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Why most goals fail or leave you feeling empty inside

It is that time of year again when a lot of business owners are thinking about this new year and are setting goals for their business and their life.  Thinking about the possibilities of the year ahead.  Thinking about everything they want to achieve and do this year.  Setting big audacious goals to hit. I’m all for that. It is a great time to reflect and dream and set those intentions for what you want to create in the next 12 months and beyond.  But as we know, most goals fail. They are generally short lived in our minds, and not achieved or not even started! Leaving us feeling like we are useless and can’t stick to what we want.

What about the goals we DO achieve

That’s right, it isn’t just about not achieving your goals, because sometimes we do achieve them and something even more interesting can happen.

Here’s a question to consider “Why is it that when we do achieve our goals we don’t feel as good as we think we will?”

It can be quite the anti-climax.  You reach the goal that you so desperately wanted, and it just doesn’t seem as fulfilling or satisfying as you thought it would be to achieve. Leading you to chase the “next” goal that will make you feel good… and yet that doesn’t happen either.

So what is going on?  Is setting goals and achieving them even worth it?  If you set them and don’t achieve them, you feel terrible. If you do achieve them, you feel empty.

Why most goals fail and what to do about it

Well here’s the thing. Goals are great, but there is something else that needs to be considered alongside those goals as well. Something that goes deeper than the actual goal.

…. And that is the deeper reason behind the goals you want

WHY do you want to achieve these goals?

Really…  Why do you actually want them?  And not just a surface level answer like “well I want more money” or “it will make me successful.”  That may be true, but there is always a deeper level reason as to why you want something.

  • What do these goals mean to you?
  • What will they give you?
  • Why is achieving them important to you?

Because if we don’t answer these deeper questions, then we are unlikely to achieve our goals, or if we do, we will most likely be left feeling empty and unsatisfied. That’s why most goals fail, because we aren’t asking deeper questions around the goals that we set.

Filling the void

You see often we are chasing an external goal that is not actually filling the void or the emotional hole that we are trying to fill, which of course leaves us feeling unworthy, miserable or empty.

So if we can get clear on what the void or emotional hole is that we are desperately trying to fill then we can integrate that and truly get some traction with our goals, and if we hit them, or even if we don’t, we can feel deeply satisfied and fulfilled… which is what most of us are missing and so desperately seeking whether we are aware of it or not.

Let me give you an example of how this works and why it is so powerful for creating change. I helped a client with this at the end of last year. She was super focused, determined and set on hitting a particular figure in her business for this year. It is a figure that would stretch her massively, but I know she can absolutely hit it, because this woman is absolutely amazing and is more than capable of achieving it.

The thing is that I also know this particular client has a past pattern of setting big goals, hitting them and not feeling fulfilled by achieving them. She would always be moving the goal posts and never feeling “good enough” when she hit them or got close to hitting them.

What is going on under the surface?

So, I dug deeper with her as to what is going on under the surface. She confided in me that she felt a huge weight of responsibility. She has a young child, is the main bread winner for her family and has staff she is responsible for paying each month as well, not to mention the large expenses the business incurs. The business has grown well over the years, but it is stretched in terms of cashflow and the business overdraft has been getting larger and larger.

I’m sure we can all relate to part, if not all, of this client’s situation. As business owners we often (if not always) feel that massive weight of responsibility from our family and the business, and we all know the challenges that can come with not enough cashflow in the business.

Now the interesting thing is that as this client’s business has grown, it hasn’t lessened the weight of that responsibility or eased up the cashflow issues. That is because often we focus on a figure to “make” in our business. We focus on increasing our turnover. But that doesn’t mean the cashflow will be better! True story!

We think more cash will make everything better, but often that isn’t the case because usually what happens is as our turnover increases, so do our expenses.

We can get ourselves into a trap where we are constantly making more money in our business, but we are not getting ahead financially!

Hmmmm, this could be a big ‘aha’ moment for you as you realise why you have been struggling so much!

So focusing just on a number (whether that is $100,000 or $10,000,000) isn’t enough.

After talking with this client for a while we discovered that what she wanted was financial stability and security. She didn’t want the stress of ‘living on the edge’ all the time and even deeper down, living in this space was giving her lots of feelings around not being ‘good enough’ and being a ‘failure’. Even though her business is already extremely successful in terms of the turnover it is bringing in and the difference it is making.

So with some tweaks, she is still going for the original figure she wanted, but we also put some other goals and parameters in place for her so that she is heading for a place where not only will she be much better off financially in her business, but she will also have financial security and stability, and a feeling of proudness and satisfaction for what she is about to achieve.


Let’s turn around the ‘most goals fail’ narrative and start achieving meaningful goals!

Can you see from this case study how much of a difference diving deeper into WHY you are setting each goal can completely change the game?

Not only will it mean that you are less likely to ditch the goal after a few weeks because they will be more meaningful and focused on creating what you truly desire, but it also means that if you reach your goals then you will be in alignment with them and not have that empty feeling going on inside. It will fill the void and have you feeling happy, satisfied and so grateful for what you have achieved.

Go out there and create some amazing goals for yourself!

If you want an effective process to create meaningful goals and an action plan to make it happen then I have developed a powerful planning process that you can use to also create amazing results for 2024. Click here to grab your copy.


New year planning results book layout

Kim Baird

Author Kim Baird

Kim Baird is an inspirational speaker, award winning author, transformational coach and entrepreneur. Kim has helped thousands of people to transform their lives and their businesses for the better. She has a passion for living life full out by her own rules and absolutely loves helping others to do the same. Kim specialises in transforming people’s ‘Inner Game’ to get them unstuck, expanding and creating more than they thought possible.

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