If your original goals don’t feel right anymore, this article is for you. Setting goals is part of personal development, but what about pivoting when it doesn’t feel right? If your New Year’s resolutions are a forgotten memory, you need to know it is okay to change your goals. This post outlines when to stop chasing your goals, how to pivot your goals partway throughout the year, how to accept when your goals change, the most common reasons why people fail to achieve their goals, and how to recommit to your goals after a pause. Let’s dive in!
We are officially 6 full weeks into the New Year! It’s insane how fast the time flies. It’s also insane how many people have long forgotten about the goals they set for the year.
The steadfast determination with which we set out to conquer the world on January 1st is usually long gone by the middle of February.
Something like 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions within 6-8 weeks after setting them. This is why New Year’s resolutions don’t work.
Why people give up on their goals
There are a number of reasons why people are no longer working toward their goals come this time of year. Let’s talk about the 5 most common reasons I see in my coaching practice.
I set goals I didn’t really care about
If your goals started with “I really should…”, you were facing an uphill battle from day one.
It’s okay, it happens to everyone. When we set goals from a place of obligation, we get icky feelings about it and avoid it at all costs.
Your goals must stem from a deep internal desire to become a certain type of person who lives out values that are true to them.
If you don’t know what your personal values are, I’ve created a mini-workbook to help you connect your values and live them every day! It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t really know what they value, feels like they aren’t living up to their own standards, and just wants to be a good person in their day to day life.
You get it for free when you join the Move Your Mountains email community! You’ll also get weekly tips on motivation and productivity, advice on how to achieve your goals, and guidance on building a life exploding with joy.
What’s not to love? Hop on the list now!
I set too many goals and burnt out
I really struggled with the concept that dreams take time to come true. If I wanted to have a six figure business in the future, I would always try to make it happen THIS year. When you’re starting at square one, it’s not likely to happen unless you’re making some major sacrifices in other areas, which I wasn’t. Yet I was still beating myself up when I couldn’t do 77 things in one day, and still keep little humans alive.
If you set too many goals, you’ll burn out.
You need to focus on one major breakthrough at a time, while maintaining the habits you’ve built up in other areas.
This is the premise of my entire life coaching practice, and I firmly believe that success comes by mastering ONE thing at a time.
If you’re at the beginning of your personal growth journey, you must start small and build up wins first. That means setting a few reminders to drink more water, not vowing to inhale 5L every day for the rest of your life. This means setting aside 5 mins every morning to do some squats, not aiming to win a bodybuilding competition when you’ve never set foot in a gym.
By the way, if you are at the beginning of your growth journey, I applaud you for jumping on the bandwagon! It’s a hell of a ride. You will get extreme value from participating in our boot camp style coaching package: the ultimate goal setting starter pack!
If you’ve been committed to personal growth for a few years, you likely have a good understanding of yourself, what you’re capable of, and the foolish ways you try to outsmart yourself into giving up. So even though you can tackle self sabotage head on, you still need to pace yourself with your goals! Just because you’re a pro at setting goals doesn’t mean you need to go crazy.
Life is about living, not stressing yourself out.
I didn’t think through the exact steps to achieving my goals
A common obstacle I see with my coaching clients is that they have set a realistic goal that they are intensely passionate about and entirely focused on, but that’s where they stopped.
They didn’t build a road map that outlines exactly how to get there, and so they got stuck.
Without crystal clear next steps, we can’t take action. We think it’s because we aren’t motivated, but it’s actually because we just don’t know what to do next.
Related post: How To Break Down Big Goals And Actually Achieve Them
Or we get caught up in the perfectionist mindset of doing the exact right things in the exact right order, and fail to do anything at all because we’re not 100% sure what that might be.
I’ve been there. The trick is to take imperfect action. Baby steps every day.
Consistency is the secret you’re looking for to see your goals through.
Related post: How To Build Self Discipline To Achieve Goals
I let other people bring me down
If your close circle of friends isn’t dreaming big things and striving for massive action, they’re likely holding you back.
