5 Reasons You Failed to Achieve Your Business Goals Last Year and How to Start Fixing It

Last year, you put time and thought into the business goals you set. However, you got to the end of the year, looked back, and found yourself way off the mark.

And this year? You’re on track to do much of the same. But why repeat the same old patterns only to get the same results?

It’s time to do something different.

Why Your Goals Matter

Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” I love this quote so much. And I think it gets to the heart of why it’s important to set goals in the first place.

Making the invisible, visible.

When you think about doing something it’s just an idea. It’s abstract with no form. However, when you set a goal, you take an intangible thought and turn it into a tangible object.

An idea can become a reality because a goal can be actioned, cultivated and manipulated until the result is realized.

To demonstrate what I mean, let me bring you back to when I started my coaching business. Back then, it was my dream to one day move from private coaching to group coaching programs and digital products.

While I spent a lot of time thinking about that, it never came to fruition. It was “invisible” and remained that way until I’d committed to launching a group coaching program and began setting the goals that helped me do just that.

That is to say, the idea was a group coaching program and that’s what it remained until I set a goal. The goal was to launch a beta group coaching program with five women who would give real-time, valuable feedback that would be used to improve the program.

Once I set the goal. I had something concrete to work with — action items and deadlines. Having a set of action items, coupled with deadlines helped make the dream a reality.

That’s why setting goals matters. It’s why having goals is important.

The Consequences of Not Setting Goals

When you set a clear goal, everything becomes easier. Choosing the goal makes it possible to plan. As you execute the plan, you’ll see results. That’s the visible part.

However, when you don’t have clear goals, then it’s a free-for-all. In other words, there are consequences for not establishing clear, actionable goals for your business.

Some of those consequences are:

  • More work — Less success
  • Distractions win out
  • There are no priorities
  • Every opportunity looks like a good one
  • Wasted time
  • It’s difficult to get motivated
  • Missed revenue

So, if you’ve not been setting clear goals for your business, it’s time to stop messing around and get serious. It’s time to set effective goals for your business.

Failures Are Opportunities

But what happens when you have business goals but you fail to achieve them?

First, you take a deep breath and don’t self-judge. Failing to achieve the goals you set for your business happens to all of us at one point or another. It’s OK and you’re not alone.

It's not the failure, but rather how you cope with it that matters. Berating yourself and beating yourself up with negative thoughts isn’t going to help anything, nor will it fix the problem. So quiet your mind and give yourself some grace.

What you have before you is an opportunity. That’s right. Failures are just opportunities to learn something. So, what lessons can you learn from not achieving your business goals?

A helpful place to start is by asking yourself, “what went wrong?” Then, listen to the answers that bubble up. Write them down.

What you’re gathering is information. Don’t make it mean something it doesn’t. And don’t make it mean something about you. You’re human. That means you’re not perfect.

Why You Failed to Achieve Your Business Goals

There is a good reason that you didn’t achieve the business goals you set for yourself last year. If you pay attention, you’ll figure it out. And you’ll make better choices next time.

To get you started, here are some of the culprits that may have been at the root of the problem.

You Don’t Have Clarity

The Problem: You didn’t achieve your business goals because you lack clarity on what you actually want. When there is no future vision, it’s impossible to set the right goals.

In other words, that vision of your future will help guide the goals you create. If you don’t get clear on what you want it can

  • Prevent you from creating actual goals (ie, you just skip the goal setting altogether)
  • Lead to creating vague goals (and vague goals lead to vague results)
  • Steer you somewhere you don’t want to go.

The Solution: To get clarity, you have to spend time thinking. So, if you think that a lack of clarity led to missing the mark on your business goals, it’s time to get your thinking cap on.

Clear the decks and really free up space to daydream. You know, like when you were a kid and you’d dream about what you would do or be someday.

This is not brainstorming. No pens to paper or fingers to keyboards allowed. Just you and your beautiful brain dreaming up what you want life to look like both personally and professionally.

Let the thoughts come to you. Relax. You can’t get it wrong.

Then, and only once the clarity starts to come, you can write it down. What’s the story that unfolded? Write it all down. Use THAT story to help you with your goal creation.

You Didn’t Get Your Goals Out of Your Head

The Problem: You didn’t achieve your business goals because you didn’t get your goals out of your head. When you don’t write down your goals it’s the same as not committing to them. However, by writing them down, you’re saying, “Yes. This is what I want!”

