The Unexpected Reason You Fail at Your Goals

According to research, 92 percent of Americans fail at their goals, but this isn’t because we aren’t good enough. It’s because most of us are so busy getting ready to succeed, we aren’t ever actually trying at all.

Why We Fail at Our Goals

Maybe you are familiar with this scenario: You decide you want to become fitter and healthier. You get a gym membership. You over-plan out your weekly schedule, cardio on Monday, leg day on Wednesday, and rest day on Sunday. You even buy new sneakers.

Three months later, the sneakers are still in the box, your pant size hasn’t changed, and you might as well be flushing your gym membership money down the toilet.

You were totally and completely prepared, but never actually took the action to start working out. Meanwhile, your next door neighbor decided to lace up his old, threadbare sneakers and start jogging down the street in the mornings, and he just told you he has started training for his first half marathon!

Many of us get stuck in the loop of feeling like we are making progress without actually taking any real risks or meaningful steps towards achieving our goals. And the only plausible outcome in that scenario is failure.

The ironic thing is, the people who are most likely to fall prey to this style of failure are overachievers and perfectionists; people who are born planners and fear failure and rejection.

But with a little self-awareness, you can stop being stuck. You can start being the person you want to be. You can start taking real steps towards your goals. And while there is no guarantee for success, there also is no guarantee of failure.

In fact, you definitely won’t fail, because any sort of progress you make by putting yourself out there is valuable growth that could pay off even bigger in the future.

How to Take Action to Succeed at Your Goals

Don’t wait until you’ve had your coffee and some breakfast to start taking action. Right now, use these simple steps to get unstuck and actually start achieving your goals.

1.  Make sure you are in motion.

Let’s be clear on one thing: you do need to get in motion in order to take action. You have to get that gym membership, you have to make those lists, you have to start emailing potential clients, you have to make that website.

The problem is, most of us wait for everything we are taking motion on to be absolutely perfect before we take the actually leap into actionable progress.

I’ve got news for you: it will never be perfect. You will never be 100 percent prepared. There will always be small ends that could be tied better. But taking real, tangible actions towards your goals is infinitely better than having perfect preparations.

Most of us get stuck in this loop of preparatory motion and never actually make the move to take real actions towards our goals. That’s why you also need to…

Human Hand Preparing Workout Plan

2. Schedule action days.

Okay, you’ve prepped plenty. Your notebook is full of lists galore. Now it’s time to schedule one or two days a week to dedicate solely to action.

That means no more hiding behind planning. No more lists. No more talking to your friends or mentors. Action days are the days for ACTION! Even if you don’t feel entirely prepared (hint: you never will), you need to take measurable steps towards your goals.

You can’t just sit in the car, revving the engine, and expect you’ll make it to the grocery store. The same is true for your goals. Hit the gas.

For me, that might mean finally getting up the courage to actually pitch an article to a big magazine or submit a recent film project to a film festival. Yeah, it’s scary, and I totally feel like an imposter for even entertaining the idea that I am worthy of doing either of those things. But I also know that if I never try, I will never improve and succeed.

So go ask for that raise, apply for that job, drive to your first yoga class. Screw your insecurities, you’ve given them enough airtime.

Use those action days to do the big things that you’ve been creatively avoiding; the ones that intimidate you; the ones that put you just outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised at how easy action and real progress actually are.

3. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Good job, you made it through your first week of tackling your goals! Now just do it again next week… and the week after that… and all the weeks after that. You will be astounded at how much you can truly accomplish when you stop getting in your own way.

Sometimes you need to fail to inevitably succeed, and sometimes success will come easily and you were the only thing holding yourself back from your dreams.

In the end, true failure is never trying at all. You deserve to achieve your goals. Stop holding yourself back with the little details. Take real steps towards your goals… TODAY!

Have you struggled with accomplishing your goals? What has gotten in your way? What has helped you succeed? Share your stories with the community in the comments section below.

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Images via Thinkstock.

73 comments

Leanne K
Leanne K13 days ago

Ive always felt that if you want to do something you will. All talk and no action is bragging or deluded. If you want a holiday, go book it. If youve joined a gym before and not gone, why would you do the same thing again? If you dont know what youre like by now, you never will

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Ann B
Ann B14 days ago

dieing is the worst to keep

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heather g
heather g15 days ago

Procrastination - can work only when under pressure.....

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penelopy P
penelopy P15 days ago

The thing that gets most in the way if usually other people – asking permission of any authority in this country has to allow you to do it at all usually gets a resounding no!

This is usually accompanied by an obviously Phony excuse – the fact is people do not like tall poppies or actual achievers – it makes them question themselves so they work to suppress anyone else trying something optimistic and positive

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Jessica K
Jessica K16 days ago

Practice makes progress. Thanks.

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M. M
M. M16 days ago

TYFS

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Sophie L
Sophie L16 days ago

Thank you

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RICKY S
RICKY S18 days ago

WOW

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Janis K
Janis K18 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutka19 days ago

A positive attitude and realistic goals work good for me. Also don't get down on yourself if things don't work out right away. If at first you don't succeed try again.

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