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It’s now been a good two weeks since we’ve welcomed the New Year. How have you been in achieving your goals?

If you’re still going strong, congratulations! You deserve a pat on the back.

Of the many of those that took the time to do some goal setting to greet the New Year right, 80% would have given up on them by February, and only 8% would have achieved their goals at the end of this year.

Why such a high mortality rate?

For many years, I was a part of the majority.

I would spend the last few days of the previous year setting goals I want to achieve. I would be all fired up, energized, and ready to crush my goals. However, no matter how I determined I thought I was, I’d always find myself slipping and struggling to stay focused on achieving my goals.

As it turns out, the reason why I kept struggling was that I was making many goal setting mistakes. And I wasn’t alone.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you 8 goal setting mistakes I made and watch other make and tips on what to do so you stay focused and accomplish your goals.

8 goal setting mistakes

1. Setting way too many goals.


For many of us, a brand new year is a clean slate.

As you begin setting your goals and write down everything that you want to accomplish, you’re very optimistic that this coming year will be better. However, in your excitement and eagerness to start the new year with a bang, you find yourself with a list of more goals than you can handle.

Rather than inspire you, setting too many goals can make you feel overwhelmed. It makes you prone to getting burned out more often.

Before long, even the mere thought of doing something to accomplish your goals can make you feel anxious and depressed.

How to fix this:

Goal setting is meant to bring focus to your life. So if you’re starting to feel your list of set goals is beginning to overwhelm you, it’s time to re-assess and evaluate your goals.

Go through your list and pick only three goals that you want to accomplish first. This can help you stay focused on them more easily.

I suggest writing these three goals down on a separate sheet of paper. That way, you don’t see the rest of the other goals you want to accomplish. Otherwise, you’ll start getting that overwhelming feeling again.

Once you’ve accomplished these three goals, take out your “master list” and then choose another three. Repeat the same process until you’ve gone through all the goals you’ve set for yourself.

2. Your goals are too broad or vague.

woman confused

Do you have any goals listed that look like these?

“I want to lose weight.”

“Start my online business this year.”

“Earn more money.”

If you do, then this could be another reason why you’re struggling to accomplish your goals because they’re not clear and specific enough.

How to fix this:

Being very specific on your goals is crucial for it sets a benchmark for you to know when you’ve achieved it.

For example, if earning more money is one of your goals, how much more money do you want to earn? $500? $1,000? $100,000? Putting a percentage or a specific number will help you know when you’ve achieved this goal.

Second, it also helps you determine your action plan to take to progress towards this goal.

If starting an online business is one of your set goals, some of the things you need to be clear about are:

What kind of product or service will you offer?

Is this going to be a full-time business or part-time?

Who are going to be your customers?

Once you’re clear about this, then you’ll be in a better position to take action. Perhaps you have to take a few courses to learn new skills, or you’ll need to adjust your schedule to devote a certain number of hours each day to it.

An excellent way to make sure that your goals are clear is by following the SMART method.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Here are some questions to look for in the goals you’ve written to make sure that they’re SMART:

  • What do you want to achieve? (Specific)
  • How much or how many? (Measurable)
  • Do I have the time and resources to accomplish this goal? (Attainable)
  • Is this something that I can achieve if I focus on this? (Realistic)
  • When should I reach this goal (Time-bound)

4. You’re not evaluating your progress.

You’ll encounter lots of challenges and setbacks on your path to reaching your goals. Often, they can become extremely challenging that it’s very easy for you to feel like you’re not making any progress.

That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to track and evaluate your progress. When you can see how far you’ve come from where you started, it lifts you, revitalizes you, and encourages you to press forward.

Another reason why it’s crucial to evaluate your goals is that you’ll find yourself coming across some great opportunities along the way. However, not all of these opportunities may be aligned with the goals you’ve initially set. Unless you take the time to review these opportunities for the goals you’ve set, you may find yourself drifting away from your goals as you pursue them.

