Get Your Goals Back on Track

Five mistakes I made when setting goals for the year

Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

I set too many goals

I fell into the classic trap of setting too many goals. And not just any goals; but stretch goals. ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ as they are known in self-help literature, that are so ambitious they keep my motivation high.

I focused too much on the result, and not enough on the process to get there

Most of my goals are about an outcome — I will write my first book, I will increase my income, and so on. The problem with a focus on outcomes is that there is no way of knowing if the outcome will improve your life. And even if you think you’ll find it fulfilling, there is no way of knowing until you’ve reached it.

My goals were unrealistic

I’m an ambitious person and want to do a lot with my life. But the goals I set were simply not realistic based on the time I have available and my level of ability (ok my fitness level in particular — my t-shirts still don’t fit well).

My goals were too specific

When I initially planned my goals, I set very specific targets for myself. For example, I wanted to write three medium articles a week, come what may. When I was hitting that target, I found myself working a tonne of hours on top of my day job, and frankly became stressed out. It took the fun out of writing. When I inevitably burned out and didn’t hit my target, I felt like a failure and found it easy to give up.

I didn’t hold myself to account

Not only did I not stick with my goals, but I also failed to consistently hold myself to account. Measurement is critical for goal setting, and one of the most motivating things we can do is demonstrate evidence of ourselves making progress.

Parting thoughts

I hope you’ve found these steps helpful. They have certainly challenged me to think more critically about how I will achieve my goals this year, and what I want my year to look like. To leave you with some parting thoughts I would encourage you to consider the following when planning your goals:

Career management writer; exploring how people develop satisfying and meaningful careers, and how the future of work will impact our lives.

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