There are several mistakes that many people make when they are setting goals. For the few people who have enough intention and focus to realize what they want out of life, goals are highly valuable, but even the most dedicated and driven of us are still often vulnerable to making mistakes in our goal setting practices that diminish their effectiveness. If you have taken the time to think about what you, set some goals, and have a dream, make sure you take a few moments to read this list of the top 10 goal setting mistakes to make sure that you aren’t making any of these serious errors. You’ll probably be surprised to find out that many of these mistakes are quite common.
- Not setting goals at all
The most common, and the WORST mistake of all goal setting goals is, of course, not setting goals at all. Goals done correctly should motivate us, give us purpose, direct our daily actions, give us peace, clarity, and give us a sense of belonging. I could go on all day about the importance of goals, and you can read more here.
The second biggest mistake people make when setting goals is failing to make goals that are measurable. Goals should motivate us and call us to action, they should entice us to work harder, and they should drive our daily actions; however, when we set goals that cannot be measured easily, we lose many of the motivating forces behind goal setting. When you set a goal, make sure that you can directly measure if it was successful or not (think date of completion, numbers, and data that can be observed). Example of non-measurable goal: increase your confidence. Example of measurable goal: within 3 months read 4 books on increasing confidence, talk to the girl you have a crush on, and attend at least one party.
- Not writing goals down
You can read more here about why you should write your goals down. While keeping goals in your head is a good practice, if you want to really have effective goals you should be able to easily access them whenever you need them. By writing goals down, not only do you make them more real, but you also create the ability to pick them up, hold them in your hand, and see a physical copy of what you want in life.
- Not updating goals periodically
If I looked hard enough I bet I could find some goals I wrote down when I was only 16 years old. If I was to take a look at what I had planned for the next 10 years of my life, I would realize that so many things have changed I would hardly recognize myself if I had actually completed the list. It isn’t that I failed, but rather that over time many of my beliefs, desires, and personal traits have changed. The person I saw myself becoming when I was 16 is very different than the person that I have CHOSEN to be today. One thing is certain, and that is that over time you will change, everything will change, so don’t forget to let your goals change with you.
- Not reviewing your goals periodically.
Along with allowing your goals to change over time, you must also take time to reflect on your goals as a reminder of what you are trying to accomplish in life. Taking a look at your lofty 10 year goals is an excellent reminder that each moment is precious and that you are in a race against the clock. If you truly want to make those big dreams a reality, take a few moments every couple of weeks or months and take a look at everything you want for your life…then get going.
- Not evaluating your progress
I wrote about this fatal mistake already in an article here. When we fail to evaluate our progress, we can slow our growth and prevent ourselves from reaching our fullest potential. Many times, we set realistic goals only to realize a few months later that we are capable of much more than we had originally thought was possible. As time goes on we get better, we get more efficient, and we have new ideas and projects that stretch us to our limits. As we evolve, it is important to check our progress and make changes as needed to better motivate us on our journey to achievement.
- Not setting goals that challenge you.
Setting goals that challenge us and force us to work harder each day will ensure that we meet our fullest potentials over time. It is the cumulative actions that we take each and every day that will eventually make up our life and the path that we look back down on our deathbeds. If we fail to challenge ourselves, fail to create motivation, and fail to call ourselves to grow each day, we may find that we are never ready for the dreams that we truly wanted. So set big goals in the future, and challenge yourself every single day to make them come true.
- Creating goals that are not realistic.
While we SHOULD set goals that challenge us and call us to action each day, we should not make our goals (especially in the short term) too large that we cannot make them reality- or at least come close. Sometimes missing a goal is even more motivating than hitting one (if you come close), but when we end up way off the mark, it can actually discourage us and cause us to be less likely to set goals in the future. Dream big, but also dream realistically. In 20 years what you think is possible will change a lot with enough hard work, but if you can’t walk 3 miles today, you aren’t going to go out and run 3 miles in 18 minutes next week.
- Not setting short and long term goals in conjunction.
We must set both long term and short term goals if we truly seek to meet our dreams in the future. Short term goals challenge our will power, call us to action each day, and give us a clear point on the horizon to focus on, while long term goals ensure that we stay on the path towards what is REALLY important to us. Too much focus on the short term can cause us to miss opportunities or dreams in the future, and too much focus on the long term can overwhelm us and leave us paralyzed from fear. It takes a fine balance between short and long term goals to keep us focused, challenged, and on the right path.
- Not setting small daily and weekly goals to support larger goals.
While many of us look forward towards the future excitedly anticipating our dreams, it is easy to lose track of the power of each passing moment and day. In order to make the most of your short time in life, you must ensure that you set small goals for yourself each day that will have a cumulative effect of causing you to reach your destination somewhere in the future. For example: if your goals is to go to every country in the world before you die, it would make more sense to set the goal of seeing 10 countries per year (around1 per month), then it would be to wait and assume that you can see every country in 2 years. By focusing on making a little bit of progress one day at a time, we can keep a firm grasp on our future goals and plans as well.
So there is your top 10 list of goal setting mistakes. Are You guilty of any of these, or did you learn anything? What are you doing to make sure you reach your goals? Chime in in the comment section below or reach out to us on twitter or Facebook and tell us what is in your future plans!