When it comes to setting and achieving our goals, everyone wants to hit their goals, nobody wants to fail at them, yet, studies have discovered that most people who set goals fail to achieve them.

There is a study done by Scranton University some time ago. The research found that as high as 92% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them.

And that means only a tiny 8% of people achieve the goals they set. Don’t you think this sounds crazy?

So many people set their targets but fail to hit them. Why is that? And what about you? Do you set goals but fail to achieve them too?

If you are like the majority; you set goals, but you fail to reach them, you need to find out the reason.

And so, here are 21 most common reasons why people fail to achieve their goals…

1. They don’t have time

This is one of the biggest excuses and mistakes most people make. They got it wrong by thinking that they don’t have the time.

In fact, what they are saying is that their goals are not their priorities. Instead of saying that you lack time, change the words and say “It’s not important to me”, and see how it feels.

Everyone has 24 hours a day and no matter what we do; we cannot create more time. Therefore, it is all about how we manage ourselves and how we manage our priorities.

So, don’t make the mistake to think that you lack time. What you really lack is the desire for your goals. When your goals are 100% commitment to you, you will do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Read: Not Enough Time? Here Are 15 Easy Ways How to Find More Time

2. They lack the know-how


Do you want to build a successful business or be a millionaire investor? Do you know how to do it?

A lot of people say that they have no idea how to do something, but in fact, it is not that they don’t know, they just refuse to use their brain to think.

How do you lose weight? How do you build a business? How do you create a successful blog? How do you do marketing for your online business?

You can find answers from other people who have done it before.

Like what Anthony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues.”

Everything that you ever wanted to accomplish has already been accomplished by someone else out there.

All you need to do is to find the answer. Search on Google, read books, get a mentor, a coach, or seek help from those who have done it.

3. They are not committed

Are you 100% committed to achieving your goals? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goals? Or you are just going to do what is easy and convenient?

You see, when it comes to goal achievement, we need to put in 100% commitment if we are serious about achieving what we want.

I have seen people who said that they want to build an internet business, but once they reached home from work; they choose to watch TV instead of working on their websites.

When you are committed, you will do whatever it takes, and failure is not an option. Even if you have to wake up at 5 AM or sleep at 3 AM, you’ll do it because you’re committed.

Unfortunately, most people are not committed to their goals. They just say that they want or they wish to reach their goals, but they are not committed.

Remember this:

“You are what you do, not what you say you will do.”

4. They give up way too soon

Do you know that success takes time? There is no such thing as an overnight success. Success is created over time, not overnight.

A lot of people have the wrong perception and believe that success is the one-hit, but it is really not.

Success consists of many small steps. And you need to work on those small steps every day, day in and day out, consistently, to achieve the success you desire.

But the problem is that most people give up whenever they don’t see any significant results.

Take losing weight as an example. You don’t expect to exercise once and then the additional fat on your body will be gone. No, you have to be consistent. You need to exercise regularly to see the results.

It took me 17 years and 114 days to be an overnight success.

Lionel Messi

Extraordinary people spend years before they manage to produce remarkable result through their work.

Do you think Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett achieved their outstanding success in a short period of time?

Not at all. They have gone through many setbacks, failures, challenges, and hardships, but they never give up.

So don’t give up and choose to move on. Remember the inspirational quote from Finding Dory? “Just keep swimming.”

5. They procrastinate and did not take action

The ultimate killer of your goals is to not take action. People procrastinate and delay working on their goals. Instead of working on their goals, they choose to do something else like playing games, checking social media, or watch TV.

If you fail to achieve your goals because of procrastination, you need to find out the reasons why. Check out this guide below:

10 Reasons Why People Procrastinate and How To Overcome It

People procrastinate because of their feelings. They choose to listen to their feelings and emotions rather than their principles.

If you are all about your feelings and emotions, you will procrastinate. You need to live your life with principles, not feelings.

Successful people have feelings too, but they learn to manage their feelings and controlled their emotions better than most people.

That is why they take action regardless of whether they feel like it or not.

They know that if they want to be successful, they need to live their life with principles, and not let their feelings and emotions run their lives.

Want to know if you’re a procrastinator and what type of prorcrastination personality you have? Take this quiz to find out.

6. They are afraid to fail

Do you fail to reach your goals because you are afraid to fail? You have to understand that failure is an inevitable part of success.

Choose to treat failures as feedback. It is alright if you fail. As long as you never give up and learn from your failure, you will eventually succeed.

So stop asking “What if I fail?” Instead, ask, “What can I learn from this?”

Thomas Edison failed more than 10,000 times, but he never looked at his attempts as failures. When asked, he said that he has successfully found 10,000 ways that don’t work.

You will never fail as long as you don’t quit.

How does a toddler learn to walk? He will try to stand, walk a few steps and fall. What would the parents do? The parents will encourage the toddler to stand up again and try until he walks.

