If you want something more, something different, or something better, then you have goals that you want to accomplish.
Whether it's to be your own boss, become fit and healthy, or reach financial freedom, I'm guessing that you'd like to turn your dreams into reality with the least amount of friction, obstacles, and problems, right?
Read on to find out 6 goal-setting mistakes you should avoid if you want to finally accomplish your goals.
Mistake #1: Working on too many goals at once
Everyone values more than one aspect of their life — career, relationships, health, hobbies, personal development, etc. — so it's only natural to want to reach level 10 in each of them. Some people, however, go overboard and stack up goals on top of one another without so much thought on how to act on them or how it might affect them.
By pursuing too many goals at once, you’re spreading yourself too thin. Not only do you have limited time, energy, attention, and money, but you also have a finite amount of patience, willpower, motivation, and other resources.
What tends to happen is you’ll end up multi-tasking which will make you inefficient. You’ll be more prone to burnout and you’ll be more likely to give up before you’ve reached any of your goals. At that point, instead of starting from scratch, you might even end up worse off than when you first started.
Mistake #2: Not considering what you need to give up
It’s fun, easy, and motivational to come up with goals for your life — where you'll be, what you'll have, and who you'll become.
But one critical mistake that people make is only thinking of their goals in terms of what they’ll gain when it should also be about what they're willing to give up.
Remember, in order to get different results, you need to do something different and this includes considering tradeoffs and making sacrifices.
You’ll need to replace your bad habits with good ones. You’ll need to work smarter, not harder. You’ll need to invest your time, energy, attention, and money on activities that give you the highest ROI instead of wasting them on activities that don't benefit you at all.
Mistake #3: Not considering your past or current situation
When talking about goal-setting, some people are usually only focused on two aspects: the what and the how.
- What their goals are in terms of their career, relationships, health, hobbies, personal development, etc.
- How they plan to achieve their dreams in terms of scheduling, breaking the goal down into small steps, developing habits, etc.
The problem here is that there's tremendous value in also considering their why.
Your past and current situation — your motives, beliefs, experiences, and background — all play a crucial role in whether the goal you're pursuing is truly relevant and important to you or not.
By taking your why into account, you’ll avoid wasting time, energy, attention, and even money. You’ll be less likely to commit the same past mistakes and you'll have a deeper motivation to reach your new goal. Lastly, you’ll get to address your limiting beliefs and debunk the myths that might be setting you up to fail before you’ve even begun.
Mistake #4: Not writing your goals down
Goal-setting is a complex, dynamic, and challenging process. If you keep your goals only in your mind, then there's a significantly less chance that it'll be clear, actionable, or sustainable.
Lack of clarity sets you up to fail almost immediately because if you're not clear about what you want, then you wouldn't be able to take the necessary actions to reach it.
Goals that aren't written down are also not actionable because your mind could be preoccupied with other thoughts that don't relate to your goals. This causes confusion and overwhelm which prevent you from focusing on getting the right things done.
Lastly, without a record of your process or progress, you wouldn't be able to identify what is working and what isn't. Your goals, therefore, become unsustainable because you couldn't make adjustments and continuously improve.
Mistake #5: Not having a review process
As you set out to accomplish your goal, you'll most definitely encounter setbacks and obstacles. Even if the action plan you've initially created seemed logical or effective, you may soon find out that it still isn't enough.
This is where a review process comes in handy. You'd be able to know what worked and what didn't, and make necessary adjustments along the way. You'd be able to identify areas for improvement, avoid going around in circles, and make the most of your resources.
Take note that this includes replacing methods that were previously believed to be sufficient and effective (such as the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting strategy) and replacing them with more comprehensive and sustainable ones.
Mistake #6: Not aligning your actions with your goals
Arguably the worst mistake you could make in terms of goal-setting is not aligning your actions with your goals.
Setting goals that are important to you is only half of the process. The other half entails taking action but more importantly, related action.
Many people who complain about their situation often don't realize that they busy themselves with unrelated activities instead of being productive and focusing their effort towards actions that routinely move the needle.
Even those who did create a plan of action may sometimes fail to follow through because of lack of accountability and self-discipline.
Remember, if your actions aren't in line with your goals, then they could be in line with other people's goals which you're working on at the expense of your own.
No one ever said setting and accomplishing goals would be easy. But by identifying and preventing possible mistakes, you're giving yourself the best chance to turn your dreams into reality without wasting much time, energy, attention, and even money.
Share in the comments: Which of these 6 mistakes have you made? Which do you most need to avoid in order to reach your current goal?
Productivity Starts With Goals
Not with tools, tactics, or quick fixes