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The Reasons Why We Fail and How to Use SMART Goals

Research shows that over 70% of us will fail in any project that we start, despite the majority of people being smart and hard-working. The reasons why we fail are varied, but most people will agree on two main factors: 1) We don’t know how to define and write down our goals and 2) We don’t know how to achieve them step by step, every day, consistently. In this article, we will focus on why we fail in any project and then learn how we can be successful using SMART Goals.

Why do you fail?

The reasons why we fail in life are often easier to spot than why we succeed. After all, our failures make a lot more noise. However, there is real power in knowing why you failed. By understanding where you went wrong, you can avoid making those same mistakes again in the future. Also by learning from your failures, it allows you to develop a stronger mindset that will help fuel your motivation for success. When building your own personal plan for success it’s important that you don’t shy away from failure or try too hard to avoid it at all costs.

Why are we afraid of failure?

The fear of failure is one of our biggest mental barriers. While it’s important to have goals and dreams, if we are too afraid of failing at them, we will never even start trying to achieve them. The first step towards overcoming any fear is recognizing it exists in your life. Once you identify your fears surrounding a goal, you can begin working on challenging these beliefs in order to build up your self-confidence, so that ultimately no fear stands in your way of success. To do that, use why questions when reflecting on why you failed at past projects or endeavors. These questions often highlight whether our reasons for not achieving something were about us or about external factors (and therefore less under our control). For example: Why did I fail?

What are GMART Goals?


The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Not only is a set of goals written in those terms useful for achieving those goals, but it also helps when thinking about what makes them better or worse. A GMART goal is one that meets all of these criteria.

What are the characteristics of a SMART goals?

Specific – To be effective, you need to be very clear on what you want your outcome to be. Instead of saying I want a new job, say something like I want an assistant account manager role at Better & Associates. Measurable – You’ll know if you’re successful or not based on whether your goal is met. For example, it’s easy to tell if you have a new job, but it’s more difficult to determine if a company has improved its customer service metrics. Setting goals that are measurable will let you know right away whether or not your efforts are paying off. Actionable – A goal needs to include an action step that clearly indicates how it will be accomplished.

Why are SMART goals important?

Let’s start with a look at goals in general. The way we think about goals can make a big difference in how successful we are in achieving them. It can also be surprisingly easy to sabotage ourselves by focusing on everything that’s wrong or could go wrong, instead of what we want. One of my favorite ways to get past that natural tendency is by setting SMART goals—goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

Examples of poorly written goals 

A poorly written goal is often nothing more than a wish or desire. It doesn’t have a clear path, no time frame for completion, and it isn’t specific. Instead of writing, I want to get fit, write I will join a fitness center four times per week. This kind of detailed approach sets you up for success by turning that vague goal into an actionable objective.

A Good Example of SMART Goals

Write a list of goals for you and your team. Break them down into smaller tasks that can be completed within a week, month, or quarter. Consider timeframes, delegate when necessary, put in dates for completion, and have checkpoints throughout. The key with using goals is making sure they are: Specific: State exactly what you will accomplish; Measurable: Give a measurement of how successful you are at completing your goal; Attainable: Realistic enough that you can complete it (if not immediately); Relevant: Important enough to spend time on now; Time-bound/Checkpointed: Have checkpoints or due dates so that you can stay on track. You don’t need to finish everything all at once— just focus on working towards them one by one.

SMART Weight Loss Goals

I want to lose 20 lbs within 6 months. A common goal that many of us strive for is losing weight. While it is true that there are many factors involved with weight loss, one key element in achieving success is setting a smart goal. A good example of a smart weight loss goal would be:

“I will walk daily for 40 minutes after dinner to reduce 10kg weight in the next 3months.”


Ultimately, there are many reasons why we fail. Our failure is a result of our own actions or circumstances that we can’t control. Some people say, If you want something done right, do it yourself. If you want to be successful in any goal that you set out for yourself in life, make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable/achievable/attainable, relevant/relevant, and time-bound. In order to succeed in your goals you need a plan of action; don’t just daydream about what could happen if everything works out perfectly in your life.

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