Goal-setting can be a frustrating experience. Especially if you have a goal that's too big, that is not clearly defined, or that does not reflect what you truly want. Let's say you want success—Great!—but what does that entail? What does success mean to you? Where do you start? How do you define success when you consider the following areas:

Family and Friends
Money and Finances
Fun! and Recreation
Romance and Self-Care
Personal Growth
Physical Environment

Maybe you want to lose weight. You do the diet, you do the workouts, you may even lose a few pounds. Then, you either give up or you reach your goal weight, only to gain it back again. Maybe you associate losing weight with depriving yourself instead of viewing it as nurturing yourself. Despite your best intentions, you inevitably fall short of your goal.

There are many reasons why goal-setting does not work for people. Some of these may be:

-Your goal has not been defined according to your criteria. Is it what you want or what you think others want for you? For example, you want to be successful, but you have your parents' idea of success in mind instead of your own. You may be unconsciously sabotaging yourself if what you are pursuing is not congruent to your idea of success.
-It may be too broad or there is no clarity. Does it feel overwhelming? Do you have specific steps planned out to obtain your goal?
-You give up too easily. Let's say you ate cake and ice cream for a week and decided you might as well quit the diet. You don't have to! Get back on the diet and start again.
-Another reason may be a lack of motivation. It is hard to be motivated to complete the necessary steps when you are lacking in motivation. If this is the case, assess why you aren't motivated to reach for your goals. It could be that you don't really want the goal or you see the steps as too much work. Maybe the steps may need to be broken down more or maybe you have not found a solution to motivate yourself that works. Some people need to speak to themselves as a drill sergeant, others need to coax, compliment, and persuade themselves. Some people need rewards in place. What type of motivation do you respond best to?
-Do you have good support? One of the reasons why coaching, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers programs are popular is because of the support. When you are accountable to someone and someone is taking an active interest in you, you do not want to let them down, especially if you are paying money to someone.
-Is the goal big enough for you? Is it challenging? Oftentimes, if the goal is not difficult enough or much of a challenge, people will give up faster.
-Check in with yourself to see if fear is holding you back. Are you fearful of failing? Past failures (also known as learning opportunities) may be hindering your progress. Are you scared of being successful? Why? Is it because you are breaking out of your comfort zone?

When setting your goals, envision what it will be like, what it will feel like, and what you will be doing when you have reached them. Create a picture in your mind of what it will be like to have already obtained your goal. What are your reasons for taking on the task? Why is the goal important to you? How is it going to change your life?

There is so much information in the world about goal-setting but a majority of people are content to be comfortable and complacent. There is nothing wrong with that, except the rise in anti-depressants and weight-gain is reflective of a society that is dissatisfied with their lives. If what you are doing hasn't been working, it is time to start doing something different.

As humans, we are driven to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We can stop ourselves from improving our lives because we think it is too much work. It's more work, pushing down the dissatisfaction, remaining stagnant in life, allowing our daily lives to guide us instead of us taking the reins.

How do you achieve success with the goal-setting process?

List goals that mean something to you
Write out manageable steps
Find out what will motivate you to achieve them
Commit to your goal
Find a support team even if it is just one person that you are accountable to
Envision what it will be like after obtaining your goals
Take action!

Before you know it, you'll reach one goal, then another until it becomes second nature for you to take on goals and reach them.

Life is too short to live without passion, happiness, and excitement. This is found in a balance of meaningful work and play. It is also found by having conscious relationships, a healthy body and mind, contribution to society, and gratitude for a life well-lived. Goal-setting can get you there if you find the method that works for you.

Author's Bio: 

Nicole Nenninger is the author of "Transforming Divorce - How to Get Back on Track and Create a Life You Love" as well as the "Transforming Divorce Workbook - How to Make Divorce the Best Thing that Ever Happened to You." She wrote these books after going through her own painful divorce process. She is the founder of nicolenenninger.com and co-founder of mydailymotivator.com. Nicole is pursuing an advanced degree in psychology and is a competitive runner. She and her new husband live in New York with their 4 children, 2 dogs, and cat.