So you set goals but fail to achieve them? What should you do? We heard about setting goals all the time, but we don’t really know what to do when we don’t accomplish our goals. In this guide, I’m going to share with you the 7 things you should do when you fail at your goals…

First, you have to understand that failing to achieve your goals does not mean that you have failed. It just means that something is wrong and you need to change your strategies. You need to change your approach. And you need to change the way you do things.

It is very normal to fail and it is okay when you don’t achieve your goals. In fact, it is the failure that catapults most people to become successful.

  • If Steve Jobs had never been fired, he would never have bought Pixar and revolutionized Apple after he got back to the company.
  • If Walt Disney had not been fired from the newspaper editor for his lack of imagination, Mickey Mouse and Disney would never have become what you and I get to see today.
  • If Colonel Sanders’ restaurant by the highway had never gone bust, there wouldn’t be KFC today.

So, welcome failure. It is a part of the journey and something that you need to experience before you can achieve success.

Failure is the mother of all successes. Without failure, there will be no success. Failure makes us appreciate success more.

Just like if there is no rain, you will never appreciate the sunshine. If there is no lost, you will never feel the pain.

More importantly, failure is just going to be temporary. And it is how you manage failure when it comes to you that truly matters.

You can fail ten times in your business venture, and you can choose to still get up and try for one more time.

Some people fail once, and they don’t dare to try again. They choose to be defeated by the results they got. They choose to continue to lie on the floor and get knocked down.

Defeat is a state of mind; No one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.

Bruce Lee

So are you going to accept being defeated? I hope not.

Let’s discover what you can do when you fail to achieve your goals. Here are seven things you can do when you fail at your goals:

1. Do a Post-Mortem and Learn the Experience

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Napoleon Hill

Post-mortem means “analysis or discussion of an event held soon after it has occurred, especially in order to determine why it was a failure.”

When you failed to achieve what you set out to accomplish, it means something to you. Failure is a signal telling you something is wrong.

Just like before you fall sick, your body will feel uncomfortable, and this is the signal that your body sends you. If you ignore the signal, sickness will come to you.

When your client’s cheque bounces, it tells you something. When your wife tells you that she’s not happy with the way you handle your kids, she is hinting you something. These are the yellow alerts. These are the signals.

And if you choose to ignore these signals, you will suffer the consequences. And failure is just one of them.

Failure is the feedback telling you that something is not working and you need to change it. You don’t have to look at failure as failure, treat it as feedback that will help you improve.

Therefore, the first thing you can do is to do a post-mortem on the failure you got. Ask yourself:

Why do I fail? What is the reason I fail?

Are you not working hard enough? Do you overestimate your ability? Did you procrastinate and not taking enough action? Do you give it enough time?

These are what failures are trying to tell you. And the best part is that you don’t have to choose to succumb to failure.

Hence, understand why you fail so that you can bounce back higher.

When you know why you fail, you will feel better because you acknowledge the problem. And when you know what went wrong, you can change it, and you can solve it.

It makes you feel better, have more confidence and be hopeful again.

Therefore, do a post-mortem every time you fail to hit your goals.

Find out the reason for the failure and treat it as feedback. After that, learn to solve the problem and come back with a better strategy to achieve what you want again.

2. Get Away

The second thing you can do when you fail at your goals is to simply get away.

Sometimes, when you fail, you don’t have the mood to continue to do things. Your mind will keep thinking about your failure, and this will only make matter worse.

And when this happen, get away from the situation. Do something totally different.

Jack Ma said that he would get away from the problem whenever he couldn’t find any solution. He will take a short nap to clear his mind. And he said that after getting his mind away from the problem, usually, the solution will come to him.

When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, he took three months off before he came to business. And it was during this period that he discovered what he truly wanted in life. He said that it was his best moments. Here is his quote in his own words:

“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Steve Jobs

Thus, don’t be afraid to get away from the problem or the failure. The key is to clear off your mind so that you can see the big picture.

When you’re stuck in the circle, you won’t see the opening or edge to go ahead. When you’re lost in the jungle, try to go to the higher ground so that you can have a clearer and farther view.

The same happens when it comes to dealing with failure.

Try to get away from the situation and do something totally different. Take a vacation when needed. Go and take a walk by the beach or in the woods. Go and do sports. Do something that will make you happy.

Take your mind off the problems, and the solutions will appear.

3. Ask Brutally Honest Questions

Sometimes, the best way to handle failure is to ask yourself honest questions that will help you identify the problems.

