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Goals. You’ve probably set goals before, but maybe like me you’ve discovered you’re not great at making them happen. There are some common mistakes, and it pays to know what they are. There is a difference between setting goals & setting goals that you can actually make happen. Knowing how to set good goals starts with knowing the common mistakes first. Then, you can move toward making them happen!
While setting goals is generally a good thing, setting goals can also be a bad thing if we are doing things that set us up for failure. I don’t know about you, but when I set goals only to fall short nearly right out of the gate, it is so discouraging. Discouragement is just not something I need any more of in my life. At least if it is discouragement or disappointment that I can avoid.
After creating goals and not achieving them on a regular basis, I figured that there has got to be a better way of doing this. I started looking for commonalities among the places and reasons that I fell short. And what I came up with were some pretty common things. I found that I was repeatedly doing some things that were creating stumbling blocks that kept me from achieving my goals.
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Maybe through my repeated shortcomings, I can pass along the stumbling blocks that I discovered to perhaps save you from falling into the same trap that I used to. Actually, I can still fall victim to these same stumbling blocks if I’m not keeping my eyes open to watch our for them.
With that, here are some common mistakes & how to actually set good goals!
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1. You’re not writing your goals down
Writing down goals is the first step toward achieving them. In the same way, if you’re not writing them down, you’re handicapping yourself. Writing down your goals helps organize your thoughts, making them more actionable in the process. Writing down your goals also provides a sense of accountability since they aren’t just floating around in your head somewhere.
Speaking of having things floating around in your head. I find that if your goals are floating around in your head, that is most likely where they will stay.
2. You’re not learning from past mistakes
The past is one of our best teachers. Often when we set and later miss the mark on a goal, we set the same goal again at some point. While there is nothing wrong having an attitude of trying again if you don’t succeed, if you didn’t succeed the first time, it will be beneficial to determine the reasons why if you want to succeed the second or third time around. The past can be a great teacher as long as you are taking an honest look to the past.
3. You’re adopting the goals of others
So often we perceive others and their plans, situations, and future goals to be more appealing than our own. Admiring someone worthy of our admiration is certainly a good thing and can inspire us toward growth – as long as we are not trying to be that person.
We are all unique in who we are, in our pasts, in our futures, in our family dynamics, and so much more. There is a big difference between admiring someone who inspires us to be a better person and letting what we perceive to be the entity of that person to blur the lines of who we are – and of who we want to be. Make sure that when you are setting goals, you are doing so with your unique personality, situation, seasons, and situation in mind.
4. You don’t provide yourself with the proper tools to set good goals
If you set the goal of running a 5k in two months but don’t purchase any running shoes, how are you to complete your goal? If you want to become more organized around your home but you don’t have baskets, bins, or any kind of storage or shelving to get organized, you will have a hard time accomplishing this goals. Getting the proper tools to accomplish the goals you set is essential.
5. You don’t have a plan to make your goals happen
I can be so good at creating a goal and then leaving it at that. If I want to achieve a goal, I know that I need to create a roadmap, a game plan, or some baby steps that are going to take me to the goal. I don’t necessarily have to have the entire roadmap completed of how to get from here to there, but I must have the first few steps laid out for sure.
6. Not doing something with each goal every day
This doesn’t mean something big, but you know how the saying goes,” out of sight, out of mind.” If you are not keeping your goal in the forefront of your mind, it won’t be in the forefront of your “to-do” list either. That will most likely mean that you could very well not be accomplishing that goal.
7. You don’t have a good accountability partner
I will admit that this is often something that I don’t do, but that doesn’t mean it’s good thing. If I want to set myself up with the greatest chance of accomplishing goals, I know that bringing someone on board, even if I am just telling them very informally of what I am doing, will really help me accomplish that goal.
8. You are not revisiting, tweaking, and making changes to your goals
When we set goals, life often has a way of getting in the way somewhere down the line. Life changes, interruptions occur, and things go wrong that all affect our lives in some way. Therefore, goals should be fluid just as life is fluid. Setting a goal and then not revisiting it to tweak it means that you may not be achieving that goal at all.
9. You’re looking at setbacks as failures
Setbacks are not failures. In fact, setbacks can often be a warning sign that can get us back on the road to success and on our way quicker than had we not experienced that setback in the first place. However, it is so easy to see the backsliding steps as a failure and then to beat ourselves up about them. Setbacks can help us move forward. Rather than viewing them as a cause to completely abandon your goal, resist that temptation. Let your setbacks help get you back on course to success!
I love remembering that in life there really aren’t any mistakes – only lessons!
10. Not being willing to throw in the towel
There are times, however, that you do need to let a goal go. This is especially true if you have others pointing this out to you. If others are telling you that you may be in the wrong place, oftentimes those who are close to us can recognize a pitfall before we do.
Don’t just dismiss those friends and loved ones who are trying to keep you from going someplace you shouldn’t be. When you start getting a feeling that a goal needs to be scrapped, when you have been pursuing something that has been going in a downward spiral for awhile, it may be time to let it go. Refusing to do so only makes accomplishing other goals more difficult. You can easily wind up exhausted and worn out trying to pursue a losing battle. There are times that it is necessary to let go of a goal.
Goals are great things, but goals must be realistic as well. If you find yourself having difficulty accomplishing your goals, check for these 10 stumbling blocks. If you find them, get rid of them!