision of the kind of life or lifestyle that you want to lead and be part of. It is an important aspect of your self-actualization process, in which you will not only try to satisfy your needs and wants but also create a zone of influence for yourself, where you can enjoy the freedom and privilege to be who you want to be.

Reasons for failure to reach goals

Then, why do most people never reach their goals? Many factors and causes contribute to the failure, which vary from person to person. They are both internal and external, over which one may or may not have control. The deep-rooted causes cannot easily be fathomed without proper introspection and analysis. Therefore, if you are one of those who have a difficulty with reaching goals, examine how far the failure is contributed by your own thinking, actions, decisions or effort, and where you can improve. People fail to reach their goals for various reasons. Some of them are listed below.

1. Lack of clarity: The goals must be clear and specific, so that you can focus upon them. Many a time, people set vague goals or mistake their wishes and desires for goals. A goal must be specific, achievable, measurable, realistic and timely. It must also be easy to remember and visualize.

2. Lack of commitment: You must have a strong determination to reach your goals and willing to make necessary sacrifices, and bear with the hardship, resistance, pain and suffering, which may arise from it. If you do not have commitment or willpower, you will not be serious about them.

3. Lack of planning: The pursuit of goal is as important as goal setting, for which you must have clear and specific plans. They help you think through things, organize your resources and anticipate problems, constraints and obstacles, so that you can prepare for them well in advance.

4. Lack of expectations: When you set the goals, you must have a clear vision of what you achieve or the benefits that you will derive by achieving them. If you do not identify the benefits or the rewards, you will not be committed to achieving them, and you cannot measure your success.

5. Lack of resources: To achieve goals, you require external and internal resources. If you do not have them, you cannot reach them. It is why having realistic and achievable goals is important. You must set your goals according to available resources, or you must have a plan to secure them.

6. Lack of supporting environment: Most goals require the help and cooperation of others or favorable circumstances for their completion. Behavioral problems and negativity caused by distrust, envy, misunderstandings, enmity, etc. can seriously hamper your efforts to reach goals.

7. Lack of favorable circumstances: You may have clear goals, resources, commitment and supporting environment. Yet, you may not reach your goals, if circumstances are unfavorable, if your effort is ill-timed or if chance or fate interferes with your actions. Unforeseen circumstances can derail your plans and effort. Thus, luck or chance is an important part of your success in reaching goals, and one may not always be lucky.

8. Lack of perseverance: This is again a direct consequence of the lack of commitment only. No one is perfect. Our methods and techniques are not immune to failure. They improve overtime if we are willing to learn from our failures and work upon our imperfections and weaknesses. Many people when they give up, disheartened by failure.

9. Lack of pragmatism and flexibility: Practical people adapt according to the environment as they have the growth mindset. They are willing to set aside their emotions and make sensible decisions to reach their goals, changing their methods and plans if necessary. They also know when to quit and when to persevere.

Goals are important to achieve success in life. Without commitment and matching effort, you cannot achieve them. Your goals must be in sync with your personality, vision, predominant desires, natural inclinations, inborn talents, gifts, needs and aspirations. There can be any number of reasons why people fail to reach their goals. If you have a problem with reaching your goals, you must analyze the causes that are specific to you and address them. You must keep trying with unwavering focus and determination, until you realize your goals.

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