Reflection is possible only if we treat various experiences as learning experiences. Deep reflection informs further action. You may have some understanding why the goal was not achieved, but a rational understanding can only be gained through systematic reflection on your actions. Knowledge of the causes of lack of success can be gained only through objective or critical analysis. The experience can be any event or it can be the Goal which you have set around your values.
Achieving a goal could require much deeper effort than solving a straight forward problem. Problem solving could be a simple process by which a problem is identified on the basis of some diagnosis or some feelings. A plan is made and some final observation tells you that the problem has been solved. Reaching a goal could involve personal change, or personal transformation which requires considerable commitment for improvement. An objective Coach would get better results through critical analysis, subjective analysis can never be free of bias or passion.
For reflection to be any use, you need to create the conditions for it to be thorough. If you want to reflect on why you did not achieve a Goal, then reflection needs to be first on your experience of trying to achieve the goal. You can then proceed to critically analyse the processes by which you pursued the investigation. The insights in to the process that was pursued will assist you to explain whether the Action Plan was crafted conscientiously and the SMART goal was based on your values. Exploration of your insights will help you to know whether the values you espouse are genuinely your values or distorted values, and your commitment to achieve your goal.
Quite often we do not realise that we are doing something wrong. We keep on repeating the same mistakes. Successful people do experience failure, but what sets them apart from others is they learn from their mistakes in order to improve their performance. Achieving a goal, a worthy goal which is congruent with your values is a journey. It is a journey where learning from things going wrong provides the route map to success. It is only through critical analysis, or a study of what you have done that you know what changes are to be made for improvement.
A reflective habit is one of the most powerful techniques that you can adopt to become an increasingly conscious learner. It may appear at first difficult and time wasting. However with patience and practice, the real value of reflection will become clear. You can use the technique to gain deep learning when things turn out as you wished or in other ways than expected. A Coach or mentor can help you to use this technique as it may appear difficult or even threatening. It is not easy to be objective when analysing your own actions or behaviour. Normally we tend not to take responsibility when things are going wrong and to externalise the blame.