‘Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible’-Tony Robbins
Experts and thought leaders around the world believe in the power of setting goals as part of one’s professional development toolkit when striving for success.
As human beings and high achievers, we have become masters of thinking about goals and becoming super energized by even writing goals down and sharing them with peers and colleagues.
Then somehow, we lose momentum and they become invisible, not relevant, and not important to our daily habits and routines.
In fact, according to the University of Scranton, a whopping 92% of people who have New Year’s goals, never actually achieve them.
So, why are people not achieving their goals?
Based on my coaching conversations and my own failures in this personal development category, here are some common goal setting mistakes:
- SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS
When people are goal setting, they often DO NOT rig achieving the goal in their favour.
In other words, the goal is too big- and the-time limit is too constricting, and the goal becomes unachievable.
For example, you set a goal to lose 60 pounds in 4 months because you are going on a beach vacation and want to look svelte in your bathing suit.
To achieve this part of your goal, is to go to the gym 6 days a week and restrict your diet.
But, if you have never gone to the gym or have never maintained a healthy lifestyle, odds are that you are going to fail because the goal is daunting and your reasons for setting the goal are for short term success only.
2. YOU ARE NOT CONNECTED TO YOUR GOAL
‘If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal. Not to people or things.’-Albert Einstein
If your goals do not bring you joy or fulfillment it may become an obstacle to your success.
Let’s relook at the example of losing 60 pounds in 4 months because you want to look good in a bathing suit for an upcoming beach vacation.
This goal may be empty because achieving it depends on how other people perceive your weight loss.
It may also not bring you fulfillment during the process because the time limit may not be realistic.
This type of lifestyle change needs to be connected to a higher purpose which means being imprinted into your daily habits and routines.
3. SETTING TOO MANY GOALS
As human beings, we have always had ‘big’ plans and goals.
We get super excited about the goal setting process, and then make the mistake of establishing too many goals in a specific period of time.
You only have so much time and energy to accomplish your goals, so my advice is to choose wisely.
Quality over quantity is important when thinking about setting goals for yourself.
4. NOT WRITING DOWN YOUR GOALS
Not writing down your goals and tracking your progress is the most common mistake I see as a Career Coach.
Your motivation and energy may weaken during the process if you neglect to not only write down or record your goals, but to monitor progress.
Sometimes your goals need to be flexed due to personal or external circumstances.
It will be harder to celebrate wins and learn from mistakes if you don’t pivot and make adjustments as you monitor your progress.
5. NOT THINKING LONG TERM
If you set your goals based on your daily tasks, to do list or what needs to be accomplished in a short period of time, then you are shortchanging yourself.
Let’s go back to the example of losing 60 pounds in 4 months because you want to look good in your bathing suit while on your beach vacation.
This is short-term thinking because you are trying to embed a substantial behaviour change in a limited period of time.
Our brain is hard wired to resist change when it’s challenged.
When our goals are not taking the ‘big picture’ into account, we are not thinking about how this goal will positively affect our life, wellbeing, relationships, and our identity.
‘I am a firm believer in goal setting. Step by Step. I can’t see any other way of accomplishing anything.’- Michael Jordan.
I believe success is setting the right goals that are meaningful and established for the right reasons.
It doesn’t matter what you know, execution is what matters most.
Based on my personal experience and studying the masters in the area of goal setting…
Here are 3 ideas and tools that will help to set the intention and execute your next objective.
- MAKE YOUR GOAL SIGNIFICANT
Many of us are setting goals wrong from the start because they lack a sense of purpose and meaning.
When starting the process of choosing your goal, think about asking the question…WHY?
A goal becomes truly transformational when it connects your ambitions with passion and purpose.
Develop a clear and compelling sense of your personal ‘WHY’. Goals that inspire you and connect to your purpose, will ensure you maintain momentum, focus and energy.
A meaningful goal will:
- Add value over the long term because the goal sets you up for exponential growth far into the future.
