Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work

This is an adaptation of a blog I guest wrote for Jemimah Ashleigh – Positioning Expert. You can find her HERE and I highly suggest you check out her work if you are an entrepreneur!

Ah the end of a year and the promise of a brand new fresh one where you’ll wake up on the morning of the 1st January and instantly become the newer, more focused, committed and all round better version of yourself, as if the stroke of midnight that delivers you from one year into the next has the power of a Fairy Godmother.

It’s also that time of year when, as an entrepreneur my newsfeed is filled with offers of free downloadable goal setting pdfs offering guaranteed results for the coming year. Like an Adobe file is in charge of my business success! Please!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying goal setting doesn’t work or that it’s as stupid as Aunt Joan’s reindeer Christmas jumper (seriously Joan, every year!) but spending an entire afternoon filling out big scary goals in the hope that they’ll magically manifest with enough hustle is a bit like promising yourself that as of January 1st you’ll religiously hit the gym 5 mornings a week and never ever ever drink booze on a weeknight again. Honey it ain’t gonna happen.

Again, let me be clear. I’m not saying don’t set goals or don’t make them fucking huge – I set some astronomical goals at the beginning of this year and smashed them. But not because I wrote down some figures on a piece of paper or prettied up a year planner with my mission statement. I smashed my goals because I put my mindset first and foremost. Setting goals, having a strategy and planning ahead will only ever be actually executed by those who have sorted their shit out first.

Mindset isn’t about connecting to your WHY (although important) or making it about others (equally important) and nor is it about, and I quote, ‘getting juicy’ about your desires (so gross right? I actually saw that in a sponsored ad. “GET JUICY ABOUT YOUR GOALS”. Stop. Just stop.) 

It’s about having the balls to go deep into the dirty bits of your mind so you can hold a mirror up to your ego, your bullshit and your fear.

It’s about meeting yourself at the corner of your mind where usually you shut off, shut down or block up.

It’s about forging through and exposing yourself to yourself without judgment or ridicule.

Mindset is about asking yourself the deeper questions; not about where you want to be in a years’ time but who you’re scared of being now, what you’re scared of losing along the way and how much you’re willing to surrender to the unknown.

Mindset is about commanding the forgotten part of your brain that prefers to hide away, humming quietly in the background of your day, softly self-sabotaging, gently pulling you away from your dreams with elegant excuses and procrastination.

 Not actually Joan. Just a stock image. Also Joan isn’t a real person. But if she were, she’d look like this.

Not actually Joan. Just a stock image. Also Joan isn’t a real person. But if she were, she’d look like this.

Here’s the cold hard truth (like I’d give you anything else) most businesses fail. According to my extensive Google search for real life stats (sarcasm) 50% of you reading this won’t be in business by the time Aunt Joan dons her reindeer Christmas jumper yet again in 2019 (no more Joan! The fabric’s wearing away at the elbows, the reindeer lost its pom-pom nose in the Christmas pudding fire of 2007 and frankly it smells a bit like cat piss. Buy a new fucking Christmas jumper!).

If, like Joan you know you could do with changing things up, let me give you some stark differences between traditional goal setting and nailing mindset.


1.       Goal setting is about making promises to yourself. Mindset is about building trust with yourself.

Promises are easily broken (because you’re human) but trust yourself and even if you don’t fulfil the promise of making $47 000 by February, you won’t give up.

2.       Goal setting is about being S.M.A.R.T. Mindset is about being brave

(which often means doing unS.M.A.R.T things).


3.       Goal setting is about structure. Mindset is about faith.

The reality is, the universe has its own plan. And often it gives few fucks about your pen and paper goals. When weird shit happens you must have faith that it’s for a reason (sometimes greater than you) or you’ll give up, proclaiming that ‘circumstances outside your control’ brought your business down. When you have faith and your structure gets blown apart, you’ll be okay.


4.       Goal setting is about feeling secure. Mindset is about making friends with fear.

We’d all love to know what’s gonna happen when in 2019. Love it we would! But business (if you’re doing it right) means saying yes before we feel ready. It means taking chances and going off plan when the universe presents an opportunity that wasn’t mapped out in your Typo wall planner. And yeah, that’s scary as hell. Refer to point 1.


5.       Goal setting is listing what you need to do. Mindset is figuring out who you need to be.

Massive. Fucking. Difference.


Again, let me be clear that I’m not saying you should free ball business and blindly go into next year without a plan. Don’t be a dick. But what I am saying is that if you think writing down your goals assures them, well, you’re a dick.

So, what steps should you take to master your mindset and so smash your 2019 goals? Well as an early Christmas present, I’ve given you my top 5 strategies. You’re welcome.

1.       Get a coach.

Do not do business alone, life is not a solo sport so get someone on your side who can call you on your own bullshit. I have three spots open for my business mentoring program starting mid-Jan. Email emily@emilychadbourne.com for more information.

2.       Work out your own bullshit!

This looks like doing work around what you believe to be true (how hard or easy it is to make money, how much or little you deserve success etc.)

3.       Learn about manifestation.

And not the crap most coaches are plugging on social media. We’ll have none of you ‘The Secret’ bullshit here thank you. I mean learn about frequencies and cellular codes which are unconsciously guiding you. If you’re interested in this then come and learn more in my FREE courses over in my Facebook group, That Crazy Thing Called Life.

4.        Find your tribe.

And I’m not talking about Aunt Joan. I mean people who think in the way I’ve just detailed. People who believe that vulnerability is power. People who never fail but learn a better way often and quickly. People who have already done what you strive to do so you know that it’s possible. Learn from these people. Observe their behaviours, habits and mindset and model the fuck out them. Ask them questions. Stalk them (just kidding). You can join my tribe HERE!

5.       Set goals.

I’m not even being cute and funny (although I am both of those things). The truth is without goals you’ll flop along and get nothing done. But remember, without mindset you’ll never smash your goals.

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And from Wednesday 9th Jan 2019 I will be LIVE EVERY WEDNESDAY (typed in caps so you know I mean it) at 11am from my Facebook page (like and follow HERE) and simultaneously on Insta (follow me emily_thatcrazythingcalledlife HERE). This weekly live will be your chance to ask me anything on love, life and business, same time, same place every single week! And if you miss one, all good. You can watch the edited highlights on my Youtube channel Emily Chadbourne, subscribe HERE!