Failing at Goal Setting? See Why Breaking Down Goals is the Answer

Goal setting failure

We’ve all heard the hundreds of quotes on the importance of goal setting. Quotes like Bo Jackson’s, “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.” or Bruce Lee saying, “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” And, they sound great, right? Until you start trying to set goals in your own life and business. You start out strong, but after a few months (or let’s be honest, weeks) you start to feel discouraged, like your failing, and you just want to quit.

You’re not alone. It happens to everyone. Just look up “goal setting” online and it won’t take you long to see that plenty of people have given up on setting goals. There are even articles trying to convince you why you don’t need to set them. I’d love to tell you that it’s true—that goals don’t matter and you can stop wasting your time feeling bad for not achieving the ones that you’ve set. But, only half of that statement is true.

The part that is true is that you can stop feeling bad about not achieving the goals that you’ve set. But, you still need to set goals. It’s how you continue to grow in your life and business in the direction that you want to reach. But, don’t allow yourself to feel bad, guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed for not reaching goals that you set. Instead, look at what you can learn from the situation, why you didn’t accomplish it, and what you can do to make progress at reaching it.

You need to break down your goals

A common reason why people fail at achieving their goals is that they are too big. And, I don’t mean that the goal is too big that it’s not realistic. What I’m talking about is the fact that people set goals but then don’t break them down into smaller goals that are easier to achieve.

When you skip that step, it’s easy for the goal to overwhelm you. It could be that you don’t know where to begin or you don’t set a realistic timeline because you don’t know the real steps that you need to take in order to achieve it.

But, when you break a goal down and create a real plan, you have small actionable steps that feel much more manageable.

A real-life example

A few years ago I listened to a webinar on organizing. They explained the process of breaking down each task of organizing a room to make it easier to do and I think it’s a great example of how to set goals as well.

They used the example of getting a bookshelf to put in the room. While that sounds like a simple task and something you could just add to your to-do list, there are actually multiple steps that need to happen in order to get it done. If you just put “get bookshelf” on your list it’s going to be easy to keep moving from one day to the next without making any progress.

But, if you break it down into smaller steps, it becomes a lot more manageable. Here’s an example:

  1. Decide where you want to place the bookshelf in the room.
  2. Decide how many books you want the bookshelf to hold (or other items).
  3. Measure the space that you have to work with.
  4. Decide what finish you want on the bookshelf.
  5. Look for designs that you like that fit your space requirements.
  6. Compare prices.
  7. Purchase the bookshelf.
  8. Assemble the bookshelf it needed.
  9. Put your items on the bookshelf.

See, we broke that one simple task down into nine different steps. All of a sudden it becomes a lot easier to choose one of the first steps from the list and knock it off your list. When you cross it off, you’ll see that you’re making progress towards completing the overall task. This can help give you momentum as you see progress being made.

Take a look at your goals

Now, it’s time to put it into action in your own life. Take a look at the goals and tasks that you have on your to-do list. What can you start breaking down into more manageable steps?

If you’re a SPEARity member, the app provides you with the perfect place to do this. If you aren’t currently a member, you can find out more including how to schedule a demo and get a free trial of the app here.

If you feel like you’re drowning in your to-do list and failing at your goals, contact a SPEARity coach today to discuss your options. We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee business coaching firm that specializes in executive coaching and leadership development training.

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