While you can find many definitions and opinions of what goal setting entails, I like how James Clear describes it best…
Goal setting is not only about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy, but also the costs you are willing to pay.
We will come back to that quote later on, but let’s focus on you for a moment.
When is the last time you achieved a major goal that you’re proud of?
If it’s not within the last few years, this compilation can change your life.
Why is it important to get serious about goal-setting? For one, goal setting is directly linked to high achievement.
Although we typically have ideas flowing through our minds at all hours of the day; most of us struggle to focus and/or following through with massive action.
Not to worry!
I’ve collated a comprehensive guide that highlights cringeworthy mistakes many of us are guilty of and foolproof techniques to practice instead.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- MISTAKE #1: CRAFTING TOO MANY GOALS AT ONCE
- MISTAKE #2: NOT WRITING YOUR GOALS DOWN
- MISTAKE #3: HAVING THE WRONG MOTIVE
- MISTAKE #4: LESS PLANNING, MORE DOING
- MISTAKE #5: NOT CREATING EFFECTIVE HABITS
- MISTAKE #6: NOT SETTING A DEADLINE
- MISTAKE #7: NOT INCLUDING QUANTIFIABLE METRICS
- MISTAKE #8: NOT PREPARING YOURSELF FOR MAJOR SACRIFICES
- MISTAKE #9: FORGETTING TO EVALUATE PROGRESS ALONG THE WAY
- MISTAKE #10: GIVING UP AFTER FAILURE
MISTAKE #1: CRAFTING TOO MANY GOALS AT ONCE
Let’s face it, planning goals can be an enjoyable and thrilling experience.
Who doesn’t love turning on music, pouring an espresso, and revealing all of your hopes, wants, and dreams on paper?
The cold hard truth is….don’t let the activity end there!
Despite your mental fortitude, it is unlikely that you’ll benefit from the same learning curve, focus, and sheer dedication if your brain is scattered with multiple aspirations simultaneously.
What should you do instead? Pare your goals down by choosing 1-3 to focus on each year.
If you make massive progress towards a goal or two after 5 months and you’re confident that your new achievements are sustainable, by all means, add a new goal to your plate.
The point is, you have to earn that right.
And, as you can guess, this doesn’t happen often…
The reality is, most of us need to devote the majority of our personal time and remain laser-focused on our goals to follow through with the long-term.
Otherwise, we really just don’t get a good handle on our learning curve in a timeframe where we are still motivated to reach the goal.
Want to know what makes me qualified to share this tip? Oh, that would be learning the hard way for 30+ years.
- I tried for years to get serious about becoming a blogger as well as becoming vegetarian. Along with many other random things.
- Despite my efforts with these two, they both got jumbled underneath other distractions. I failed at both year after year when trying to do too much at once!
- It wasn’t until I fully internalized this rule that I conquered them BOTH in one swoop!
In short, remove distractions to maximize your success.
MISTAKE #2: NOT WRITING YOUR GOALS DOWN
Are you an avid (and slightly neurotic) list-maker?! If not, don’t worry. This is a skill that can be learned almost overnight.
First, prime yourself with this question…if you forget what your goals are, how will you ever achieve them?
Spoiler alert, there is a good chance you won’t.
You have to write your goals down for your own accountability.
Write. them. down.
Create a system that works for you, whether online or on paper, where you know you can view your goals during your personal time.
There are two major ways people keep track of their goals:
- Online via a free application or MS Office Tool
- A journal or daily planner
I personally use Onenote for my personal goals. I’m constantly using my laptop and I find that I will refer to an online list more often than a paper version (that I may or may not lose).
Onenote is free, has a ton of features (such as automated bullet lists), and templates.
Make it your personal mission to find out what system works best for you and yourlifestyle.
MISTAKE #3: HAVING THE WRONG MOTIVE
OPTION 1: I need to lose more weight, so I look like her.
OPTION 2: I need to lose more weight, so I can hike and see more beautiful places with ease.
Which option & reasoning sounds more compelling? Which one makes you want to get out of bed and tackle the world every day? And, which one makes you just feel bad about yourself?
It’s eye-opening how unconscious negativity can affect our follow-through!
Don’t let external factors affect the way you craft your goal. Just remember, meaningmatters.
