15 Common Goal Setting Mistakes
It is now several weeks into the New Year. How are your resolutions coming along? I’ve been researching some common goal setting mistakes this week so I can continue to motivate myself and I wanted to share what I’ve learned – because to be honest, I’m struggling with the exercise goal ! How about you, how are your preparedness goals coming along?
As a reminder, goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. I found that goals can even be SMARTER with the E and R standing for Exciting and Rewarding– you are more likely to follow through if you are excited about the goal and find its outcome rewarding.
UC Davis has a different take on it and Phil Gerbyshak has an article about SMARTER goals here.
1. Setting Unrealistic goals – They are vague or so far in the future you aren’t overly motivated to accomplish them. Maybe you’ve set goals that are too challenging or too easy.
2. Focusing on too few areas – You only took the time to set a few goals. You could be thinking too narrowly. Maybe you didn’t even aim at all.
3. Underestimating completion time – Did you remember to set an end date? Deadlines are essential to staying motivated. If you set a completion date maybe it needs to be re-evaluated.
4. Not appreciating failure – What can you learn from the last three weeks and how can you turn this failure into a win? Failure can motivate us to action just as much as success can – as long as we appreciate it and move on.
5. Setting other peoples goals – ‘Nuf said, you knew from the beginning that it was just for appearances!
6. Setting negative goals – This goal setting thing is all about how you feel about it. So, instead of setting a goal to “lose weight”, which has a negative feel (because it focuses on what you don’t want – your weight), change it to a positive statement like “get healthy.”
7. Setting too many goals – You have so many goals that you can’t keep them straight.
8. Quantity-vs-Quality – Not focusing on your most important and audacious goal. You find that you are picking and choosing the easy ones, but not necessarily the most important.
9. You’ve spent your time planning, instead of committing to a real goal – All the planners and good intentions in the world won’t work if you fail to put it in gear.
10. Failure to come to terms with the fears associated with the goal – Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Did you define the challenges? What is getting in your way? Make sure you understand your environment and the challenges you are facing.
11. Not understanding the big picture – Have you defined your reason for doing the goal? Wanting to accomplish a goal because of our values can be more motivational than doing it for material reasons. So what is your big picture, value-vs-material?
12. Not setting short term goals as a way to reach the big one – It helps to break it down into smaller parts and review the progress. What are the measurements for your goal at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months?
13. Setting all or nothing goals – If you’re not enjoying the process, you’ve set the wrong goals!
14. Not defining a clear measurement for achievement – This is bigger than the time frame (#3), you forgot to decide how you will know when the goal is accomplished. What is your end game?
15. Not visualizing what your goal will look, feel, and sound like – Have you taken the time to clearly visualize how it will look and feel while accomplishing your goal? This link about visual goal setting might be just what I need. Here are Phil’s suggestions from Brian Mayne’s Seven Step Goal Mapping:
Dream – What do you want to achieve?
Order – Which goals take priority?
Draw – Communicate your goals to your self-concious
Why – Identify your emotional drivers
When – Define your timeline
How – What are the actions you need to take?
Who – Choose the people or organizations that can help you?
A bit different from the SMARTER goals I talked about setting last week, but still very powerful. I prefer SMARTER, but I would rather have you set ANY goals instead of NO goals, and I like the “Who?” addition, because it’s tough to make it great alone.
These are the things I’m going to look at this week. I challenge you to evaluate your goals and see if any of these 15 common goal setting mistakes are keeping you from becoming what you want to be. Keep at it!
What are your most successful goal setting strategies? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Madhusree Basu says
Excellent post Shelle.
Also, I find that having a long term goal say for 5 years, can make a whole lot of difference.