We know that goals shouldn't be stupid, they should be SMART. So we work hard to get down to something specific, measurable, etc., like losing 15 pounds by May 1st.
But in the quest for actionable goals it's easy to forget what we really want. I don't want to lose 15 pounds for the hell of it. I want it so I can feel confident and proud of myself, to feel vibrant and full of energy, to be an example to my kids that taking care of oneself is a top priority.
So we become trapped by the specific recipe we picked, and when we discover we're missing an ingredient we give up on cooking anything. But if we remember that our real goal is just to eat something delicious, we're suddenly resourceful again and find (or create) a new recipe from what we have.
In a narrow sense, cause and effect is very real. But in the larger sense of goals for a happy, fulfilled, meaningful life, it's rarely that prescriptive. More often, we must remember that there are infinite paths. If the SMART path you chose turns out to be a stupid one, don't give up, just try another path.