10 Common Goal Setting Mistakes You Are Making

Common goal setting mistakes

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Hey friend, do you ever set goals in your head but then fail to follow through? It happens to the best of us. When setting goals, it’s important to do it the right way. If you don’t, you’re not setting yourself up for the best chance at success. There might be some mistakes in your goal setting process. Today I’ll go over some common goal setting mistakes that I see people making all the time.


Do you ever feel like you are adrift in this world? Or you work so hard but you aren’t moving forward? 

Well, one reason you probably feel this way is because you haven’t put enough thought into what you want from life and you haven’t set goals towards achieving that which you want. 

But if you have thought about what you want from life and set your goals towards achieving them, and it still seems like you aren’t seeing any changes, then it means you are making some common goal setting mistakes. Not setting a goal is like going on a journey without a destination—you will likely get lost on the way. Meanwhile, not setting your goals right is like going on a journey without having the important things that you would need during the journey. 

Although you know your destination, you may never get there.

Goal setting is an important part of every sphere in a human’s life. It helps to provide a sense of direction, motivation, clarity of focus, and importance. Knowing how important goal setting is, one must make sure to carry it out correctly and avoid any type of mistake. 

Common Goal Setting Mistakes

This article will be highlighting 10 common goal setting mistakes you are making and help to put you back on track!

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1. Neglecting to write down your goals

Mark Victor Hanse said, “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.”

One common goal setting mistake that people make is neglecting to write down their goals.

Writing down your goals increases the chances of you achieving them because it subconsciously registers it in your brain. It would serve as a reminder that you can always go back to check and remind yourself of what you should do or what you have done.

This is why it is very important that you write down your goals. You could write them in a journal that you keep beside your bed, in a sticky note stuck to your mirror, or a notes app on your phone or laptop. Find the writing method that works for you and adopt it.

 

2. Not setting a S.M.A.R.T Goal

Setting a S.M.A.R.T goal means adopting the S.M.A.R.T. principle when setting your goals which would increase the chances of achieving your set goals.

S.M.A.R.T stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. When setting your goals, you must ensure that it has all of these elements.

Let us examine what it means for your goal to be S.M.A.R.T below:

Specific: This means that your goal must be clear and well defined, not vague or ambiguous. To set a specific goal, you must put the five “W’ questions into consideration;

– Who is the person or persons involved in this goal?

– What exactly do you aim to achieve?

– Where will this goal be achieved?

– When do you want to achieve this goal?

– Why do you want to achieve this goal?

You must specifically narrow down each of your goals and how you intend to achieve every one of them. If you don’t do this, there is a very high possibility that you won’t get anything done.

Measurable: Your goal must have a criterion that can be used to determine your progress. Without this, you won’t know if you are still on track or how much progress you have made. Your goal must have a progress indicator. Once you have determined what it is, then use it to determine your progress. 

Achievable: Your goal must be something attainable and not impossible to achieve. When your goal is achievable, you will be able to figure out ways to accomplish it and work towards it. Ask yourself if you have the resources to carry out the goals and achieve them. If you don’t, then figure out the ways you can acquire the resources you need.

Realistic: This means that your goal must be realistically achievable considering the resources and time you have at hand. Ask yourself if the goal is realistic and within reach and if you will be able to commit to achieving it.

Timely: This means that you must set a deadline for achieving your goal. Your goal should be time-bound, therefore it must have a start and finish date.

Having a set deadline helps to keep you on your toes but if your goal is not timely, you won’t have a sense of urgency or motivation towards achieving it. In fact, the more concrete your deadline is, the better for your goals. Include your deadline on your calendar or set yourself a reminder.

 

3. Saying Yes to Every Opportunity and setting too many goals

Not knowing what opportunity to say no to will derail you from achieving your set goal.

The truth is that everything you do in life is at the expense of something else, therefore if you take up every opportunity that comes your way, you won’t be able to concentrate on doing the most important things that would lead you towards achieving your goals.

For example, if your friend invites you to a party and you know that you don’t need to go, you must learn to say no. The time you would spend at the party could be used to do something else that would take you a step further towards achieving your goals.

Also, you may get too excited about the prospect of setting goals that you might end up setting too many which are not feasible to achieve and definitely beyond your capacity.

You must realize that you don’t have all the time in the world, therefore you must choose your goals wisely and prioritize achieving the important ones. When setting your goals, you must choose quality over quantity. 

