Last Updated on May 5, 2021

Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why

Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why

Goals are something we all have, but only a select few seem good at consistently achieving them. Most people seem to have a great deal of trouble reaching goals, even when they start the journey feeling excited and motivated. 

If you’re able to push through to the end to reach your big and small goals, it’s time to change up your strategy. Below, we’ll discuss some little-known wisdom about goal setting and goal achievement to get you back on track and accomplish any goal on your list.

How Goal Setting Impacts Our Lives

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” –Zig Ziglar

Goal setting is linked to higher achievement.[1]

This is due to several factors, including the ability of goal setting to help us:

  • Become more resourceful
  • Work better in a team
  • Shape the future

Having definite goals means the difference between knowing your destination or just drifting aimlessly over the sea.

In my experience, I’ve seen a clear pattern: People who regularly set goals regularly achieve success. I believe their mindset plays a big part in this. In most cases, this is usually energized by change and innovation, as well as being comfortable with risk-taking while reaching goals. 

Just think for a moment about some successful people, such as Kamala Harris, Roger Federer, and Oprah Winfrey. These high-achievers all used goal-setting to help them realize their dreams.


One of the best ways to set goals is to always write them down — either in your journal, on a card that you can keep in your wallet or purse, or within a digital notepad. When you do this, you immediately transform your ideas from just being wishful thinking into concrete first steps.

The effectiveness of writing down goals is actually backed by research. In 2015, psychologist Gail Matthews showed that people who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them, versus those who just kept ideas in their heads.[2]

What Defines Us?

What exactly defines who you are, and how do your goals fit into this picture?

To help you answer these questions and start reaching goals, it’s important to have a basic understanding of values. 

To start, goals should be based on your core principles and values. For example, if you care deeply about the planet, then your goals should be aligned to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices.

Values are your own personal ethical and moral beliefs. However, be aware that some of these beliefs may change over time, while others will stay steadfast throughout your life.

Values represent what we stand for and believe in, how we want to relate to others, and the legacy we would like to leave behind. This means that they should be one of the first sources of reference for the goals that we set.

Values-based goals guide us towards what is important versus unimportant. In other words, when our goals are aligned with our values, we can immediately decide which really matter. Goals that are based in our values will provide endless motivation, because we believe in them and want to see them play out.


When your goals match your beliefs and values, you’ll find it much easier (and much more enjoyable) to attain them. In fact, in most cases, you won’t even feel like you have to work towards these goals—they’ll just be part of what you love doing.

Why We Sometimes Fail

Let’s now talk about why you might not be currently reaching goals on your list and some of the best ways to change this.

Goals and Values Don’t Align

First, if your goals don’t honor your values, then this will make it much harder for you to achieve them. This might happen if you’re pursuing goals on behalf of someone else, such as a teacher, parent, or partner. Or perhaps it’s a goal that society deems worthwhile and noble, but one that you personally disagree with.

Wants Vs. Needs

Another issue that might be causing you to fail to reach your goals is that you’re more interested in your wants than your needs. For instance, you want to save up to buy a shiny, new sports car, but you also need to pay off your student loans. 

Things we want usually trump what we need, and this can play havoc with your goal setting. To remedy this, spend time observing yourself and your life to clearly identify your needs. Then, prioritize these over your wants.

Unrealistic Goals

Think about the size of your goals. If they’re too big, then it may be difficult, or even impossible, to start reaching goals consistently. Ambition is good, but at the same time, you shouldn’t set unrealistic goals. 

For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, you can’t just write a book and submit it — there needs to be lots of mini goals that get checked off before that, such as honing your writing, researching how to get published, outlining your story, contacting publishers, etc.

If your goals are unrealistic, it can push you to procrastinate on them. If you find procrastination is already plaguing your plans, check out Lifehack’s Fast Track Class – No More Procrastination.


Poor Time Management

If your time is not well-organized, then it will be next to impossible to reach your big goals.

If you don’t think time management is an issue for you, then let me ask you this: How much time do you spend each day on social media? If it’s more than you’d like, then you’ll need to make some changes to your daily routine if you’re serious about ramping up your success.

The following article is a great place to start: 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

How to Visualize Your Goals

An article about visualization on HuffPost states the following:[3]

“When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to ‘see’ the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is, in the words of one writer, our ‘preferred future.’ When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal.”

While I agree 100% with the above, I want to make it clear to you that visualization should not be confused with the “think it and have it” mentality. This is just wishful thinking and won’t help you on your path to reaching goals. 

Genuine visualization recognizes the need for action on your part. However,, it’s certainly true that before you can believe in a goal, you must see it before you can believe in it.

To give you an example of this, think about the last time you had a craving for a hot apple pie with custard or a delicious ice cream waffle. When the craving came, you didn’t only recall the taste and texture of the food, but you would have also seen a vivid image of the food in your mind.


