We all have goals that we want to achieve both big and small but sometimes we find out that we’re not making any progress. This could be because we are making some mistakes when setting our goals that we may have failed to realize. In this week’s blog post, we’re going to explore some common goal setting mistakes that we should avoid making if we’re not making them already. Let’s gooo!
Common Goal Setting Mistakes
To be truly successful in life, we need goals and aspirations, something to look forward to and that’s where goal setting comes in. Goal setting can be very empowering, motivating and inspiring (to you and others) when done right. For that to happen, the goals you set must be effective. When you set effective goals, you progress faster towards the life you crave.
However, if you make any of the goal setting mistakes, mentioned below, you’ll only be wasting your time and you may end up quitting before long. You should get familiar with the trappings of some common goal setting mistakes so you don’t fall victim. Without further ado, here are some of these goal setting mistakes:
1. Setting Tasks Not Goals
Goals are only truly effective when they help you grow through challenges and what have you, but if you can breeze through them then they are not effective goals but merely tasks. For example, I do chores daily but it doesn’t mean they’re helping me grow anymore, they are things I can easily and sometimes mindlessly do and they don’t seem to add any progressive value.
If you find yourself always breezing through things you’ll start to feel bored and may start questioning the meaning of life (yes, it can get that deep sometimes). As humans, what makes us feel alive and even human is overcoming challenges we face, so if you find yourself crushing your goals all too easily, you might want to re-evaluate.
2. Setting Too Many Goals
When you set too many goals, you may become like a spider caught in its own web. It is counterproductive. As I mentioned in my post, 7 Solid Ways to Motivate Yourself, setting too many goals become “competing motivations” and since you cannot multiply yourself like the Shadow Clone Justu, you’ll end up not really making progress on any of your goals, at least not to the otherwise fullest extent. In other words, according to Mind Tools, “you have a fixed amount time and energy. If you try to focus on many different goals at once, you can't give individual goals the attention they deserve.”
When setting goals and cherry picking which ones you should go for, you have to prioritize and pick quality over quantity as cliché as it sounds. I recommend focusing your goals on no more than in 3-4 different areas of your life such as health, wealth, relationships, etc.
The key thing here is to be stingy with your focus and keep your goals limited. Speaking from experience, it doesn’t do you any good trying to spread yourself too thin trying to accomplish a million and one goals, it’s just not worth it because you end up abandoning your goals altogether. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
3. Not Planning
There is the popular saying that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” It even starts with writing your goals down, attaching the necessary mind set to accomplish said goals, actions you need to take and smaller tasks you need to perform.
Don’t underestimate the power of planning, it can turn a difficult goal into a fairly simple one and a lack of planning can turn a simple goal into quite the stubborn one to accomplish. What’s the harm in planning? It improves your chance of winning... if Daenerys Targaryen stuck to the plan, maybe she won’t be losing dragons every other week or so many soldiers and trusted subordinates.
When it comes to planning and goal setting, the three most important things in my opinion would be clarity of purpose, breaking your goals down into smaller bits and taking action. Once you’ve gotten these three things down to a T, it will make even bigger, long-term goals much easier to achieve.
For more on planning, see 11 Steps for Creating an Effective Plan.
4. Setting Unrealistic Goals
In this social media era and what seems to be microwave success, we seem to want to get things too quickly, unnaturally quickly at that. As a young person who came into my own when social media was getting off its legs, I find myself asking, they’ve made everything easily accessible; lost contact with an old friend? You can find them on Facebook; bored? You can watch any video of your choice on YouTube or Netflix; single and horny? Sign up for Tinder; want to pay for something? You only need one click! So why is success not quick? Well, so far smart people haven’t come up with an app for legit overnight success so maybe in the 3000s.
Anyway, back to the present... Many of us put pressure on ourselves by trying to achieve our goals at unnatural speed or magnitude. For example, an unknown artist wanting to “blow” off their first ever song is usually as unrealistic as dinosaurs coming back to life or Buhari staying in Nigeria for long or Trump saying smart stuff.
Setting unrealistic goals are a recipe for disaster; So make sure to set goals that are actually SMART i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (see How to Set Your Goals & Smash Them). For example, losing 50 kg of fat in 4-6 months through a strict regimen is a SMART goal.
Also, be sure your goals are within your control because if you can’t control your goals then they’re rendered less effective. For example, as an artist, “blowing up” in a month might not be within your control but bettering your craft is, building your profile on social media, networking, etc. are definitely within your control. While you’re at it, take a look at past goals that you weren’t able to achieve, see if you can revise them, and try again.
5. Not Tracking or Reviewing Your Progress
A goal that cannot be tracked, reviewed or measured is not a SMART goal. Achieving any set goal will take a decent amount of time and sometimes you may not feel like you’re seeing much progress, what you should do in times like these is to track and review your goals.
Think about it this way, if you submit two essays and you get the first one back with some feedback on where you went right and wrong versus the second essay where you didn’t receive any sort of feedback, which is more beneficial to your development? The former right?
This is exactly why tracking and reviewing your goals regularly are important so you know how much you’ve accomplished so far. For example, if you plan to save N100000 but you don’t bother to count how much you’ve already put forward, how will you know how much you still need to reach your goal amount?
Tracking and reviewing is also good for knowing where you’ve gone wrong so you can readjust and if need be, re-evaluate and change or update an obsolete goal. Goals are never set in stone, so don't be afraid to amend them if you need to. And if they’re set in stone, sometimes you just gotta break the fucking stone!
It is also important that when you reach a small or big goal(s) you should reward your success, it goes a long way in the continuous goal setting process.
In conclusion, when setting your goals you need to know if they’re goals and not tasks, not too many, have a solid plan, SMART and make sure you track and review them on a regular basis. Additionally, make sure your goals are yours and yours alone and not the brain child of someone who wants to live vicariously through you or people you’re trying to impress or appease.
Quotes of the Day
i. “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” - Michael Korda
ii. “It is important to set your own goals and work hard to achieve them.” - Yuichiro Miura
iii. “A goal properly set is a halfway reached.” - Zig Ziglar
iv. “In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” - Unknown
v. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” - Albert Einstein
WELL, THAT’S IT FROM ME GUYS. NOW...
Are you guilty of making some of these mistakes or have you been guilty and aren’t anymore? Comment below. Help me and others by Sharing this on social media, SUBSCRIBE to my blog for awesome weekly content and to get my free e-books. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next time!
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!