6 Dangerous Reasons People Do Not Set Goals and Never Succeed

by Travis Wright on May 23, 2023

By Joshua Uebergang

Goal setting is the framework for personal achievement. It is the backbone of becoming a person you desire to be. Setting and achieving personal goals will guarantee you success. Most people who do set goals have little to no understanding of goal setting and as a result fail to achieve them and never succeed. You would think that if goal setting was the ultimate skill and leadership trainingsecret to success that everyone would develop their own personal goals and learn to achieve them. Unfortunately, the world is not that perfect. There are six dangerous reasons people do not set and achieve their goals which act like a road block to their success.

There are several reasons why people do not set goals similarly to why people do not care about communicating effectively. I know with absolute certainty that everyone will experience a more successful and far enjoyable life if they learned to communicate effectively. Arguably the greatest modern day personal development Coach, Anthony Robbins said, “The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” Effective communication determines the quality of your life with others while self development determines the quality of your inner life.

The first reason I believe why people do not set goals is they do not see its importance.
Like people who do not develop their communication and other aspects of themselves, they do not see the importance of setting goals. I have met people who are unbelievably resistant to developing their communication. They have actually found it insulting to think they need to improve how they communicate! Every single person on the face of this Earth can always communicate more effectively and have their life improve as a result. Likewise, with goals there are people who do not see the importance of setting personal goals. Goal setting forms the foundations for personal achievement and it is of the utmost importance.

The second reason why people do not set goals is a fear of others caused from criticism.

People criticize because they see faults in others or are brainwashed by society and other beliefs into thinking greatness cannot be achieved. They criticize to hold people back from achieving goals. Average people do not want others to go beyond average. A person can fear setting goals because each time they have set goals in the past, others have criticized and shot down their dreams. Others impose their own self-limiting beliefs through criticism instilling fear within the person. Think of receiving criticism as a poisonous needle injected into your body. It slowly controls and destroys what you want. The destructive thought of fear controls the person from achieving anything remarkable. Put bluntly, screw what people think. Screw allowing people to destroy your life with their beliefs. Society is filled with endless garbage to prevent you from achieving your goals. If you want something, go and get it by setting and achieving personal goals.

The third reason why people do not set goals is a fear of failure.
They can think success is derived from not failing. The opposite is true. Success comes from failing a lot and failing fast. Famous inventor Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Being an inventor, Thomas understand failure was apart of success. Failure was the nuts and bolts that constructed his success. Understand that failure occurs and it shows you are taking action. Learn from failure and enjoy knowing you are moving towards your goals instead of fearing to set out after them in the first place.

The fourth reason why people do not set goals is a fear success.
People who fear success believe it is bad. The fear is common in wealth and wanting an attractive partner because negative results will occur. They believe wealth is evil or a certain type of partner is unfaithful. The fear prevents them achieving what they want by not laying the foundations of their desire with goal setting.

The fifth reason why people do not set goals is they do not know how.
This reason relates to fear of failure where the person has set goals in the past, but has not achieved them and becomes discouraged from the failure. These people become disheartened from the failure and think failure is imminent. They do not learn from past mistakes and move towards personal growth. The classic example of this is losing weight as a new year’s resolution. A mere temporary motivation inspires the person who is lucky to lose weight in January but no further progression towards achieving the goal occurs in later months. If you do not set and start working towards a goal now, what makes you think you will be able to achieve it as a new year’s resolution? There are techniques such as SMART goal setting which I have written about but are not covered in this article. Using SMART goals enables you to set and achieve goals then merely wishing a result based on temporary motivation too common around the new years period.

The sixth reason why people do not set goals is they lack the inner desire to want something greater then what they currently have.

For them, the ordinary or even sub-ordinary is sufficient. These people do not believe they can reach or deserve success because society has conditioned them into thinking they are ordinary people and therefore must do ordinary things. It can also be caused by failure, criticism, and other reasons as to why people do not set goals.

Did you find yourself relating to one of these six dangerous reasons people do not set goals and as a result never succeed? Do not fret too much because you are now more self-aware and able to doing something about. All that is required for you to do is learn how to set achievable goals. I personally advise people to follow the SMART goal setting technique because its congruency with successful goal setting is spot on. You set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible goals leading to your success. Master this skill and you will have the most powerful personal development technique in your grasp to achieve success.