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How to fix this:

Journaling is one of the best ways I found to help me evaluate and review my goals. Every night before I go to bed, I take a few minutes to write about the good and bad things that happen.

Whenever I need some encouragement, I would take out my journal and read through my entries. Reading about all the challenges I overcame invigorates me and shows me just how far I’ve come.

Displaying a vision board of my goals where you can easily see them helps. Each time you come across an opportunity that sounds great, look at your vision board and ask yourself whether this opportunity fits anywhere in your vision board.

5. Not embracing failure.

Perhaps one of the most significant goal setting mistakes people make is quickly giving up on the first sign of failure.

The thing is, experiencing failures and setbacks are part of the journey to successfully achieving your goals. This is one thing that all the successful men and women we’ve come to admire share in common.

Take Oprah Winfrey, for example. She was fired as an anchorwoman from a local television network before going on to becoming the most successful and influential female talk show host of all time.

J. K. Rowling was broke, divorced, a single mom, and received 12 rejection letters from publishers for her book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Today, the Harry Potter series is now the among the most well-loved books of Muggles of all ages, making her the wealthiest female author today.

Or how about Vera Wang? She tried to become a fashion writer but was rejected by Vogue magazine to become their editor-in-chief. Ironically, the very same magazine that refused her now includes many of her bridal gowns and other dresses she designs in their issues.

How to fix this:

Rather than giving up on the first setback you encounter, understand that this is just a part of your journey. It also just means that you’re only human.

Brush yourself, get back up, and learn from your mistakes. After all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. However, that will just happen if you believe it.

6. Living out other people’s goals.


Believe it or not, many are pursuing goals that were suggested—even forced—to them by their parents or other people close to them.

Even though they mean well and want the best for you, if these goals aren’t those that excite you or are passionate about, you’ll never feel the same sense of accomplishment and happiness you read about. Because of that, it’s very easy for you to give up on these on the first sign of difficulty.

7. Focusing your goal setting on one area of your life.

Another common goal setting mistake people make is only to set goals for one aspect of their lives.

The majority of the goals people set lots of career or business goals for themselves and not enough for the other aspects of their lives. This is why many end up still feeling unfulfilled and unhappy despite on how many goals they accomplished.

How to fix this:

Setting goals for your career or business is great, but don’t stop there. Make sure also to take the time to set physical goals, relationship goals, spiritual or mental goals, and even personal growth goals. Not only will this add variety, but will give you the opportunity to do something you can end up enjoying.

8. Not celebrating your success.

In many cases, the reason why people tend to give up pursuing their goals is that they get burned out.

Think of it like going on a road trip. Now and then, you will need to stop to refuel your car or else you’ll never reach your destination.

That’s what celebrating each milestone you accomplish does for you. Whether you’re pursuing a long-term or short-term goal, it requires a great deal from you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Taking the time to celebrate each time you accomplish a milestone or goal, you give yourself the opportunity to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate yourself.

Renowned coach and best-selling author Anthony Robbins says that two things motivate us into action: avoiding pain or gaining pleasure.

Assigning a treat for each milestone or goal that you’ll treat yourself to when you accomplish this gives you something to look forward to. It’s also going to help you keep on going and help you stay focused.

How to fix this:

Take a look at your set goals and milestones and assign yourself something that you want to do or receive when you accomplish this. Make sure that the treat you give yourself is proportionate to the goal or milestone you’ve set.

Treating yourself to a luxurious day at the spa or a fancy dinner can be appropriate to celebrate a milestone you’ve accomplished this week. A weekend road trip can be a great incentive to reward yourself for crushing a big goal.

Goal setting is one of the pillars to success and becoming your best self. Becoming more aware of these goal setting mistakes would help you stay focused on accomplishing your goal.

What is one goal setting mistake you’ve committed? How did you overcome it? Share this in the comments below.


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