You have to do the same. Keep on trying until you succeed.

Read: 7 Steps How To Not Give Up On Your Dreams

7. They don’t learn from mistakes and failures

One of the keys to creating extraordinary results in life is to learn and keep improving from the results we get in life.

If you try something, and you fail, then you should learn and improve or change your approach so that you don’t get stuck.

You will get the same old result if you refuse to change and keep doing the same thing.

When I said change, I mean changing your strategies, not your goals or your dreams.

Unfortunately, most people don’t do this. When they fail, they thought that they did not work hard enough. So they pour in more effort and time into it.

Guess what, they will still get back the same result.

So dare to try something new and do something different from time to time. Learn from your mistakes and keep improving.

Read: 7 Things You Should Do When You Fail to Achieve Your Goals

8. They don’t follow a proven plan


If your goal is to make a million dollar from your internet business in 3 years so that you can quit your job, what should you do?

Do you have a proven plan and do you know how to do it?

What if you want to lose weight? The first thing that comes into most people’s head is to go on diet or exercise.

While it is true that you can lose the extra fat through diet and exercise, but do you have a proper diet plan or a proven exercise strategy that can help you more effectively?

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

Achieving your goals is like building a house. You need a plan. You need a blueprint. Without having a plan, there is no way you achieve your goals because you simply don’t know what to do.

And most people get it wrong by thinking all they need to do is to write down their goals. A goal without a plan is a mere wish.

Read: How to Turn Your Goals into Actionable Plans

9. Their goals are vague

Are your goals clear and specific? When you ask people what they want in their lives, most will give you vague and general answers such as they want to be rich, or they want to be happy.

No wonder most people fail to reach their goals. The term ‘happy’ is not clearly defined. How do you know when you’re happy and what makes you happy? Thus, there is no way you can tell if you have achieved it.

The same goes if you say that your goal is to be rich. How much do you want? Is earning an additional $100 considered rich or do you need to earn an additional $100,000?

Be as clear and as specific with what you want.

Read: Specific Goal Setting: How to Set Crystal Clear Goals

10. They listen to the naysayers

There will be a lot of people who will tell you that your goals are impossible, or it is too difficult, or nobody has ever done it before.

Well, what should you do? Just ignore the naysayers and don’t listen to them. When you have a dream or a goal, you have to protect it.

Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Never let other people’s opinion become your reality.

Choose to believe in yourself and do what you think is right. Follow your heart and chase your dreams.

If you listen to people who say that it is impossible, or you should get a job in the post office because you don’t have good grades in school, you are living their expectations, not yours.

Don’t let other people define your life. You should be the one to choose how you want to live. So ignore the naysayers.

11. They have too many goals and no focus

Another common reason people fail to achieve their goals is that they try to handle too many goals/projects at the same time.

Don’t be the jack of all trades and master of none. Start to focus your energy and choose to work on your most important goal.

I know that you have many goals to achieve, but you have to identify the most important one and concentrate all your effort to work on it.

If you try to chase two rabbits at the same time, you will end up catching none.

Hence, ask yourself right now, what is the most important goal that if you achieve it, it will have the biggest impact on your life? Focus and work on that goal right now.

Read: How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

12. They doubt themselves

The first step is you have to say that you can.

Will Smith

Do you doubt your ability? This will usually happen after you have taken some actions but are not seeing any results.

People are most motivated and driven in the beginning. They will only doubt themselves when they don’t see the results after some time down the road.

Stop. Have faith and trust yourself. Things will not happen overnight, and you should focus on improving and taking more action.

If you doubt yourself and your goals, who else would believe in you?

You have to be the first person in this world to say yes to your goals and your dreams. Nobody will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.

13. They surround themselves with mediocre people


I bet you’ve heard the phrase, “You become who you spend the most time with.”

If you always mingle with people who have no dreams or goals, you will eventually throw away your dreams and your goals as well.

And when you fail to accomplish your goals, you will say that it is alright because everyone is the same.

On the other hand, if you mix with successful people who always talk about dreams and goals, you will be inspired by their conversations and their thinking.

This is why you need to be careful who you spend time with.

If you want to be an eagle, stop swimming with the ducks. If you want to improve your life, spend time with people who are doing much better than you.

14. They waste too much time on unnecessary tasks

This is another common reason people fail to live their dreams. They choose to do the wrong tasks.

They choose to watch TV instead of working on their dreams. They choose to play games when they should write a blog post. They waste time on Facebook mindlessly when they should be reading a book.

Stop wasting too much time on tasks that don’t matter. Choose to spend time working on things that truly matter to you.

Work harder and spend more time on your goals and your dreams. Learn to delay gratification and have the discipline to take action.

15. They focus on result instead of the progress

This is a common mistake people will make when it comes to achieving their goals. They choose to focus on the result instead of the progress.