That can be scary, especially if you’re struggling with some limiting beliefs that bring up fear. And it can feel limiting if you’re filled with ideas and don’t want to choose a few to act upon.

Either way, a lack of commitment will lead to falling woefully short of the goals you want to achieve. Commitment to your goals starts with writing them down. Once you do that, everything changes.

Gail Matthews, a clinical psychologist from Dominican University, ran a study on the effects of writing down your goals. Her study concluded that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

The Solution: If that was your struggle last year, then grab a pen and write down the goals you want to achieve this year. You’ll be 42% more likely to achieve them.

According to that same study, if you want to increase your success rate to 76%, create action steps, tell a friend, and send weekly reports to them.

You Didn’t Plan For It

The Problem: You didn’t achieve your business goals because you didn’t plan for them. I get it. Planning sounds like a lot of work and a pain in the butt.

Sure proper planning takes some work. Nevertheless, a little effort up front saves lots of time and effort later.

Because when you don’t plan, you are at a much higher risk of not achieving your goals because you

  • Waste time
  • Make more work for yourself
  • Make wrong decisions
  • Get distracted by things that don’t matter
  • Lose motivation
  • Don’t see your progress
  • And more!


The Solution: If this was your struggle last year, then it’s a simple solution — PLAN!

There are so many benefits to planning like:

  • Increased work productivity
  • Focusing on the right work
  • Working less
  • Making progress on what matters to your business success
  • Better use of resources
  • Reducing errors and failures
  • Less stress and overwhelm
  • Creates momentum
  • Reduces errors
  • Improves decision-making

Shall I go on?

If you’re just getting started with planning, start small. Choose one goal, write down any steps you need to take, put those steps in a logical order, and set deadlines for each of those steps. Take it a step further and put those deadlines on your calendar.

It’s not comprehensive planning like we do in my Plan To Achieve program, but it’s a good start. Plus, having some sort of plan is better than no plan at all. You’ve got this!

You Were Too Ambitious

The Problem: You didn’t achieve your business goals because you were too ambitious. This is common for all of my visionaries out there. You have so many ideas and you want to do them all. I totally understand! Me! I’m guilty.

Instead of picking two to three ideas and concentrating on those, you set goals and made plans for all 50 of them. Now you find that you’re just busy and overwhelmed and worse, you’re not making significant progress on anything at all.

Time keeps flying by and you feel like you’ve stood in place.

The Solution: If this is the issue that keeps you from achieving your business goals, I’m here to tell you that you can’t do everything.

I know it’s not what you want to hear but stick with me. You can have everything you want — just not at the same time. So, try this.

Look over your list of ideas. Choose two. Break out the goals and plans for them. Then focus on the work that will help you achieve those goals.

You will make faster progress. Then you can get started on your next ideas unless you’ve changed your mind.

You Weren’t Ambitious Enough

The Problem: You didn’t achieve your business goals because you weren’t ambitious enough. Hey, I get it, owning a business comes with lots of responsibilities. Though you devote your time, attention, and money to it, that’s not a guarantee of success.

So, maybe you didn’t play bigger because you were afraid of taking risks. Perhaps you were afraid of losing money, but more likely you were afraid of failing or finding out that no one wanted what you had or discovering that you couldn’t cut it.

Whatever the reason, playing it small practically guarantees that you’ll fall short of your goals time and again.

To be clear, I’m not talking about making slow, strategic progress. I’m talking about not showing up in a bigger way.

When you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, you grow professionally and personally. And you gain the confidence to continually take bigger risks.

The Solution: If this sounds like what you were struggling with last year, then I invite you to get uncomfortable. No, I don’t mean throwing caution to the wind or taking unrealistic chances with your money or your mind.

I mean, it’s time to practice taking smaller risks, to be bolder. For example, what if you were to double your revenue goal for this year? What if you tried that new strategy? Or spoke with 10 prospects every day instead of two?

Start thinking about what you can do today to turn up the dial in one area of your business. Then go for it! Small changes over time lead to big rewards.

Not only will it be a boost to your business, but also to your confidence.

Take New Action on Your Business Goals

Whatever held you back from achieving your business goals last year, it’s already done. You can’t go back and change it.

Your choices are to keep doing the same things, only to get the same results or you can do something different.

My advice is to keep moving forward by identifying the issues and correcting them one by one. That’s right. One at a time, not all at once.

Small, steady steps lead to success more quickly than you realize.

So, what new action will you take this year so you can achieve your business goals?

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