Goal Diggers: 5 Mistakes Holding You Back

In this second of a series of articles on Goals and Values, we’re looking at some common mistakes in goal setting that could be holding you back.  I know I’ve made these mistakes (and still do from time to time), so it’s also a good reminder for me!

Sometimes it feels like simply having goals is good enough. So many people go through life without direction. The fact that you have carefully crafted a list of goals feels like a win.  Right?

However, while goal-setting is critical, it’s not the whole story.

To achieve your goals, they need to be part of your daily life, not just a list you tuck away, or a document you save in a file called ‘goals’.

If you have a list of goals and no idea how to achieve them, here are 5 common mistakes that could be holding you back.

Looking at Your Goals as a Static List

Many people think that once you’ve set your goals, that’s it. They are written in stone. Or, they only set New Years’ goals and then see how it goes.

We are constantly evolving and our goals need to change with us. Schedule time to regularly assess your goals. We often assume that we are the problem – we aren’t working hard enough, or we aren’t talented or skilled enough. But sometimes the issue is with the goal itself and it needs to be adjusted to align with what is important to us.

Periodic reviews will help with this.

Your Goals Lack a Sense of Urgency

After the initial rush of goal setting, we often settle back down to ‘real life’. We feel like we have plenty of time to achieve our goals when the time is right.

A sense of urgency contributes to successfully achieving your goals. It motivates you to perform, it provides focus, and it promotes consistency. Be clear about the negative consequences of inaction and set a timeframe for completion. This will create a sense of urgency and kick your goals into high gear.

Have a play with 12-week goal periods – this creates a sense of urgency, gives us clear activities for a set period and sets us up to achieve.

You Have Too Many Long-Term Goals

To continue to feel motivated and focused, you need to have short-term goals related to your big picture goals. Create some quick wins to keep you upbeat and confident.

You Have Unrealistic Expectations

I’m putting my hand up here!  Sometimes we set the bar too high. Our overall goal is positive and attainable, but the timeframe for achieving it isn’t. Or the frequency of the behavior is unrealistic.

We often underestimate the time it will take us to achieve the goal and complete the tasks related to it. This can undermine our confidence, cause stress, strain relationships, and cause us to give up on the overall goal.

You Don’t Have a System of Accountability

Once you set your goals, you should also develop an accountability plan. This could involve working with a coach, a friend, mentor, or business partner. Having outside support and encouragement is critical if you start to lose motivation and need someone to help you see the situation from a different angle.

Working towards your goal in isolation is difficult.

Enlisting the help of an ‘accountability buddy’ can help. You can keep each other focused on your goals, provide feedback, and hold each other accountable if you don’t meet the goals you’ve both agreed to.

Sometimes it’s the goals that need to be reworked – not you. Revise your goals, maintain a sense of urgency, break your big picture goals down into micro-goals, set realistic expectations, and find a way to hold yourself accountable.

If you’re after some support around goals and values, please reach out to me to discuss goal setting and achievement mentoring.  You can reach me here.

Everything Counts!

Written by Michelle McFadyen.

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