They don’t need to be on the same journey as you, but if they’re on ANY kind of journey they will understand what it’s like to make sacrifices in order to achieve fulfillment.
Someone who is settling in a life of mediocrity won’t get why you’re choosing to train for a half marathon instead of coming out for wing night, or why you’re choosing to stay home and write instead of coming out to the theater, or why you no longer eat garlic cheese bread.
It really helps to have a tribe of goal crushers that can support you in your dreams and push you to new levels. If you don’t feel like you have that tribe in your personal life, you are always welcome to sit with us! Hop on the email list and join one of our exclusive goal crushers groups!
I set goals that were too freaking hard
I absolutely love dreaming big. You’d probably laugh if you knew the future I have in mind for myself. And I’m okay with that because my dreams do not exist to make you, me, or anyone else, feel comfortable.
But, dreams are very different from the goals that get us there.
Goals have to be achievable, so that we can actually make the progress toward our dreams.
If you set goals that are unrealistic, you will quickly realize you can’t keep up, and chances are you won’t slow down, you’ll just stop altogether.
What’s the real reason people give up on their goals?
All of these 5 most common problems really stem from one thing: not having an effective process for setting goals.
If you’re doing it the right way from the start, you don’t run into these problems.
It took me a few years to figure out what that process looked like for me, and now that I’ve mastered it, I never give up on my goals. If you’d like to give it a go, you can read about it here.
What’s the difference between giving up and letting go?
There is definitely a difference between giving up on your goals and letting go of commitments that are not serving you.
The biggest way to tell you’re giving up is when the decision is created by external pressures.
If there’s something outside of you that’s making you feel like you can’t keep going — whether it be your parents’ opinion, pressure from your partner, a difficult time in your life that you’re going through — and it causes you to stop taking action toward something you ultimately still want in your future, that’s giving up.
If the decision is internal and comes from a place of reflecting and realizing your commitment is not aligned with your values, not helping you become the person you’re meant to be, and not right to pursue at this stage in your life, stopping action is letting go.
Do you feel that the change is right for you? Or will you regret it in 3 months because the dream is ultimately still in your heart?
My promise to myself is never to give up on a bad day. Do what you need to do to come out on top, and then make your decision of whether to keep going or not.
You’ll be amazed at the internal strength you can draw on to achieve BIG things, but you won’t get there by stopping when it gets hard.
If you come out on top, get that win under your belt, and still feel that it is not the right path for you, you can confidently let go knowing it is the right move.
What to do when your goal doesn’t feel right
If you’ve gotten to a point where you’re not putting in the effort you originally intended to, there are 5 things you can do to get back into the groove of accomplishing big things.
Go back to the WHY to reignite your motivation
There was a reason you set that goal in the first place. If it came from an internal desire to grow as a person (and not someone else’s opinion of what you should do/be) then that desire is likely still there.
You need to get back in touch with your big WHY for achieving this goal.
Related post: Finding Your Purpose In Life
Go to the place in the future where you’ve already achieved it, and take time to feel the success, visualize the outcome, and soak in the immense gratitude you feel.
Get yourself in that positive emotional state and make it a habit to visit that place often. Every single day. When you wake up in the morning, build this visualization meditation into your morning routine, so that you know exactly what you’re focused on and can approach it from a place of excitement.
Going back to your WHY can help reignite the fire that got you started in the first place.
Related post: 10 Tips To Be More Motivated
Go back to the WHY to see if there’s another way
If the goal doesn’t feel right, it may be time to pivot.
Ask yourself why you wanted to achieve this goal in the first place. What was it going to get you? How was it going to benefit you and the people around you?
For example, a goal of eating a strict Ketogenic diet for the month may have been to lose 20 pounds. But the ultimate WHY was likely to feel good about your body, to have the energy to show up for your kids, and to be healthy.
Now, ask yourself what other ways you could achieve that same outcome? The goal you originally set is only one possible way to achieve the end result you’re looking for, what are some other ways?
Maybe you decide to move your body every day for 30 minutes instead. Maybe you decide to get some coaching on your negative thought patterns about your body. Maybe you decide to stop snacking. Or start going for family hikes on the weekend.
