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11 Reasons You Don’t Have Goals

“Yay! Another article on goals!”

Hear me out.

Most likely, this is you:  you don’t have any goals--not in any structured kind of way.  They’re not clear and specific, and you have no real plan to achieve them.

You have a loose collection of wishes.

These aren’t goals.

Is this you?  Probably, because it’s most people.  You’re not alone.

Why don’t you have any goals, and never get beyond this “loose collection of wishes” stage?

Here are 11 reasons that you don’t have goals--pick one.

REASON #1:  You’re protecting yourself from disappointment

You’ve figured out that if you don’t try, then you won’t be disappointed if you don’t reach your goal.  Low expectations have this advantage. While “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is true, so also is “low expectations, low disappointment”.

REASON #2:  You don’t believe goals “work”

You’ve “tried” having goals before--”they don’t work”, you say.

In my experience, they work perfectly, but it’s the person trying to use them who

  • doesn’t understand the process, or
  • cheats and doesn’t really implement the process, looking for shortcuts.

Similar to the non-techie person who says “computers don’t work”, or “that Excel program you love doesn’t work--I tried it.”

Hmm ok.

REASON #3:  You don’t want to work that hard

Some people, quite simply, don’t want to put in the effort to move themselves, or a part of their lives, in a better direction.

 And guess what the result always is?

REASON #4:  You think you have a better strategy--flying by the seat of your pants

“Ah, I don’t need goals--I’ll figure it out as I go”.

I’m glad my surgeon doesn’t work that way.

REASON #5:  You’re getting your “zen” on (“Whatever comes my way is just fine. I will accept it and not try to change it in any way whatsoever.”)

If this is what works for you, then please keep doing it. 

The problem is, though, that many who think it works often complain about their lives not going anywhere.

REASON #6:  You’re a pessimist

“Life never works out”

This is a tough spot to be in.  If this is you, I do feel compassion for you.  This pessimism can be partnered with depression, or at the very least, discouragement.

Having clear goals and a smart plan are often the first steps in a much healthier direction.

REASON #7:  You’re a fatalist

“Whatever is supposed to happen is going to happen, regardless of what I do or don’t do.”

This is similar to pessimism--a fatalist is often a pessimist who has embraced a larger life philosophy.

But fatalism leads people to live an unnecessarily “smaller” life, not venturing too far from their “centerpoint”, not taking too many risks, not trying new things nor expecting much . . .

. . . which very often leads to chronic mild depression, or worse.

REASON #8:  You don’t like to think that far ahead, and prefer to live in the “now”

Living in the “now” is a great trait.  In reality, we only CAN live in the now.

However, if all you ever see and all you’re ever aware of is "the now", and you're not aware of your fuller story, which includes a past and a future, you’re handicapping yourself.


Preparing for a “future now” is often the smartest thing you can do.

REASON #9:  You mistakenly confuse your wishes for goals. (“What? They’re not the same??”)

I had to throw this one in, since it’s one of my favorite distinctions.  Those of you who follow me closely hear me say this often.

I’m “borrowing” this from business guru Brian Tracy.  Never a truer word has been spoken:  most people only have wishes, not goals.

They’re as different as night and day.

REASON #10:  Your confidence is outrunning your results: "I don't need to set goals--I get awesome results without them (when in reality you don't at all)"

If this is you, then you need a reality check.  Take a look at your last year, or your current year thus far (depending on when you’re reading this).

Are you getting “awesome results”, as you say?  How are you measuring these results?  Are they even measureable?

Goals give measurable results.  If they don’t, your process is breaking down somewhere and needs to be fixed.

And of course, my question is:  assuming you did get great results, could they have been even greater by using some strong goal-setting, and developing high-impact targets for yourself?

REASON #11:  You really DO have an alternate strategy that works better than setting goals

If you genuinely do have a better strategy than a process of robust goal creation, goal planning, and goal achievement--no foolin’--then for heaven’s sake keep doing it and completely ignore this article!

I’m happy for you, that you’ve figured out what works for you.

If this isn’t you, start where you are today, and begin getting your goals charged up now. 

Consider this:  What do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days?

No more excuses.  Very often, the only thing slowing you down is YOU.  No, I don't presume to know your situation, but this is typically the case with the average person.

I’d be honored to assist and coach you through this.  Let’s begin with a free goals consult, where you and I can have an in-depth conversation to get you moving in the right direction.

If interested, sign up here.

And as always, I wish you much success my friend.


I’m Sean Cox,

I write these articles to provoke you to look at your life–to consider where you currently are and where you could be in the future. I want you to break free from the status quo, pursue your potential, and become a razor-sharp asset.