Why Don’t Some Strategies Work?

Sometimes even with a clear goal, a plan to get there, and has taken action on it, and even after years of pushing for it, still something goes wrong or somewhere in the process, it’s just failed to work out as planned.

Maybe there are progress made, but perhaps it wasn’t enough to justify the effort. Meanwhile, it seems like so many other people are able to achieve similar goals much more quickly. This can be frustrating.

What is it that causes failure in executing a planned goal?
Young_Woman_ThinkingHere is a common goal achievement strategy:

  1. Define an outcome.
  2. Make a plan to get there.
  3. Take lots of action.
  4. Refine approach as needed.
  5. Persist until you succeed.

This method is very helpful in executing a planned goal. This will indeed work for certain types of goals. However, for other goals, it will actually cause someone to run in circles.

This above method tends to work okay for goals that do not require much inner change. One’s current thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors are well aligned with one’s outcomes. Someone does not have to change on the inside. One has only to take certain basic actions that he is already comfortable with, and he will get there.

For example, setting a goal to organize one’s home office, and he is already a fairly neat person, and knows how to organize, and likes the feeling of having everything in its proper place, then he can use this process to achieve that goal.

Each one can imagine his home office the way he would like it to be. Then make a to-do list of the action steps to get there. Then set aside a weekend to make it so, and go through the steps one by one until it is done. If something unexpected happens, one can adjust the plan on the fly.

On the other hand, suppose someone set that same goal to organize his home office, but his thoughts, beliefs, and feelings aren’t aligned very well. Maybe he’s not particularly happy with the work he does, and having a cluttered office makes it easier to distract him from depressing thoughts and feelings. Maybe he worries about having more responsibility. Maybe he fears that his life lacks variety. Maybe he’s been eating a crappy diet, and it’s bringing down his energy levels, making it hard to feel motivated to de-clutter his office. Maybe he is a habitual pack rat and has a hard time throwing things away, even if he has not used them in years.

For this second person, the goal achievement process previously described usually won’t work. It may look good on paper, but it can actually have an adverse effect, causing him to run in circles. This doesn’t mean that he is broken, lazy, or impotent. It means he is using the wrong process for his particular goal. If this process isn’t working, stop using it. A good process produces good results. At the end of the day, it is still best to choose the method or process that works for you.