For example, when you fail to hit your target by the end of the month, ask yourself this question, “Is what I do justify my results?”

When you ask this question, you will start to think about your actions. Is what you do enough to generate the results you want?

Most people overestimate their ability when it comes to short-term goal. They want to earn a million dollar in a year; they want to lose 5kg in a week, etc.

By asking this honest question, you will then able to know if what you do is able to generate you the results you want.

Here are some thought-provoking questions you should ask yourself regularly:

  • If I continue to do what I do, will I get the results I want? Will I be able to reach my goals?
  • Is this how successful and extraordinary people in my industry are doing it?
  • Are my actions sufficient to generate the result I want and hence, achieve my goals?

You see, you can’t just set a goal to earn a million dollars and then do nothing. Your actions aren’t in alignment with your goals.

And when that happen, you are sure to fail to achieve your goals.

Usually, you will know IF you are able to reach your goal. There’s a hunch, or a sixth-sense within you.

If after a few days, weeks or months down the road and you are not making much progress and left far behind your goals, you know that something is wrong.

So, ask these brutally honest questions to find out if what you do will bring you the result you want.

If what you do is not going to get you the result you want, what should you do? Change your strategy. Do something else. Try and keep trying until you get the results you desire.

By consistently asking these questions along in your journey, you will make sure you are on track and always do the right thing to achieve what you want in life.

4. Learn from Credible Source

Sometimes people fail not because their goals are too big, but their strategies did not justify what they want.

You have to do it the right way if you want to get results. Just like if you want to see the sunrise, running to the West isn’t going to help you make it.

For example, if you want to build a successful blog, and your only strategy is to keep publishing great content on your blog, it may not be an effective strategy. It may take years before you see the results.

What you want to do is to market your blog too. You want to spread the words so that other people know your blog exists.

It is true that quality content is important for a blog, but marketing is equally important.

This is where most people get it wrong. They thought that working hard will guarantee their success. No, it is not. Hard work will only get you results faster; it will not guarantee your success.

Thus, if you work hard blindly, it will make you fail faster.

Read: Stop Working Hard Unless You Fulfill These 5 Principles

Thus, make sure you are doing it the right way. This is why having a mentor or a coach is important. Your mentor can guide you and tell you the right way to get results.

Imagine your goal is to summit Mount Everest, without a coach, mentor, or someone to guide you, do you think you can make it? No, you will fall, and you can die.

This is why learning the right strategy is important. And most people don’t do this. They thought all they need is to work hard.

When people fail, the first thing they do is to double their effort. They put in more time and more hard work.

This is not going to work. You need the right way to achieve real results. When the direction you’re running is wrong, running faster only get you to the wrong destination faster.

So learn the right way. Seek help. Get a mentor or a coach. Ask around and look for better ways to solve things. See what successful people in your niche are doing, and replicate their strategies.

This is why I read books, learn from courses, attend seminars and workshops, because I believe that the more I learn, the better and more successful I can be.

5. Reignite Your Desire

Another good way to deal with failure is to reignite your desire. When you are down and feeling frustrated because you did not achieve your goals, reignite your desire.

Keep the energy going and boost your motivation. How do you do that? Simple, revisit your purpose.

Ask yourself, why do you want to achieve the goals you have set? Your reasons are the fuel that will keep you burning.

This is why your reasons must be strong and emotional enough to get you moving. If your purpose for your goal is not strong enough, you will not do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

It is when you give yourself a compelling reason to act, you will go beyond the problems.

I have seen this many times. People fail because they say that it is too hard, or it is too time-consuming or they just buy into the excuse that it is too competitive.

These are the excuses given by most people. Don’t buy into these lousy excuses. When your reasons are not strong enough, these excuses will come and stop you. They will become the justification for why you can’t.

However, when your reasons are compelling, you will do whatever it takes. Even when the times are tough, your reasons will keep you going.

So what if God throws a lemon at you? Just learn to turn the lemon into lemonade. So what if it is tough or difficult? Just learn to solve the puzzle piece by piece. So what if it rains? Just learn to dance in the rain.

Give yourself compelling reasons to act. Your reasons can reignite your desire and keep your motivation high.

Hence, revisit your purpose. Write down why you want to achieve what you want. Make it compelling. Make it emotional. Make it strong and give yourself no excuse but reasons to go forward.

Here’s what you can do: Write down and review your reasons every single day. When you fail, review your reasons, and read them out loud. They will reignite your desire.

