Challenges may be problems to solve or goals we want to achieve. Here are the common challenges in goal setting to overcome.

Ten Challenges to Goal Setting (and how to resolve)

Protect your goals by dealing with problems as soon as they arise, including these common challenges. Problem solve any situations. The table below lists challenges and solutions.

You’ll find challenges in accomplishing your goals because you need to manage them. No matter what comes up, you find a solution for it. Keep practicing. Seek mentoring or coaching. Get strategies from the experienced people in your life, school, or work.

Ten Common Challenges to Accomplishing Goals

1Dreams OnlyCreate measurable goals with criteria for success and a deadline.
2Too Many Goals Focus on your highest priority goals, or spread goals out so they don’t overlap too much. Three simultaneous goals is often recommended. Related goals may be unified under a common goal.
3Generic GoalsGoals that are not specific enough or don’t have enough rationale are not likely to be accomplished. Ask why five times to get to the real goal and specific instances where it would help.
4Unrealistic Goals Goals that are physically impossible or based on too many external factors beyond your control need to be reconsidered. Rewrite the goal so that it is about the part that you control and check that it is otherwise accomplishable.
5Inflexible Goals When reality sets in, it’s necessary to consider revising your goals or introducing new milestones and extending the timeline.
6Only Outcomes Balance outcome goals with process, experience, performance, and relationship goals. See the section below called “Goal Variety” for details.
7No Regular Review Review goals every quarter and adjust timelines, subgoals, or even the primary goal itself as more is learned about each goal’s feasibility. Introduce new goals as time goes by, but focus on 3 or fewer at the same time.
8No Regular Planning Goals require guided effort to succeed. Monthly, weekly, and daily planning and task management allocates tasks  and ensures the most important tasks are scheduled first.
9No Milestones Goals with a deadline longer than one-year away need sub-goals down to one-year goals and milestones down to quarterly or monthly.
10No Buy-in Failure to get buy-in from stakeholders for your goals makes them less likely to achieve. Talk about your goals with your stakeholders and allies. Allies are those whose help is required to accomplish the goals. As stakeholders understand how important the goals are, engage them in planning and problem solving to get their buy-in. Communicate progress and celebrate milestone accomplishments.

Goal Variety

When people first start writing their goals, they tend to be focused on outcome goals. Outcome goals are about obtaining something (e.g. buy a car) or becoming something (e.g. Graduate, get married). Outcome goals almost always require things to happen that are outside of our control. Outcome goals have a lower chance of success.

Other goal types are more within our control and often balance and contribute to outcome goals.

Performance goals are goals to meet a performance standard through development of your capabilities. A performance goal could be something like read 16 pages per hour with better comprehension or run a mile in 6 minutes. These goals may have milestones to meet such as read ten pages per hour by the end of the month, that will help you track your progress. Note that these are not competitive goals against others, but set by you for yourself or your team.

Process goals are goals to do something that supports other goals, but don’t rise to the level of a dream, such as floss daily. Use a process goal to develop the skills you need to meet other goals.

An experience goal is something as simple as ride a ferris wheel or live in an Asian culture. Some research says that people are happier when they accomplish experience goals than outcome goals.

Set a relationship goal to focus on the quality of your relationships with your loved ones, friends, and other people. Consider scheduling time, having experiences together, sharing more, and what ever you and others want to accomplish together.

As you write your goals, be open to variety.


To create powerful, transformational goals, read our post The Power of HEART Goals to Live True to Your Life Vision.


Our appreciation goes to Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons, via