The Top 4 Reasons Why People Don’t Set Goals

By – Keith S. Aul

There are a number of reasons why people don’t set goals.  I would like to discuss four of them that come to mind.

First, most people don’t realize the importance of goal setting and achieving. Let’s face it, our educational systems from kindergarten on up through college level don’t teach goal setting and achieving. If you grow up in an environment where no one sets goals or you socialize with a group where goals are neither discussed or valued you can easily reach adult hood without ever realizing that setting goals will have more of an impact on your life than any other skill. Look around you and ask yourself “How many of your family or friends have clear goals and who are committed to achieving them?”

Second, most people don’t know how to set them in the first place. Also, many people think they have goals but in reality it’s just a series of wishes and dreams like “I want to make more money”. A goal is distinctly different than a wish. Goals are clear, specifically written down and they are specific. They’re also easily described to another person. What’s also important about a goal is that you can measure it, which means you know when you have achieved it or not.

The third reason why people don’t set goals is because of the fear of failure.
Failure hurts at times and can be emotionally and financially painful.

Forth is the fear of rejection. People feel if they set a goal and not achieve it other people will criticize them or ridicule them. When you first begin to set goals this is one reason why you don’t share them with anyone. Rather, let people know by your results through your achievements and accomplishments

Setting Goals

Setting Goals

There was a study done at Harvard between 1979 and 1989. Graduates of the MBA program were asked “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The results of that question were:

1. Only 3% had written goals and plans
2. 13% had goals but not in writing
3. 84% had no specific goals at all

10 years later Harvard interviewed the members of that class again and found:

1. The 13% who had goals but not in writing were earning on average twice as much as the 84% of those who had no goals at all
2. The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning on average 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups is the clarity of the goals they had for themselves

The importance of clarity is easily described through the following example. For example if someone told you to go to a house in some city with no street signs, no roadmap or address and only a general description of how the house looked, how long do you think it would take you to find the house? It would probably take a number of years or even decades. However this is how most people go through life without setting goals, their roadmap for a successful life.

Goals give you a sense of direction. They make you feel happier, stronger, more energized and effective. You wind up feeling more confident and competent in your abilities to achieve your goals. Every time you take an additional step towards your goals it gives you the belief that you can achieve them. Goals give you the ability to control the direction of your life and it instills meaning and purpose in everything that you do. You are the happiest when you are doing something that moves you in the direction of what you want.

What are your goals? What are you aiming at? Where do you want to end up at the end of the day, week, month and year?

Keith S. Aul
LifeSuccess Consultant

This post enjoyed significant comment and discussions on Linkedin.

Please feel free to comment and discuss this.


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