“Goals just don’t work for me”
Yep, it does for me too.
Because in the past I decided that goals just didn’t work for me.
But the truth is, this was just another way I was keeping myself playing small.
I didn’t want to fail and by not setting myself goals I knew that I wasn’t failing, but I also wasn’t doing what I wanted either.
Goal setting can get a bit of a bad rap for being too rigid, for making people feel disappointed and like a failure if they don’t achieve them.
But I’ve found that goals can be super empowering and powerful, and can help us to:
Consciously create the life we want. Live a life that truly fulfils us and makes us happy. Move forward towards our vision. Be motivated to take action. Keep us accountable for what we truly want. And to help us make what we want — our actual reality.
If you’re wanting to set yourself goals that empower you and inspire you to take action and keep moving forward, here’s 9 goal setting mistakes that I often see (and have made myself!) In other words, here’s what NOT to do when it comes to setting goals.
A little note before we dive in: It’s totally okay if you’re making any of these goal setting mistakes. I know that throughout my life I’ve made every single one of these at some point.
If you want your goals to serve you, read on…
Knowing that you want something and not setting a goal is like trying to shoot an arrow without a target, you don’t really know where to aim.
I get that we don’t like to set goals because it’s easier to pretend that we don’t want something than it is to say we want something and for it not to happen, but if you’re ready to step up and start owning what you want — and working towards it — it’s time to start getting friendly with goals.
Start by: Being honest with yourself about what you want and setting a goal.
Having a goal in mind in your head is good, but taking the time to actual declare what it is by writing it down — that’s even more powerful.
I know for me, as soon as I put pen to paper and actual write my goal down, it becomes more “real”.
Writing your goal down can also help you to work out how you can word it in a way that’s empowering for you.
Start by: Declaring what your goal is by writing it down.
Aiming to climb Mount Everest when you haven’t exercised in months? Not exactly realistic.
On the other hand, aiming to be able to complete the local fun run in 3 months? This is a more realistic goal.
A huge mistake people make when it comes to goals is they set goals that are totally unrealistic, which can be completely overwhelming and also lead to a “why bother” attitude because the goal is so far out of their reach.
Goals definitely should challenge and stretch you — however they should also be realistic as well.
This might mean making sure the goal itself is achievable, or coming up with a realistic time-frame that you want to achieve the goal in.
Start by: Making your goal realistic.
“Be fitter” is a vague goal.
“Be fit enough to complete the local fun run” is a much clearer and specific goal.
Setting goals that are vague and ambiguous are not powerful at all, and definitely do not set you up for success.
Goals that are ambiguous are hard to achieve because it’s unclear what it is you want (and then, what you will need to do to get there) and it will also be unclear if you’ve achieved it or not.
It’s much more powerful to get really clear on what you want and set a goal that is really specific.
Start by: Making your goal clear and specific.
Setting a goal but not knowing why you want to achieve does not set you up for success at all.
It can lead you to getting unmotivated because you don’t feel connected to your goal enough to take action.
And it can also lead you to achieving your goal and realising that you don’t feel accomplished at all.
Getting clear on why you want to achieve something is important to make sure that you’re goal really is what YOU want and also so you feel connected to the goal and are more likely to take action to achieve it.
Start by: Getting clear on why you want to achieve this goal and why it is important to you.
There’s no point in setting a goal and then completely forgetting about it.
It’s important to regularly check in with your goal to see if it’s still aligned to you (if it’s what you really want), to reflect on your progress and to remind you to keep taking action.
I find checking in with my goals to be a really good reminder for me to work out what I need to do next to move forward and make it happen.
Start by: Making a note to check in with your goal at frequent intervals.
“Enrol in life coach training, learn how to become a life coach, start a website, build a social media following, and graduate as a life coach.”
This goal is so overwhelming because there is so much going on in it.
To make a goal more powerful it’s important to set a goal that is focused and concise.
For example you might make the goal above into two specific goals:
1. Become a certified life coach.
2. Launch a website that I’m proud of.
Or even combine the main parts: Become a certified life coach and launch a website that I’m proud of.
And the other parts of the goal like enrol in life coach training can make a really good step to take to achieve the more focused goal.
Start by: Making your goal focused and not a to-do list of what you need to do.
There’s no point setting a goal and then hoping for the best.
If you want to achieve something it’s important to help yourself and set yourself up for success.
If you tend to forget about your goals, you might write your goal down and put it somewhere you see it everyday, or set a reminder to go off on your phone every single day,
If in the past you’ve gotten really overwhelmed by your goals, you might like to break it down into manageable steps and actions to take, so it’s more do-able (and less overwhelming).
And if you’re goal is to be able to complete the local fun run, and you’ve decided that each morning you will go for a walk, set yourself up for success by lying your clothes out and runners the night before.
Start by: Doing something to set yourself up for success with this goal.
If you want to be motivated to take action and achieve a goal, you need to set a goal that is really inspiring for you.
“Go on an epic overseas adventure to Europe” might be more inspiring for you than “Save for an overseas holiday.”
“Find a job that I’m excited to do each day” might be more inspiring than “Get a new job.”
A goal that’s inspiring helps us to be motivated and more likely to take action towards achieving it.
Start by: Setting a goal that inspires you.
Now I’d love to hear from you: What goal setting mistake do you make the most? Feel free to share away in the comments.
Bringing awareness to this is powerful, because then we can make decisions and do things to help ourselves.
The goal setting mistake I have made the most was setting a goal and then not taking the time to continually check in with it, and therefore not taking action towards achieving it. And once I was aware of this I started to write a reminder in my diary each week to check in with my goals.
Here’s to setting goals that serve us!
Love & Gratitude,
PS. If you’re wanting some help in setting goals that serve and empower you, step right this way.
PPS. You might also like: Feeling overwhelmed by your goals? Here’s how to move forward anyway.