 

4. Not being accountable

Accountability is very important when it comes to setting and achieving your goals, you must be able to account for all the steps you have taken and the time you have spent towards achieving your goal.

This would help you to determine if you are doing the right thing, slacking in your actions, or not doing anything at all in line with your goals.

You may realize that you are always busy but you are still not making progress. This is because you are either busy doing the wrong thing or busy doing nothing tangible. Being accountable will help you to determine what you are doing wrong or right. 

 

5. Lack of commitment

It is absolutely fine to write down your goals and be excited about achieving them. But if you are not committed enough towards taking the necessary steps and following through, you will never get anything done.

Indeed, life can sometimes get in the way of our plans, and emergencies may come up at any time. Nonetheless, your level of commitment towards achieving your set goals will determine the number of goals you will achieve eventually irrespective of the situation life may present.

 

6. Not considering the long term aspect of your goals

You shouldn’t only consider the present when you are setting your goals, you need to also consider what would happen in the long term and the future. If you don’t put this into consideration, then you will be making a mistake.

Think about what your set goal will lead to in the next five to twenty years down the line. Do this before you set your short term goals. Don’t set your short term goals first without picturing what the future will be like. 

 

7. Not having a reason for achieving your set goal

You must have a reason why you chose a particular goal that you set to achieve. If you don’t have a reason for choosing a particular goal, you will end up feeling unfulfilled even when you achieve the goal. 

Just like prioritizing which goals to carry out, don’t just set random goals. Choose a goal that means something to you.

Learn the reason why your goal is important to you. Once you have found out your “why”, you will even have greater motivation and reason to accomplish the set goal. Ultimately, you will feel good and fulfilled after accomplishing the goal.

 

8. Failing to review and revise your goals

It is not enough to just set goals and set out to achieve them. You must also take some time to check your progress and consider how far you have gone.

Reviewing and revising your goal will also help you to determine if you have to make any changes to what you have been doing towards achieving your goals. You will also be able to know if you are making progress, being stagnant, or moving backward.

No matter how slow your progress may seem, you can always get better by using the evaluation process. Also, don’t forget to celebrate your small wins and look towards completing greater tasks.

This process may even help you to update your to-do list, courtesy of any knowledge that you may have gained newly. Furthermore, this approach will help you re-strategize and know what’s next.

 

9. Not strategizing

You saw this coming, didn’t you? It is good to write down the goals you set out to achieve but it is even better to know and write out how you plan to achieve each of these goals. 

This is where strategizing comes in; you’ve got to strategize and write out your plans or strategies on how to achieve these goals accordingly.

One of the tools that will help you to strategize and break down what you need to do towards achieving your goals is a Task Manager.

Not using a task manager is one of the most common goal setting mistakes that people make. 

A task manager will help you to break your plans down into what you can do every day to bring you towards your goals. It helps to keep you on track with your progress, be more consistent with them, and get more done quickly.

Not having your plans broken down into little tasks can make them very overwhelming to achieve. When you put your goals into little tasks, it will help you to achieve them faster and make you more productive.

There are varieties of Task Manger apps online that you can use, some examples are Productivity Planner, Dream Year, etc. Check out which one works best for you and use it! Don’t just let it sit in your phone for decoration.  

 

10. Being a perfectionist

Constantly seeking for perfection on achieving your goals can slow down your progress.

You need to realize that no one is perfect and every human is bound to make mistakes at one point or the other. Your goal won’t always come out as planned. There will be errors and trails along the way. But at this point, you must be willing to work it out and get back on track.

Don’t expect everything to be perfect and don’t let the errors and mistakes you make along the way stop you from forging ahead and achieving your goals. 


Last thoughts

Pablo Picasso said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

This means that to be successful in life, you must have a plan, believe in it, and vigorously work towards achieving it. The importance of setting goals and setting them the right way can never be overemphasized. It is the secret to having a fulfilling and happy future.

To truly make progress in life, then you must determine your goals, set them, and make sure to actively work towards achieving them. If you have set goals already, check those out again to make sure that they tick all the boxes mentioned above. 

Don’t take any chances when it comes to setting your goals and setting them right. Ensure that you give all it takes to see that they are actualized.

Related reads:

Hey friend, please pin these 10 common goal setting mistakes!

Hey friend, if you made it to this point, good job! I hope you’re ready to go out and slay your goals!

If you don’t mind, please take a second to pin or share these 10 common goal setting mistakes. You could be helping someone else out too! Or who knows, maybe you want to come back to this post later on.

Common Goal Setting Mistakes

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