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The Power of Expecting Success in Goal Setting

We all know that setting goals is important to our growth.

However, have you ever considered the role your subconscious expectations play in whether or not you reach those goals? If you haven't, that may explain why you have trouble successfully reaching the goals you set for yourself.

When you set a goal, it's not just about what you consciously intend to achieve.

Subconsciously, there might be a lot going on that you're not aware of, and this can either drive your success or sabotage your efforts. And while these beliefs may be buried deep in our subconsciousness, it is possible to shine a spotlight on what's going on so that you are not secretly sabotaging your success.

Let's explore the concept of expecting success when setting goals and why it's crucial for your overall goal success.

When you set a goal, do you expect success?

When You Expect to Fail: The Subconscious Dilemma

One of the common subconscious behaviors we see when setting a goal is the expectation of failure.

You might wonder why anyone would set a goal if they expect to fail. Well, it's often a subtle belief lurking in the background of your mind. This expectation can arise from several factors:

  1. Lack of Clarity: When your goal lacks clarity, you're setting yourself up for failure. You need a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and a plan to get yourself there. Choosing to spin in confusion instead of making a plan is a sure way to sabotage your success.

  2. Not Feeling It: If your heart isn't in your goal, you're less likely to succeed. Some people set goals because they feel they have to, not because they genuinely want to achieve them. The outcome may mean more to someone else than it does to them. Not having an internal connection or motivation to reach a goal often leads to goal failure.

  3. Looking Backwards: Many individuals who expect to fail spend more time looking at past failures or lack of accomplishments and use this as a sign of what they can achieve in the future. For example, if you have tried dieting before and it's never worked out, you may begin your next diet and still not believe that success is a possibility because you're 'not good at losing weight."

  4. Failing Ahead of Time: Some people sabotage their efforts intentionally, essentially "failing ahead of time" to maintain a sense of control. Failing ahead of time means that they will fail on their own terms, not as a result of any mistakes or failures. Choosing not to start work on your goal is a good example of failing ahead of time.

  5. Negative Self-Talk: Negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you constantly tell yourself you'll fail, you're more likely to give up when you face challenges. We've all heard that little voice in the back of our minds that sends us words of discouragement. Taking what it is saying as the truth and allowing this to influence your motivation and effort is expecting to fail.

Expecting Nothing at All: Leaving Your Goals to Chance

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some individuals set goals without any specific expectations. They don't expect success, but they don't anticipate failure either.

They completely leave their goals to chance, as if their success or failure was not up to them.

However, without a clear plan, purposeful action, and strong commitment, these goals often fade into the background as priorities shift.

A good example of this kind of expectation involves what happens when many people set New Year's Resolutions. Do you remember the resolution you set for yourself back in January? Chances are good that you don't. You set yourself a goal and then most likely forgot about it.

The Power of Expecting Success

Expecting success when setting goals is a game-changer.

It means you understand that there will be challenges and setbacks along the way, but you don't let these define your journey.

People who expect success:

  • Use determination as their strategy.

  • Make a plan and stick to it.

  • Commit to their results.

  • Keep going, no matter what.

  • Don't rely on hustle and grind but prioritize giving themselves grace and lots of space to make adjustments along the way

Expecting success is a determined mindset that often brings about the results you want because your behaviors and actions match up with your intentions.

Creating a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Your expectations play a significant role in creating self-fulfilling prophecies. What you believe deep down influences your actions, which, in turn, leads to the results you achieve.

If you expect success, you're more likely to plan, set deadlines, stay motivated, and overcome obstacles.

Conversely, expecting failure leads to excuses, a lack of motivation, and a greater likelihood of giving up when faced with challenges.

Expecting nothing at all often results in no plan, no action, and no results -- bringing this self-fulfilling prophecy to life too.

When you expect success, you're more likely to plan, set deadlines, stay motivated, and overcome obstacles

Your expectations when setting a goal have a profound impact on your actions and, ultimately, your results. Instead of expecting failure or leaving your goals to chance, commit to expecting success.

Move these expectations from your subconscious to your consciousness and watch your journey to success unfold.

Remember, what you look for is what you'll find. Expect success, stay focused, and don't give up on your goals. With determination, commitment, and adaptability, you can achieve more than you ever imagined.

Your success is within reach – believe it, act on it, and you'll achieve it.

Jen Laffin wearing a brightly flowered dress, glasses, smiling at the camera

Jen Laffin is an Accountability & Success Mentor for small business owners, a master teacher, host of The Flight School Podcast, a possible thinker, and a recovering procrastinator. She teaches small business owners how to show up so that they can level up their businesses. To learn more, visit, or find Jen on Linkedin and Instagram.


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