Are Your Goals Getting in the Way of Your Success?

Hmm, interesting thought.  Is it possible that the goals you have set for yourself are actually getting in the way of your own success?  If you have more than one goal that you are working on achieving at the same time, the answer could be yes. Having multiple goals could result in contradictory challenges in order to achieve those goals.  When you attempt to have it all at the same time, sometimes you get none of it. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear idea of what your goals are and what the extenuating consequences (both positive and negative) might be of reaching that goal.

Most people don’t set goals at all.  And those that do, generally put as much thought into their goals as they would into what to watch on TV.  That might be fine if they have a singular goal and every decision they make is based on whether or not that decision will move them closer or further away from achieving that goal.  Usually, though, if you have a singular goal in mind and you haven’t taken the time to work through the entire goal setting process, you also aren’t making every decision that leads you to your success.

If you are reading this, though, odds are you have multiple goals.  You probably have goals for your business or professional life, your family, your finances, health and fitness and community, just to name a few. Let’s look at some typical examples in each of these areas:

  • Business – Make X amount of money.
  • Family – Spend more time with children and spouse.
  • Finances – Pay off debt.
  • Health/Fitness – Lose x lbs.
  • Community – Volunteer at least x hours per month.

On the surface, these all look like great goals.  The challenge comes in when you start to outline the action steps involved in reaching success in each of these goals. Here’s a great example.  Let’s imagine your fitness goals consist of losing weight AND getting stronger/more toned.  When you understand the mechanics of the human body, you know that, in order to get stronger, you have to feed it more of the right kind of fuel. That often means increasing your calorie intake.  Now, it is possible that, simply by switching to the right kind of fuel (high protein/low carbohydrates) to build muscle, you will naturally lose weight even by increasing your calorie intake. However, you would not lose as much weight because muscle weighs more than fat.  As you gain muscle and lose fat, you might actually GAIN weight. The choices you make for one goal will be contrary to the choices you would need to make to achieve the other goal.  Therefore, your goals would be getting in the way of your success, keeping you in an endless tennis match of back and forth decisions.

Let’s look back at our goals above. There is a very good possibility that, in order to make more money in your business, you must first invest more into the business.  This could put you further into debt, which would be contrary to your financial goal of paying off debt.  In addition, despite the fads of the “Four Hour Work Week” all highly successful business people put in long hours most days of the week/month. If your focus and attention is required on your business 14 to 16 hours a day in order to increase the amount of money your business brings in, it leaves less time to spend with your family or in your community.

By making decisions that first focus on your business goals and then on your family goals and then on your… you are ultimately taking the focus away from the other goals in that moment. It would be much like saying you want to visit Oregon, California, Main and Florida on the same family vacation.  You set out for Oregon but then realize that the next road will more easily lead to Florida so you take it.  Then you get to another interchange that says Florida – 500 miles, Maine – 250 miles so you decide to head off to Maine.  Ultimately, you’ve spent your entire vacation driving around aimlessly without seeing any of your destinations.

Action Step

A better way to create the success you want to achieve is to rank your goals. For example, you might place the most emphasis on your business goals, knowing that making more money may ultimately lead to achieving some of your other goals as well.  Here’s an example:

  1. Business – Make X amount of money.
  2. Health/Fitness – Lose x lbs.
  3. Family – Spend more time with children and spouse.
  4. Finances – Pay off debt.
  5. Community – Volunteer at least x hours per month.

Now that you have ranked your goal priorities, you can set about creating your action plans.  First work on the action plan for your primary goal. Once you have completed that, work on an action plan for your secondary goal.  Here’s the key, though.  As you work on all subsequent goals, you MUST ask yourself this question:

Will this action interfere with any of the higher ranking goals I have set?

If the answer is yes, then that is an action that will get in the way of your ultimate success and must be eliminated from your action plan.  If you can’t come up with any action steps that won’t interfere with higher ranking goals, you may have to consider rewriting or eliminating that goal for the time being.

Choosing to focus on multiple, contradictory goals is a sure way to make sure that your goals get in the way of your success.

When to Seek a Life Coach

Sometimes we need extra help.  Consider contacting us to set up a session in the following situations.

  • You struggle with creating an action plan for your goals.
  • You struggle to give up contradictory goals.
  • You can’t determine which goals are most important.
  • You’d like to know some creative ways to incorporate multiple, seemingly contradictory goals.


Do you wonder if your goals are contradictory? List them in the comments below and I’ll share my thoughts.

Nicole Bandes

Nicole has scaled her own personal mountain to climb out of ordinary. For over 20 years, Nicole Bandes has studied the most effective methods to increase happiness and success in her own life and in business. She has gone on to helped thousands of people in their own personal journeys to reach their goals. Contact Nicole if you are ready to stop being ordinary and have a guided tour to reach your summit of success.

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  1. Love it. My home life goals always come first. My business goals I am only talented enough to work on one at a time. But since I am home when I work those two things do compete and I always feel like I’m not giving all I should to the other area.

  2. Debi

    For years, my job came first. My kids even went to work with me when they were sick and couldn’t go to school. I didn’t work for myself but was usually in a one-person office and had to be there so the kids would sleep in an extra room. I told myself a few years ago that jobs would NOT come before family. Now that I want to work on my own business, I find it difficult to make it a priority. I don’t want my granddaughter to think I’m too busy to spend time with her (she and her mom live with me), I don’t want my boyfriend to think he’s not important to me, I don’t want my son to feel left out, and still have the residual of not wanting to let folks down at my current day job by taking any time off. My goal (commitment) to my family so many years ago is a a huge stumbling block and I’m tired of bumping my toes all the time.

  3. Great advice, Nicole! And, this is not a one-time effort either. While dynamic choices may be best, that normally takes more time for us to continually evaluate than would living with a temporarily out-of-synch goal.
    We all have finite time and finite capital. (OK, maybe not those in the 0.1%, but let’s be real.) And, we need to appropriate our resources and effort to maximize that which we consider the most important.
    One example from real life- our country desperately needs investment in infrastructure- yet, we spend money on health, warfare, leaving these (and other needs) sorely lacking. So- do we really consider infrastructure development a valid goal?

  4. Great post, Nicole. The trick is, getting the personal & business goals to ‘jive.’ That’s the part I struggle with. Some days I feel like I’m just dangling in the wind/flying by the seat of my pants. I’m trying to develop a plan I can stick with for both–I’ll get there eventually :)

  5. Fantastic post Nicole – from the title to the last period! Outstanding advice!

  6. Nicole Bandes

    Thank you Shawn. It’s not impossible to reach certain business goals without sacrificing what it takes to achieve your life goals but it may take some creativity and open-mindness.

  7. Nicole Bandes


    Thanks for your comment. It sounds like your goals may be changing but your history is getting in the way. Is that correct? Do you get support from your family for your business? That might be a first step.

  8. Nicole Bandes

    That’s for sure! But then, how much in life is a one-time effort?

    The trouble with government is that you have 300 million people with nearly as many different ideas of what should be a priority. That certainly keeps us in that endless loop without accomplishing ANY of our country-wide goals.

  9. Nicole Bandes

    Hi Jenny,

    It’s not always easy but it can be well worth it! And sometimes we need help from others to see ideas that we can’t see right in front of our faces.

  10. Nicole Bandes

    Thank you Tor, much appreciated!

  11. Debi

    We haven’t really talked about it but my kids have always been very supportive and my boyfriend is not all all upset or jealous over time that I spend on personal work/projects as he has tons of them as well. As I started to reply yesterday, the history of it all popped into my head and shed light on the struggle I’ve been having. It’s a mental roadblock that needs to be removed :)

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