Why Most Don’t Achieve Their Goals

I love setting goals. In high school I stumbled across Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and I was hooked instantly. I have used his seven habits to different degrees for the past 15 years and I have found tremendous value using them.

But I struggled for a while to reach my goals.

I would put a lot of time into thinking through SMART goals but I was missing an important step before setting my goals and that was starting with my vision.

Starting with Vision

In my previous posts I wrote about defining what success looks like for you, understanding what happiness is for you, and answering three questions that leads to your why. All three of these post deal with creating vision for yourself, your family and your money.

Before we move into setting goals for our family and our money we have to understand the difference between goals and vision and make sure that we have a clear vision.


Goals are the specific steps that you will take to achieve your vision. They will be more tactical in nature (they will change frequently). The specific goals that you set will flow from your vision. We will go deeper into setting goals in the next few post but I want to make sure that we distinguish them from vision in this post.

Examples of goals are:

·         Lose 15 pounds

·         Pay down credit card debt

·         Save for college

·         Start my own business


Vision is the end that you want. Vision will flow from your ideals. The best way I have found to formulate my vision is to take a step back and think about the life I want to live if I had no constraints. If I could work anywhere, if I could live anywhere, if I had complete control over my time, what would I do? What would my day look like? What would my house look like? What would my family look like?

A vision for the goals above could look like:

·         Live an active and healthy lifestyle

·         Live debt free

·         Create a better future for my children

·         Have control over my time and my earning potential

So take a moment to consider those three critical questions and then take a moment to sketch a vision for:

·         Your Personal life: What type of a person do you want to be?

·         Your Family: How do you envision your family (location, activities, house, rituals, etc)?

·         Your Career: What is you ideal job? Ideal hours? Ideal location?