How To Goal Set and Not Set Yourself Up For Failure

How To Goal Set and Not Set Yourself Up For Failure

How To Goal Set and Not Set Yourself Up For Failure

When the request for this article came in from a client of mine, I was really excited as it meant I got to talk about something other than calories in vs. calories out and weight loss.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love talking about weight loss, as I know it has helped countless readers in their journey to lose weight. However, I also know my wife will be happy to finally see a new topic of conversation in my blog (as I am forever bugging her to proof read my articles).


This client wanted me to talk to a certain aspect of goal setting and that revolved around how to set goals when the result that you are looking for is a big and audacious goal that could take you 6 months, 5 years or even 10 years to achieve. That all said, I think this article will apply to anyone looking to set goals, no matter how big or small they may be.
If this client, or anyone for that matter, had come to me a year ago and asked this question of me, I would have given them the same type of advice that most goal setting articles talk about.

  1. I would have pushed the idea of working out what you wanted your outcome to be and working backwards from there.
  2. I would have then gone on to suggest that you should set yourself small and achievable goals along the way, that will help you get to your end point, while rewarding you along the way for the work that you had put in.
  3. Finally, I would have given some sort of rousing inspirational talk that would have had me say you need to have patience, you need to work hard and in the end you will get there, just keep going.

I would have given all this advice (with the best of intentions of course) knowing full well that most people set themselves goals that they will never reach. It is my belief that most people make a few vital flaws from the outset that have them doomed to fail from the beginning.

… I even wrote a blog just over a year ago, on the 30th of December 2015, telling people “How To Keep Your New Years Resolutions in 2016”. I look back at that article now, and wonder just how many people started their new years resolution reading that article and then failed due to my poor advice.

If you were one of them, I am sorry and I hope this article sets you up on a path of success this time around, in whatever you are looking to achieve in life.


My advice today revolves around two core principals, Self-Awareness and Process.



I don’t know how to teach self-awareness or even if you can, but I think this video here is a great way to begin to understand, not only how to get to a place where you become more self-aware, but also to begin to realise just how important this one factor is.
Far too many people are obsessed with being “the romantic version of who they think they are vs. who they actually are”.
This thought process has made so many of us set goals that we believe we should be aiming for based on outside influences, rather than going after the dreams and aspirations we actually want.

I have been guilty of this for a long time, thinking the million dollar company, big house and white picket fence, with the luxury car out front is what I wanted. This idea had been drilled into me for so many years by social media, my want to “keep up with the Jones’s” and wanting to impress friends with my nice new toys. When I then became a father for the first time in 2016, it became much more apparent to me how misguided my wants had been. Quickly, it became evident to me that all I wanted to do was spend as much time with my new family as I could and share experiences with them not possessions. My blog post “Thirty, Fit and Throwing It All Away” explains that entire story in much more detail, however, it is fair to say that after making that mental shift in my thinking, I have never been happier and in just a few short months I will be living out my dream and packing it all in to move to France.

My advice to you is this; firstly please have this honest conversation with yourself or with someone that you can completely trust. Many loved ones in our lives believe that they are doing us a favour by not telling us the truth, for fear of hurting our feelings or avoiding the awkwardness of telling us bluntly what they actually think. We’ve all been there, for example, you could have always wanted to quit your boring desk job and travel the world to start a travel blog but society says you need to stay in that job to make money and live a responsible life.

But honesty is what you truly need, anything else does nothing to help us reach for the goals we actually dream of. So what do you really, truly want?



The second part to my advice revolves around the process we must go through to reach any goal. I feel that we should shift our mindset to focus on the process rather than the outcome. Think about these next scenarios and ask yourself who is most likely to succeed in reaching their goals given enough time.

Both Susie and Julie look to achieve similar goals listed below, however, it is Julie that focuses on measuring the process rather than the outcome.

  1. Susie would look to lose weight, while Julie would look to do 20mins of exercise every day no matter what.
  2. Susie wishes to write a book while Julie would focus on writing 500 words each day before going to bed
  3. Susie wants to run a marathon while Julie looks to run 4 days a week.

You can see the very subtle change that these two women have in their approach, (its important to note that they both may still fail in their endeavors) however, the outcome is most likely going to be much more favourable in Julies scenario due to her focus on the process rather than the outcome.

In addition, and this may seem very obvious, you need to love the process or it is never going to happen.
If you told me that the only way I could get fit was by doing sweat inducing, tear dropping HIIT style training, then I would most likely fail because I would surely quit.

WHY? Because I hate this type of training!

I would much rather go and lift heavy weights at the gym and enjoy a nice leisurely run on the weekend.

You need to find a process that you can enjoy no mater what goal you are trying to achieve.

  • If you want to lose weight and love sugar, don’t choose Sarah Wilson’s approach to a healthier life by quitting sugar.
  • If you want to get stronger and change your body shape and hate the gym, then don’t go and join a cross-fit gym.


I am not saying that you have to absolutely LOVE the process, however, I am sure if you think long and hard enough you can find something that you enjoy more than other approaches when looking to achieve the goal you are after.

If you take anything away from this article I want it to be this…..

If you have a goal or a dream in life that you truly want, then don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way of achieving it. Even if you fail in your endeavor I can assure you that you will be glad you at least gave it a shot.
I am empathetic to the idea that we have obstacles in our way that may hold us back from taking that leap of faith, however, think about this.
Do you want to look back on life and WISH you had done more or would you rather look back on life and say WOW I cannot believe I tried all that!


Have a wonderful day!

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