♠ Joshua Uebergang has written a free guide for you on setting SMART achievable personal goals. Josh can teach you effective communication skills to improve your life from the loads of resources on personal development at his website. He has an inspiring communication skills newsletter you can try for free with a trial-subscription.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela May 23, 2023 at 3:48 am

I agree with the list. Most of them probably grew up with people who don’t motivate or even believe in them on thing they do. Those kinds of experience will surely degrade their self esteem and will lose the will to go on.

Andrew Kaplan May 23, 2023 at 7:21 am

I grew up around entrepreneurs both in corporate and in small business. The ones that succeeded had teams of positive people surrounding them to keep them on their visiion.

In areas, where either I failed or procrastinated, negative thoughts seeped in from friends, family mostly around the topics of money and reality (who are you to think you might be the next Bill Gates).

When you think of society telling people to complete college to become successful, then I think about Bob Pittman (MTV), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple) and my grandfather’s generation who came over to the United States with 2 nickels and built successful businesses.

Success comes from failure. Failure is a benchmark of moving toward success. Success is not always about the money or prestige, it mostly can be about following your dream or your passion and fully being engaged in your life.

I recently took a minimum wage job and yes there was some fear about not having enough money I was following a goal to move back toward the entertainment industry as a producer/agent type role. Turned out this minimum wage job, will turn into a role on screen in this holiday season in a George Clooney fiilm called http://www.leatherheads.com Not only did I have 3 roles in the movie, I had the opportunity to observe and work with some of the top talent in the film industry and was able to share my ideas with them.

This was one step in a goal I set two years ago. Becoming a top blogger was another. Turned out the largest fan blog for George Clooney is now linked to my blog.

mamelouk May 23, 2023 at 9:39 am

How about another one :

The seventh reason why people do not set goals is they don’t find any goal that suits them. (ie. they are still searching themselves)

Charlie May 23, 2023 at 10:01 pm

Great list. Some people are just ignorant about the matter. Some are just afraid to do the same thing based on experience, especially if it didn’t turn out fine. We can’t blame them for their bad experiences, but we can surely motivate them into doing it.

Matthew May 29, 2023 at 5:39 am

What a great post!

It’s funny how all those reasons can have simple fixes… yet so many people don’t bother with them.

BTW Andrew, I agree with everything you said in your comment. The people areound you have a huge impact on where you go in life. I think that when it comes to actually achieving your goals… surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the best ways you can guarantee your success.


Aaron Kassover June 8, 2023 at 9:00 pm

Definitely a great post. I think you’ve summed up the biggest reasons why people don’t set goals. We asked a group of leadership development experts to give us their thoughts on how to set better goals. Thought you might find it interesting…

Janie Lee, M.Ed. April 7, 2023 at 9:16 am

Setting goals is dumb! Everyone sets goals, and everyone reaches their own goals every day! Setting goals is a false sense of importance and saying that you don’t live in a constantly changing world! Corrie Tenboom said something about the tree that won’t bend won’t be able to stand when the storms come. You see life is like that too, you can have dreams, you can have goals and you should make them for yourself, and they should be what you really want, not what others want for you or what you think is possible or what others think is possible for you! As soon as you go to bed at night you make a goal to get up the next day! Some do, unfortunately some don’t! So that is kind of like setting goals you make them, you try to figure out how to make them happen, and if they don’t you bend with it and redirect you make a different goal. Everyone does it if they plan to do it or not. However, what I have found is that so many plans change or are changed over time because of situations and circumstances outside of ones self that the best you can do is be temperate and bend like those trees, or you just might not be able to live in the world that we live in today. Ask those that had to recently get the bailouts, they planned, they had strict goals they stuck to, they wouldn’t bend, now look what our world is like? I love it because so many things in our world have recently changed and the fact is that change happens, and not having goals doesn’t make one lazy, it makes one that has so many goals, rules, guidelines, policies, and are strict on them out of context to the world that we live in. So if you want to think for long maybe you can try to figure out where this theory of mine fits in with your goal of the story here? Just my two cents!

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