Blog | Intentional and Mindful Living

Why Your Goals Are Not Working


You had all the best intentions to become a better version of you. Maybe you thought that you’ll make some goals to work towards and then you’ll be a happy bunny.

But for some reason, things aren’t going your way.

Perhaps you find that you can’t stick to your goals. You are losing motivation each day. And you’re seeing your goals move farther away from you as the weeks go on.

So what’s happening?

I want to share with you what I’ve learned about goals. I’ve been obsessed with habit change and behaviour change for years. I started to really get into habits, willpower and all of that because of how I ate. Overtime, I’ve learned a lot about what motivates us and what it takes to change. I’m now a specialist in this area in both areas of my work. I work for the health service as an advisor to help people who want to quit smoking, and I also coach people with Eat Happy on how to improve their relationship with food.

I’ve been working in the field of behaviour change for over 6 years now, and I’m going to share some truths about goals for you here. Have a look to see if you’re falling into these traps.


Goals are short term only

Here’s the thing – goals work, but only for SHORT TERM events. They don’t work for big giant life stuff.

That means that you can use goals on daily and maybe monthly tasks, but beyond that, you’ll find they let you down.

Goals work for things like:

  • Finishing a book
  • Contacting a friend
  • Completing a to-do list for the day

But they will let you down if you do the following.


You have no solid reasoning behind your goals


If your goals are picked from the air, they will fail. If you want to create a life change, then goals aren’t what you need. Goals don’t work if they aren’t tied into bigger things like intentions, belief, identity and  vision.

Arbitrary goals without a connection to something bigger won’t drive you forwards. 


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You haven’t assigned an identity to your goals


Why have you picked some goals? If they are to change who you are, then that could be a negative or a positive depending on why you want that change.

If you want change because you hate yourself, and you wish you were different then each goal will feel horrible because it’s tied into this shame filled motivation. That’s not going to get you very far, because each step towards the goal will remind you of what a bad person you are.

If you create goals based on forming a new identity for yourself that’s based within reality for you, then you’ll find them exciting to achieve because they are little steps towards making you the type of person that does what you want!

When your goals are reached; they end, and that’s the end of that

In my work helping people change their habits, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable truth. When goals end, people are either miserable, or revert back to previous behaviour.

Dry January is a perfect example. Dry January is a goal. The goal is: Stay alcohol free for 30 days. It’s not based in an identity change, or to work towards a bigger vision. It’s a goal. When January ends, so  does the goal.

People go back to drinking and sometimes they drink more, and sometimes they wonder why they couldn’t keep it going.

Goals work for shorter term events but don’t change who you are unless you tie them into bigger

Goals can be useful as stepping stones towards a bigger vision. Without a bigger vision, your goals won’t work.

If you want to know more about creating long term, effective and sustainable change in your life, I’m hosting an online webinar called Intention Setting: Create a Life you Love on March 26th. Booking is now open, and I hope to see you there for an exciting 2 hour workshop on making your life a good one!


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