There are many ways to achieve your big WHY.
Your big WHY likely won’t change over time. It stems from your internal values which create the dreams you want for your life.
Those end goals remain strong over the course of our lives. But the means goals, the ways to achieve those outcomes, they can change.
If your goal isn’t serving you, find a different way to achieve the end goal. If you need help with this, I’m absolutely here for you.
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Ask for help in achieving your goal
You don’t have to do it alone.
You have a community of people ready to help you succeed. Ask your mom to take the kids on Saturday mornings so that you can work on the business. Ask your friends to join a boot camp program with you so you have accountability in going to the gym. Ask your neighbor who never eats out to teach you how to cook at home. Don’t try to do everything alone.
Our culture seems to promote individualism. And while independence is a wonderful thing, feeling alone in the pursuit of your goals is hard. Find your tribe, ask for help, do it together.
If you don’t feel like you have a tribe in your life, join the Move Your Mountains Tribe. Start by hopping on the email list to receive weekly support and motivation, join one of our exclusive goal crushers groups, and sign up for a coaching program to help you recommit to your goals.
You have options! Don’t self sabotage by pretending you’re in this alone.
Go through the goal setting process again
If all else fails, know that it’s okay to start over and go through the goal setting process again.
Start with square one and create a new personal growth plan today.
Don’t wait until the next New Year’s Eve, the start of a new month, or Monday. Honor your commitment to yourself and your growth by taking baby steps TODAY.
Related post: 10 Tips To Stay On Top Of Your Goals
Tackle your mindset
It can often seem like the reason we aren’t achieving our goals is because of external circumstances we can’t control.
- I don’t have enough time.
- I don’t have enough money.
- I don’t have the qualifications.
But in reality, those are all excuses that stem from not feeling confident in your ability to succeed.
Related post: Impostor Syndrome; 4 Tips To Overcome It
Let’s take I don’t have enough time as an example.
Everyone has the same number of hours in a day. Is there nobody else in the world in a similar situation as you who has achieved your goal?
It’s not about having the time, it’s about creating the time.
So really, you’re choosing not to dedicate your time to the goal. Why is that? Is it because you’re scared of wasting your time on something that isn’t going to work out?
If that’s the case, you’re likely only devoting a little bit of time to it, which yields very small (if any) results, which reinforces your limiting belief that you won’t succeed, and so you devote even less time to it, and eventually spiral so far down that you can no longer picture success for yourself.
Doing some stream of consciousness journaling can help uncover your beliefs about yourself, and give you a point from which to flip the script in your head. This sort of mindset coaching is exactly what I specialize in. Let’s work it out together.
Writing down your goal as if you’ve already achieved it and taking time every morning to visualize that success will also build up your confidence.
Related post: How To Start A Gratitude Journal
Playing out the worst case scenario to the very end can help you see that trying and failing is really not the end of the world, and help you get past your fears.
Overcoming perfectionism and having the courage to take imperfect action consistently will help you make progress. I struggled with this for years. Read about my story here.
Rewriting your definition of success in a way that serves you is huge for building the confidence to go for it.
Related post: How To Overcome Self Doubt
These are all things we go through in depth in my coaching programs, so if you struggle with self doubt, self sabotage, or perfectionism, you should consider working with an experienced life coach to get past that.
Setting goals is an iterative process. That means you don’t do it once and forget about it, you continue to refine your journey on a regular basis.
It’s okay to let go of some goals that turned out to be not the right fit for you.
Remember, there is a difference between giving up, and letting go. Trust yourself to know which of those situations you are in.
And if it’s time to let go, let go with grace. Don’t indulge in the negative self talk and bash yourself for your inability to see it through.
Celebrate your courage to pivot directions and find alignment with your truth.
Remember that life is about fulfilling your potential. You’ve got what it takes to get from here to there, believe me.
I work with people who feel stuck and unhappy, and I challenge them to build lives exploding with joy. You’d be amazed at the things you can accomplish!
So get out there, and carve your path!!
What is the ONE THING you’re doing today to make progress on your goal? Let me know in the comments below!