I was all set to accomplish goals last year (actually, 2 years if not longer…). I had set up SMART goals, had a plan, set up the plan in a planner, etc. It was all there. But I still didn’t manage to actually achieve any of my goals.
This was a hard post for me to write, but I want to share the reasons I did not accomplish my goals so that others don’t feel alone, to make them aware of possible inhibitors, and hopefully someday to share how I was able to overcome them!
These were the 7 reasons I didn’t accomplish my goals:
- Lack in Discipline
- Fear of Success and/or Failure
- Choosing Instant Gratification over Long-Term Goal (with uncertainty)
- Feeling Overwhelmed of Things to Improve and Do
- Setbacks in life -> Depression
- What’s the Point
For more details, keep reading! Good luck to everyone for accomplishing your goals, meeting resolutions, etc. in 2020!!
You may notice that most, if not all, of these reasons seem related. I believe they are! So, you may see a lot of overlap in the reasons.
1. Lack in Discipline
I’m sure we have all heard that motivation can only take us so far. We need discipline and habits to be able to persevere and continue taking steps towards our goals. This is very true. When working on setting your habits, we need 2 kinds of discipline – the discipline to track whether you succeeded or not in your daily actions, and to perform those actions every day.
I lacked discipline in both of these aspects. Sometimes, I wouldn’t check my planner an entire day or 2, and therefore, I wouldn’t always track my actions. Not seeing what I need to do also didn’t reinforce my intention to perform my chosen actions. On the other hand, sometimes I didn’t have discipline to continue with my goals and take steps that reinforced them, allowing excuses, fear, instant gratification, etc. to take over instead.
Sometimes we make exceptions or excuses for our goals because of outside circumstances. For instance, one of the things I wanted to do is wake up early. But then, I wouldn’t wake up early because it’s Saturday, or because I had a hard, busy week. These are excuses. If we keep finding reasons for exceptions, we won’t make habits.
3. Fear of Success and/or Failure
Fear of failure makes sense – what if I don’t lose weight despite my efforts, or what if I don’t achieve what I was hoping to from the changes I made? Then, all my efforts would go to waste. A part of me didn’t want to make changes if they weren’t going to produce the results I was hoping for – it felt like a waste. But I probably should have tried anyway.
Another thing I was afraid of was of success. It seems so odd to be afraid of success. Yet, a part of me wasn’t sure who I am now and who I would be if things I wanted would happen. I couldn’t imagine having what I wanted, in a way. I was afraid of other mistakes I would make or if I would be able to be responsible enough to care for the things I get. Did I really deserve to get and have what I want?
I think it takes a lot of self-love, forgiveness, and responsibility for us to accomplish what we want. This is something I didn’t realize before, and was not prepared to handle during this past year.
4. Choosing Instant Gratification over Long-Term Goal (with uncertainty)
As mentioned before, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that we will accomplish our goals despite our best efforts. And sometimes, we choose instant gratification over our long-term goals, especially one with some uncertainty. Why miss out on the life now for something that might or might not come in the future? YOLO, right?
Accomplishing those long-term goals, ones that can give us fulfillment and purpose, require sacrificing instant gratification. It’s the price of success.
5. Feeling Overwhelmed of Things to Improve and Do
Sometimes, nothing seems in order. Nothing is going right, everything is wrong. Everything you’re doing is maybe wrong, too! Life can get overwhelming of things to do, improve, etc.
6. Setbacks in life -> Depression
2019 was a hard year. I was expecting it to go much more smoothly, but a few things set me back quite a bit! I didn’t pass my PhD Dissertation Defense… I was hoping to graduate with my PhD and to spend the Fall semester teaching. And Fall semester was stressful and emotional. Basically, it was a hard year. Each setback just worsened my depression and anxiety, and I had 0 energy or motivation to try to accomplish any of my goals. A part of me wishes I was a stronger person and handled my setbacks with more strength and continued trying to accomplish my goals.
7. What’s the Point
My feelings of hopelessness and “what’s the point” stem from my depression. And sometimes, despite my best efforts, I would have no answers to what the point of anything was. Especially when I didn’t feel like things could improve. Depression makes accomplishing goals very difficult.
I have a lot of searching and growing to do. Part of my problem is I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I really want from life. I haven’t really thought about what I want to do or try in 2020. I think I need to calm down my mind so I can actually listen to myself. This will be one thing I’ll be more intentional about this year. And living one day at a time.