Create a goal that is meaningful for you and allows you to enhance the quality of your life.
Ensure the goal is framed positively, to have a positive outcome.
Relatedly, let’s talk about influencers and the media for a moment. That “Keeping up with the Joneses” sentiment can be overwhelming and heartbreaking.
Don’t compare yourself to others and let it get you down [especially people you don’t even know!].
Instead, use updates, ideas, and other external wins as a source of inspiration
MISTAKE #4: LESS PLANNING, MORE DOING
Let’s address one of the biggest challenges of the self-improvement industry. We really only need to dedicate less than a week to crafting our goals or researching before getting started.
As highlighted in my recent article, 10 Lessons Learned from COVID-19, 2020 has reminded many of us that we have time to take action against our dreams if we are dedicated enough.
In short, ensure you secure time to actively complete your goals!
MISTAKE #5: NOT CREATING EFFECTIVE HABITS
We may have all the inspiration in the world; yet, if we stick with unproductive or even destructive habits, our passion could fade away quickly.
If you’ve read Atomic Habits, you know that there are hundreds of small decisions we can make daily to set ourselves up for success.
From making your goals visible to bundling your new goal with something else you enjoy…there are hundreds of ways you can set yourself up for success.
The point is, it’s helpful to intentionally remove nuances that get in your way. Removing a distraction, such as a paid subscription service, can be just as helpful as initiating a system where you review your goals every Saturday.
If you’re looking for something more thorough and research-based, Atomic Habits will rock your world!
MISTAKE #6: NOT SETTING A DEADLINE
It is so easy to soar high and create dream goals for “someday.”
You’ve worked too hard to do this to set yourself up for failure.
Make sure you set a realistic date, even if it is a specific month or year if the goal is large enough.
If this doesn’t sound like something you would do naturally, that’s okay.
Make this more enticing by purchasing a sparkling new planner, a magnet calendar for your fridge, or some other visual management tool to highlight key deadlines.
Check out this recent article, 9 Purchases That Will Bring You, Joy, During Quarantine for more practical ideas.
MISTAKE #7: NOT INCLUDING QUANTIFIABLE METRICS
Although this doesn’t sound fun, it’s important. Create goals that you can strive towards, rally around, and ultimately achieve.
You will never know if you met your target…if you don’t have one.
Instead of “cooking more homemade meals” …” cook 15 popular dishes from around the world that you can enjoy with others within the next year.”
MISTAKE #8: NOT PREPARING YOURSELF FOR MAJOR SACRIFICES
Most worthwhile goals require some sort of sacrifice.
Want to start a side hustle? You may need to say goodbye to binge-watching tv and other time-wasters.
Want to spend more quality time with family? That may mean you spend less time on your passion project.
Want to work on photography? You may need to invest in some heavy-duty equipment upfront.
If you mentally prepare yourself for the tough decisions you need to make in the future, it will help you make them at the moment.
Need a little more structure on this one? Here are 24 Books That Will Change Your Perspective.
MISTAKE #9: FORGETTING TO EVALUATE PROGRESS ALONG THE WAY
Have you ever created a sparkling New Years Resolution List in January and realized in June that you are completely behind in all of your goals?!
You may have even forgotten about a few completely.
The point is daily progress matters.
Create a daily or weekly routine for yourself to evaluate how you’re doing and what you may need to change to follow through on your dreams.
Create a system that you look forward to.
My jam is Saturday mornings. Why?
I’m ALWAYS in a good mood. I’m able to drink my coffee slowly and light an aromatic seasonal candle. And, I have time to celebrate wins as well as ground myself.
My question for you is…what is YOUR routine? Don’t have one? No worries – make one up now!
MISTAKE #10: GIVING UP AFTER FAILURE
Did your idea flop within the first month?
GOOD! What did you learn?
What can you do differently next time?
I would bet that there are few successful entrepreneurs or creators that didn’t learn the “hard way” initially.
That’s literally how you get better.
You must a heavy dose of endurance to break through challenges, setbacks, and failures to WIN!
Don’t. Lose. Your. Momentum. EVER!
Instead, ask yourself “what do I know now that I didn’t know before?” Allow your answer to make you stronger, more confident, and more knowledgeable for next time.