In other words, before you could choose, find, and eat the food, you would have had to see it first on your mind’s screen.

Vision Goal Setting

When it comes to bigger goals, I recommend following a technique called Vision Goal Setting (VGS for short). The way this works is that you search for a dream based on your passions and inspirations

Once you’ve decided on the dream or goal you want to follow, you build a crystal clear vision of where and what you would be doing in 5, 10, 15, and even 20 years into the future.

By spending time creating these images, you’ll give yourself deliberate steps to take towards achieving your ultimate career goal. VGS will increase your motivation and commitment to your goal, as well as streamline the necessary planning, preparation, and action. 

The Bottom Line

If you find that you have trouble reaching goals and staying motivated, the above suggestions can help. When it comes down to it, it’s about creating a goal you care about and laying out a plan to get it done.

Start with just one of the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to making goal setting and goal achievement a natural part of your life. Start with just one of the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to making goal setting and goal achievement a natural part of your life. Set your sights on short term and long term personal goals, and get started with an action plan today.

More on Reaching Goals

Featured photo credit: Marten Bjork via


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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 14, 2022

7 Best Goal Planners To Get in 2022

7 Best Goal Planners To Get in 2022

A few of the many obstacles to setting goals is that you either forget your goals entirely or you put them off for so long. One of the most effective tools in handling this problem is through having goal planners.

Goal planners are a way to put your goals to paper and allow you to focus on that goal. These are great tools to be implementing new habits and boosting your overall productivity.

With so many of these goal planners available, our editors picked out a small sample of some of the best goal planners that you can get to achieve what you want in 2022!

Best Goal Planners Criteria

Through our research, all the best goal planners that we picked out meet the following criteria:

  • Undated – A big issue with some planners is that they have days and years written in them. This is problematic especially when starting out goal setting. Undated versions allow you to start, stop, and take breaks without feeling like you’re wasting paper.
  • Science based – Either in their methods or in the activities these planners get you to do, these goal planners are smartly structured to help you get the most out of your day.
  • Simple, clean and organized – All of these planners are clean and organized to the point that these planners can serve as an extension of your brain. They’re able to easily organize jumbled thoughts and help you plot out your goals.

1. Full Life Planner


    Lifehack’s Full Life Planner is a planner system built around the Full Life Framework. It’s a planner that helps you to organize every aspect of your life. The Framework has been going strong for 15 years and provides some of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas.


    Get your Full Life Planner here, or try the digital version here.

    2. Panda Planner

      The Panda Planner has been highly reviewed as another one of the best goal planners to get. On top of it providing sections for monthly, weekly, and daily planning, it offers free videos as well as e-books to show you all kinds of strategies to help in all kinds of aspects of your life.

      You can get the Panda Planner here.

      3. Law of Attraction Planner

        This is the planner for people that want to manifest something new or exciting in their lives. It helps you to set goals through prompts, to-do lists, and goal-setting tools to establish habits. On the manifestation front, it provides sections for you to show gratitude, allowing you to be thankful for what you do have and are working towards. The planner also comes with a video to help establish a 10-minute morning routine and various stickers to make your planner more unique.


        Purchase the Law of Attraction Planner here.

        4. Little More Daily Organizer

          While it only has 328 undated pages, it offers a great focus on monthly and daily goal setting. It’s ideal if your goals and habits that you’re invested in and really want them to be sticking. How it’s able to do that is through its flexible design and also providing space for you to outline actions steps, reflect on processes, and prioritize multiple goals.

          Grab your Little More Daily Organizer here.

          5. Erin Condren Petite Planner

            Only 80 pages long, it’s efficient with its space as its packed with all kinds of features for setting goals and stick to your plans. You’re able to describe your goal, outline a “why”, and put together an action plan. The other page is a way for you to chunk large goals and put them into more manageable tasks. All around it’s a fantastic planner.


            Try the Erin Condren Petite Planner here.

            6. The 100-Day Goal Journal

              If setting goals for a year seems daunting, another one of the best goal planners that’s short is the 100-day goal journal. It has monthly spreads, daily reflection pages where you’re able to practice gratitude and check overarching goals. It even has space for you to reflect on current challenges and offer solutions to your problems.

              Take a look at the 100-Day Goal Journal here.

              7. SELF Journal


                The final of the best goal planners we have to offer is SELF journal. It offers daily gratitude acknowledgement, sections to track goals on a weekly basis and also has inspirational quotes to provide that extra push of motivation. It’s only got enough pages for 13 weeks, but it’s ideal if you set a lot of shorter-term goals and want those small habits to stick.


                Check out the SELF Journal here.

                Final Thoughts

                All of our goals are achievable with the proper mindset and a system to support it. Planners have been able to precisely assist those who struggle with getting started and need help in organizing their thoughts and putting it to paper.

                For those who want to stick to habits, try out one of these planners to help you with that process.

                Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via

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