Read: Why Clarity of Purpose is Important to Success and How to Get It

6. Reboot and Restart

What should you do when you fail to reach your goals? Simply reboot and restart.

Just like the software you use on your phone or computer, you need to update them from time to them. And after updates, you need to restart the device.

The same goes for life. Every night when you go to bed, you are restarting and rebooting into a new day.

It doesn’t matter what happened throughout the day. Even if you have a rough day, you should rest and take a good sleep because tomorrow is going to be a brand new day again. And things might be different.

This is the principle you need to apply when you fail to achieve your goals. Just reboot.

Set a new goal or simply extend the time frame to achieve the goals. Of course, before you do that, you want to do a post-mortem to find out why you fail.

If you do this, you will improve. You will learn from your past and upgrade yourself to the next level.

So reset yourself at the end of each day.

7. Failure Don’t Define Who You Are

If you fail right now, it doesn’t mean that you will fail again in the future. Your current situation doesn’t define you. It is just where you are right now.

When you fail to reach your goals, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. So don’t let your failure defines who you are.

If you lose all your money investing in the stock market, does that mean that you are a failure? No, it is not. You have to take it as a lesson and learn from the experience. You improve your strategy, and then you try again.

When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.

Alexander Den Heijer

What if you fail and got burn again? Well, you learn, improve, and then try again. If you are serious about making it happen, you will have to do it until you make it.

How long does it take for an average baby to learn to walk? When you see your baby tries to walk, but when she falls, what would you do? Would you stop her from walking?

No, you will encourage her to learn and improve until she walks.

The same thing operates everywhere in life. If you seriously wanted something, you have to keep going for it. Keep trying and keep doing until you get it.

If you fail right now, it doesn’t mean that you will fail again in the future. Unless you accepted the failure and quit on your goals, you are never going to fail.

Adopt this mindset: Either you win, or you learn.

So don’t let your failure define who you are. Even if you are in a tough situation right now and the future seems bleak. Don’t lose hope. Keep moving forward and keep marching.

Where you are right now is just where it is right now. You can change. As long as you keep your desire burning, maintain your hopes, and find ways to improve, you will somehow achieve what you want in life.

What Should You Do Now?

Well, understand that success and failure are part of life and if you fail to reach your goals, it is very normal.

You just need to follow the seven suggestions given above to deal with your failures. It doesn’t mean that you have failed. It simply means that you have made progress, but not getting the result you want.

Therefore, you need to find out what went wrong. Do a post-mortem and implement a new strategy to reach your goals again.

This article may contain affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As always, I only recommend products and services I trust.

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Reach Your Goals? Don't forget to do so. Cheers. :)


  1. THIS SITE NEEDS SOOOO MUCH EDITING. Hire someone so your work is not dismissed.

    If Steve Jobs HAD never been fired, he would never HAVE BOUGHT Pixar and revolutionized Apple after he got back to the company.

    If Walt Disney HAD not BEEN fired from the newspaper editor for his LACK of imagination, Mickey Mouse and Disney would never HAVE become — what you and I get to see today.

    If Colonel Sanders’ restaurant by the highway HAD never went bust, there WOULDN’T be KFC today.

    • shawnlim Reply

      Hey Ingram, I’m so thankful that you are pointing out these errors.
      I have updated the article. So cheers, Shawn Lim.

  2. Pingback: Chronic Quitter To Goal Smasher In 5 Steps Anyone Can Accomplish | prune and blossom

  3. Iscent George Reply

    Thank you. I didn’t do as well as I expected at the national spelling bee, missing the cut for finals by two evil points. My first instinct was to sob and curse myself and God. Sadly, this is my last year of eligibility which made the loss much more painful. But the journey has taught me many lessons: to try your hardest and never give up. Although my dream was to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, my new goal is to make it into an Ivy League. Hopefully I will succeed, but if not, I will try again.Thank you for letting me share my story.
    iscent 🙂

  4. Pingback: 10 Motivational Questions You Should Ask that Reignite Your Drive and Passion

  5. Thank you for writing this article! The pointers have helped me see my own missed goals in a new light. I feel a lot better knowing why I failed and what I need to do to get back on track.

    Although improved, there are still grammatical errors that bothered me, a former English teacher. Please fix!

  6. Pingback: 21 Most Common Reasons Why People Fail To Achieve Their Goals

  7. Pingback: 10 Steps How To Live The Successful Life You Want

  8. Pingback: 10 Self-Improvement Principles You Should Live by Every Day

  9. Pingback: 10 Steps How to Stop Being a Perfectionist and Get More Done

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.