If you are a blogger, and you set a goal like, “to get 1,000 subscribers in the first month”, you will feel like a failure when you did not hit the target by the end of the first month.

That’s where most people give up because they thought they have failed.

What you need to do is to focus on the progress. Focus on publishing quality content on your blog on a regular basis, write guest posts on other websites, and leave comments to build a relationship with other bloggers.

And eventually, your blog will grow, and you will hit the 1,000 subscribers mark.

What makes you achieve your goals is the progress. And if you focus too much on getting the result, it won’t work.

Rather, choose to focus on the progress and take consistent action, and the result will automatically come.

Read: How to Measure Your Progress to Effectively Achieve Your Goals

16. They lack the drive and motivation

There will be times people don’t have the motivation and drive to take action and work on their goals. This is very normal. It happened to me too, and I believe it happens to everyone.

Well, you just need to learn how to manage your drive. What should you do when you don’t feel motivated?

Read: 52 Easy and Practical Motivation Tips to Drive Up Your Success

There will be times successful people feel down and no motivation too. It is just that they know how to handle the situation properly and do it anyway.

This is what you need to do too when you feel like not doing anything.

17. They try to handle everything at once


More is not always merrier. In fact, we should choose to focus only on one or two important goals that we want to achieve.

It is always better to have one accomplished goal than five uncompleted goals.

When you try to handle too many projects or doing too many things at the same time, you get distracted and you split your effort too thin.

Imagine you are trying to grow ten websites together, do you think you can achieve great success with them? I’m not sure, but I believe the chances will be low if you don’t have any leverage or others to help you.

The better way is to focus on building and growing only one website. Put all your focus and energy into the one website until you make it successful. Only then you consider starting another one.

So ask yourself, what is the one most important goal that you need to focus on right now? Work on it until you achieve it, everything else is secondary.

Read: 10 Amazing Ways How to Improve Your Focus

18. Their goals are not exciting

People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.

Anthony Robbins

I don’t believe that people are lazy. If you say that you are a lazy person, think about it again.

There are times when you feel so excited and so motivated that you can’t wait for something to come, right? For example, the night before you travel oversea for the first time.

Or maybe you are so obsessed with playing computer games that you have all the energy to stay up late?

These are the things that showed we are not a lazy person. We just don’t know how to channel our motivation to the right place.

Therefore, make use of this factor and set an exciting goal that will make you want to jump out of your bed to work on it.

Read: 10 Tips How to Make Your Goals Motivating and Exciting

19. They get distracted

This is another common killer why people fail to reach their goals. They get distracted and they attend to work on other things and forget about their goals.

A classic example is someone who is fresh and just out of college. They want to build a business and earn additional income. Thus, they join a network marketing company.

They work for a while, but then they discovered or rather, get distracted and found another company. They decided to join the other company. After some time, the same thing happens again, and they jump to another opportunity.

We often get distracted and switch from one thing to another.

We say we want to lose weight, but after a few days, we get distracted and totally forget about the goal that we set.

Never let this happen to you. This is why you need to consciously review your goals and think about what you want all the time.

Create reminders so that you will never forget about what you want in the first place.

Read: How to Keep Your Momentum Going and Stick to Your Plan

20. They give too many excuses

Do you notice that all the reasons above are excuses? You don’t have enough time, you don’t know how to it, you don’t have the money to do it, etc, etc.

These are all common excuses given by people when they fail to achieve their goals.

When you don’t know how to do something, search for the solutions and ask for help.

If you don’t have enough time, make time, and create a better schedule. Everyone has 24 hours a day; it is not an excuse to say that we don’t have enough time, what about those who have made it then? Do you think they have enough time?

Always remember this saying:

For ever reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded.

Jack Canfield

The moment you caught yourself making an excuse, shout “Cancel” out loud and then find a way to solve it.

Train your mind to think of a solution and not an excuse.

Read: Want to Be Successful? Stop Making These 13 Lousy Excuses Now

21. They set a goal that they don’t want

Is the goal you set what you truly want to accomplish in life? Sometimes, when you feel no motivation or are not passionate about your goals, it may be because the goal is not something that you really want.

You have to ask yourself deep down in your heart and listen to your intuition, what you really want to achieve in your life? Is this what you truly desire?

When something is what you truly desire to accomplish, you will be more motivated, passionate and more committed to work on it.

Thus, take your time to think about this. What do you want to achieve in your life? What kind of life you want and what are the dreams and goals you want to achieve?


These are the 21 most common reasons people fail to achieve their goals. Can you relate to any of these reasons or are you making them?

What do you think about these 21 reasons? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you like what you read, remember to share this article with your friends

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. :)


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    • Shawn Lim Reply

      Hey Isaac, I’m happy to know you’re inspired by what I’ve shared. Cheers 🙂

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      Hey Ruzanna, thank you so much for linking to this guide as a resource. 🙂

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