Why donít my goals work?

It is not unusual for me to meet with someone who has an incredibly detailed outline of their goals. It is sometimes layed out in a PowerPoint presentation with pictures and symbols. To the outside world it looks as if they have a very focused and productive guide for the future…BUT, they will say to me, “These are the same goals I have had for the last 7 years. I have made no progress towards these goals. What is the problem?”

When you are faced with this frustration, there are two key questions that may give you the answers to shift your success:

-Are my goals tied to something important to ME?

-Do I bring my goals into my daily focus and activities?

Let’s look at each question in more depth:

1. Are my goals tied to something important to ME?

I recently met with a young, successful professional who was experiencing great distress in movement toward his goals. The goal list was impressive. When I asked why he had the goals on the list, the answer was something like “Well, that is what my firm wants.” OR “That is what my family asks.” The truth is, you will never achieve a goal if it is based on someone else’s desire. OR you will achieve it with a feeling of obligation and, perhaps, anger. Success with despair is not success!

Here is what we did. We set aside the goals and focused on his vision for his life and career. By using a structured process and involving the many factors necessary for an effective vision, we were able to define a vision based on HIS desires not someone else’s. We then moved to generating a goal list based on this vision. Guess what? 80% of what was on the previous goal list was also on this list? What is the difference? It was HIS list, not someone else’s. The remaining 20% were goals that he needed to make his life more fulfilling and satisfying.

2. Do I bring my goals into my daily focus and activities?

Second problem with goals – if they do not bring focus in the present, they are merely a nice exercise to be placed on a shelf. Here is the beauty of bringing your goals to the present:

-The present is perfect because the present is all there is.

-The present is perfect because you CAN do something about it.

-The present is perfect because there is a gift in everything.

-The present is perfect because you can learn quickly from it.

-The present is perfect because it’s leverageable – what you do today WILL effect the future.

Trust me, someday will never come. Only today is reality. Do what you can to bring your goals to the present. Put the list on your mirror, in your planner. Make it something that is constantly in front of you. Review it daily – or at least weekly asking: What have I done today to move in the direction of my goals? What gift has come my way to assist me in moving close to my goals?


Cheryl Leitschuh, Ed.D., RCC is a leadership development specialist. She inspires individuals and organizations to reach their aspirations using the right tools at the right time! Her latest book, The Leadership Energy: Unlocking the Secrets to Your Success, is an Amazon best seller in the leadership energy category. You will find additional tools and resources to expand your success by visiting TheLeadershipEnergy.com

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