Reasons why people do not set goals

Road to nowhere

To live a goal-less life is to roam aimlessly in the earth. As important and biblical as goal setting is, still millions of people and believers have not realized the virtues and values of it and consequently never apply themselves to this powerful secret to success. I am going to list a few reasons why people do not set goals.

Because goal setting is deemed as unspiritual

Many Christians do not set goals because somehow they deem that goal setting as 'unspiritual.' Especially in the Charismatic and Pentecostal circles, we feel that it is irrelevant to our lives. Our escape out of setting goals is saying, 'I am led by the Spirit' or 'I am waiting on God', While I totally believe in the leading of the Spirit, most believers have cognitive dissonance when it comes to goal setting. What is cognitive dissonance? It is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. It is a mental clash of old programming with new software. In other words, the car is still in reverse and yet you want to go forward. It will never happen. For whatever reason (and a complete lack of teaching) the church has earmarked goal setting as the work of the flesh and worldly: it is viewed as relying upon the flesh rather than God. Yet the Apostle Paul, who taught us about the leading of the Spirit was a goal-oriented person. 

Paul planted many churches, wrote two thirds of the New Testament, went on three missionary journeys covering thousands of miles without modern transportation and led thousands to Jesus. How did he and other biblical characters accomplish so much in their lives and walk with God? They set goals. Goal setting is very spiritual. Paul said to the Philippian saints, 'I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.'(Philippians 3:14). In fact I like how many of the modern translations render this verse:

'I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus.' – Holman Christian Standard Bible

'I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus.' – International Standard Version

'With this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.' – New English Translation 

'And I run toward the goal to take the victory of the calling of God from on high in Yeshua The Messiah.' – Aramaic Bible in Plain English

'I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.' – GOD'S WORD® Translation

While the King James employs the usage of mark, the newer translations employ the word goal.  The Greek word for mark is the word skopos where we derive our English word scope. The Strong's Concordance pictures a sentry stationed to keep guard of a place looking through a scope intently at a target in the distance.  

The problem for many believers is that they think there is a discrepancy between goal setting and the will of God. It is viewed as somehow negating or aborting the will of God. In contrast the Bible shows us that it will take goal setting to fulfill the will of God. Nehemiah, knowing the will of God, had a specific goal and a specific time frame to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He did it in 52 days. The will of God was revealed to David that the temple of God needed to be built. However it would be Solomon whom God said would build the temple as David had blood on his hands.

With a clear cut goal, it took Solomon seven years to finish the temple of God. Goal setting causes you to be a planner and focused. God himself is a planner and goal oriented. See what Paul says to the Ephesians:'He (God) planned to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ would be the head of everything in heaven and on earth.'  GOD'S WORD® Translation. Therefore I need you to understand that there is unity between the will of God, spirituality and goal setting. Let us allow Paul to have the final word on this matter:

I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.  

1 Corinthians 9:26 – New Century Version


Because of their upbringing

Many people grew up in a household where goal setting was not a priority. They grew up with goal deficient parents. For some parents, sending their children to school was not for the betterment of the child but rather to get them out of the house and out of their hair for seven hours. Many children grew up with parents that were not driven for success but lived mediocre lives. Many grew up with parents that never read books, but watched television all day long. Achievement and the art of goal setting were nowhere near their vicinity. If a child grows up in that environment, it is only logical that goal setting is not a must in his life. Fortunately, I grew up in a home where my parents were driven to succeed in life irrespective of their education levels. I was also blessed to go to a Christian school that taught us to set goals for the day's work and study.

Because they don't know how to set goals. 

In a way this is somewhat of a plausible excuse for many. How can you do something if you do not know how to do it?  Many did not go to schools where goal setting was a subject taught in class. You can go through your primary, secondary, high school and college without ever being taught about how to have and set goals. Yet if you were to ask any great achiever in life what their main key to success was, you will hear 'setting goals'. Ignorance of goal setting has caused some people to set too big of a goal and later became discouraged. 

Because of fear of failure due to past experience.

A bad experience or seeing someone else who failed in their goal setting endeavor has put a damper on many. To fail at something or to see someone close to you fail can leave an indelible mark on a person. When someone has a failure in their life it can leave a mark, spiritually, psychologically, physically and socially. The reason this is so is because people take failure personally, as a form of rejection and as an end.

People do not understand that there is a difference between failure and an ailment: a failure is something that happens to you from the outside; an ailment is something that occurs from the inside.  Failure is not a final foe but the voice of correction. Failures will be part of the journey, so don't take failure personally. It means you have hit a learning curve. Remember Thomas Edison,  the inventor of the light bulb, had done over 10,000 experiments before he got it right. Failure gave him the experience as to what worked and what did not work. Failure is an event, not a person. It is a phase you are going through but not who you are. Success means you have mastered the learning curve. The moment you start looking at failure from a point of education rather than rejection you will begin to thrive on it. Most people see failure as rejection of themselves. Every highly successful person and achiever has all tasted failure but they still came out on top because they just did not take it personally: they just took it as a learning curve. 

Because of the fear of criticism and ridicule

This can swing in two ways. Some people feel if they set a goal and do not achieve it other people will criticize them or ridicule them. Others are afraid that once they start with a goal, people will criticize and mock them. When Joseph announced his dream, his brothers grew angry with him and eventually sold him in slavery to get rid of him. While Jacob, his father was attentive to his dream and gave him a coat of many colors, his brothers were plotting his death. While Potiphar exalted him, Potiphar's wife was plotting his demise. The life of Joseph teaches us that you  do not share your dreams and goals with everyone and anyone. Never reveal your goals to naysayers and negative people but only to those who will celebrate and assist you in your endeavors. Better still let people know by your results, your achievements and accomplishments. Equally important is never be afraid of other people's criticism. People criticize because they have limited understanding. Don't let other people's ridicule stop you. Simply set your goals and run hard after your goals. You cannot let the voice of other people determine the direction of your life.

Because they are satisfied with the status quo

Another reason people do not set goals is because they are OK with the here-and-now; they are satisfied to be in their comfort zone, with what they have and where they are in life and do not want to push for greatness. Achievement and greatness will force you out of the status quo. Nothing will ever change without you getting mad at your present situation. As long as you can put up with it you will stay in it. Goal setting will demand that you get out of your comfort zone. Research has shown us that there are only two motivating factors that cause people to change: pain and pleasure. As long as people are satisfied with the status quo, they will not explore what else is available or what greater things they could achieve. Status quo mindset is limitation  and backward thinking: it is cementing your life and mindset in the past.

Because they are not ambitious enough, not driven enough nor hungry enough

This is a fact: some people do not set goals because they are just not driven enough or ambitious enough.  They lack the inner desire to do or want something greater than what they currently have. I have discovered that some people are happy with the ordinary. Are you hungry for success? When Mike Tyson was hungry, ambitious and driven he was successful. He became the heavyweight champion of the world but when comfort and money set in, he lost his hunger and drive for success. You have got to be hungry, driven and ambitious. Those who are hungry will stop at nothing until their goal is fulfilled. They are like a hungry lion in search of a prey and won't back down until their hunger is satisfied.

Do you still possess a 'Yes I can' mentality?

Are you hungry for impact upon the earth? Are you hungry enough to reinvent yourself,  grow and break out beyond your present life?

Are you hungry and driven enough not to allow pessimism, obstacles, denials and delays to stop your forward movement? 

Those who are hungry and driven will stop at nothing to fulfill their life's destiny.



Receive special offers and encouraging words in your inbox!

Email address is not valid

Please provide your first name

We don't share your information with anyone