It’s mid-October already. Can you believe it, only 2-1/2 months until the New Year? As you reflect back to January, what has changed? You wanted change, you wanted results, you had the best intentions, but nothing happened. We all know the definition of insanity . . . doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The truth is, if nothing changes, nothing changes. Old habits and old beliefs die hard. Many people claim to understand the importance of goal setting in order to live a better life but approximately 80 percent of people never set goals. Of the 20 percent who actually do set goals to reach new levels of personal and professional success, roughly 70 percent fail to achieve their goals due to a number of factors, including lack of specificity (specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, “SMART” goal method), lack of commitment, inactivity, or perhaps having too many goals. But even if these things are in perfect order, many miss the mark because of other factors not often considered.

1) A change in attitude, paradigm or underlying belief. To bring about something new on the outside, like a new outcome, often requires something new on the inside. Believing in yourself is a choice, an attitude you develop over time. We need to take charge of our own self-concept and beliefs. An underlying belief is like the pesky weed which, until pulled out from its root, continues to air its ugly head. Our weed is our limiting belief: we believe we are someone we are not, not good enough, not smart enough, too young/too old or some such disempowering label. Until that limiting belief is discovered and removed, we may be held back from achieving our goals.

2) Fear of success and/or failure. Some people are afraid they will fail, but even worse, that they may actually succeed and, as a result, they never take the first step toward achieving their goals. They lack belief in themselves and in their potential. If they fail, they anticipate people labeling them a failure, a loser. If they succeed, they think people may be envious and treat them differently, perhaps negatively. They may even believe they’re unworthy of attaining the goal and, as such, sabotage themselves.

3) In conflict with core values and/or life purpose. Core values and life purpose serve as a compass pointing out what it means to be true to oneself. Being in conflict with our core values can produce distress, frustration and be unsettling. To be “on purpose,” means you are doing what you love to do, are good at, and accomplishing what is important to you. You are making a difference in the world. To find success, joy and fulfillment, goals should be aligned with your core values and life purpose.

The most successful people take 100% responsibility for their lives including their achievements, the results they produce, the quality of their relationships, their health and well-being, their income, essentially everything. They write goals, goals to move them from where they are to where they want to be in life. When stuck, they look at what factors could be causing the problem rather than attach disempowering and judgmental labels to themselves: ‘I am a loser, I am a failure, or I can’t achieve anything.’ While the problem could be lack of specificity or commitment, inactivity, or having too many goals, it could also relate to the three factors mentioned above. It is important to do the internal work to ensure success. If you just can’t figure out where to start because you don’t know what the underlying belief is, you can’t imagine you could have fear of success or failure, and/or perhaps you have never taken the time to identify what your core values and purpose are, consider working with a professional coach who is well trained in these areas. A coach helps you see things you cannot see for yourself, uncovers limiting beliefs that may be holding you back, helps you identify and prioritize your core values, discover your life purpose, and helps you become your personal and professional best. The coach-client relationship is highly confidential, tremendously supportive, totally focused on the client’s needs and all done in a convenient setting, usually by phone. Do not give up on your dreams and aspirations. Congratulate yourself for being one of the few who actually writes down your goals. When stuck, don’t beat yourself up and give yourself all kinds of disempowering messages. Consider the factors mentioned above that may be getting in your way, get the support you need and take action. Remember, success comes to those who take 100% responsibility for their lives and the results they produce.