- Make you more effective and authentic because the goal will guide you toward learning, refining, and developing a better version of yourself.
- Inspire action and connects you to a sense of purpose.
Meaningful goals are the goals that bring internal motivation, add exponential value over the years by making you more efficient at what you are doing, while guiding you to be truer with yourself.
2. USE YOUR CALENDAR AS A TOOL FOR MONTHLY GOAL SETTING.
Once you have identified your meaningful goal, it’s time to start using a simple, but impactful tool that will jump start your goal setting process.
I am actively using my calendar as a method in my goal setting process to identify and track my progress.
During my coaching conversations, many clients want to focus on identifying and achieving goals.
They can’t understand why goals are so difficult to manage.
Personal accountability is important when choosing and implementing goals.
The first question I ask is about their personal calendars.
If you look at your calendar this month and next, is it readily apparent what activities and milestones you’ve created to further develop yourself?
Your relationship with your calendar can change your life because on a monthly basis, it can track 2 kinds of goals:
- Skill Development
- Monthly Challenges.
People have good intentions to develop their skill sets but they are not strategic about it.
Remember to create a morning mindset, by journaling first thing when you get up.
Take out your journal and ask yourself these powerful questions:
- What skills do I want to develop and monitor?
- Have I put those skills in my calendar with specific goals and milestones attached?
- What level of mastery am I now?
- What level do you I want to be next month or the month after?
In order to start the process of skill development, I suggest blocking your calendar over a course of month, then year to become intentional with this goal.
For example, I want to be more confident when speaking Spanish, because it will help me to connect with the students I tutor voluntarily on a weekly basis.
In order to maintain the momentum to achieve the goal, I visualize where I want to be in relation to skill development in the next 4 months.
Then, I set the goal.
Consideration needs to be given to making the goal SMART:
- Time Related
Here is my goal:
I will improve my Spanish speaking confidence and measure this by having a 10-minute conversation with my student in the next 4 months without switching to English or asking him/her to repeat themselves.
This is a strategic goal.
It’s more than just doing the activity or deciding you want to improve your speaking confidence in Spanish.
In order to achieve this goal, you will need a level of skill acquisition, so you need to schedule time in your calendar (on a monthly basis) to acquire these skills.
In this case, if you are not strategic about improving your speaking confidence, you will never achieve a level of mastery or become a pro, you will only be a hobbyist.
‘The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them’-Jim Rohn
To compliment your big audacious goal, I always suggest setting yourself a monthly personal development challenge.
To test yourself to become a better version of you!
- January – Become more patient.
- February – Journal every morning.
- March – Be more kind to the people at work.
- April – Be a better listener.
Every 30 days, you are stretching yourself with a goal that matters in your growth and development path.
The process of building mastery throughout the year is an intentional routine and using your calendar as a tool for scheduling, tracking and accountability is a strategic process for being the best you can be.
‘The people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact – those are the people that have goals.’-Seth Godin
3. MAKE BOLD MOVES SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
I can’t tell you how many times in my life, I decided to wait for the perfect conditions to make my move, dream or vision come true.
This is only a form of procrastination that stems from fear of failure.
For information on failure and how it can become a powerful tool for transformation, read my blog called:
‘Don’t be Afraid to Fail – 4 Ways High Achievers View Failure to Succeed’
What I learned is that you need to put yourself into play sooner rather than later.
Or waiting for the right time to start only guarantees one thing…
You will never succeed!
Don’t wait years for someone to validate your feelings or invite you to the party.
Just start the process yourself.
Sometimes are own self sabotaging behaviours are putting constraints on our goals, vision, and dreams because we are waiting for everything to align to perfection.
This will never happen!
Don’t keep putting it off – if you have goals and dreams that are meaningful, start planning today using a tool like your calendar and put that plan into action.
- If you want to become a blogger, write everyday.
- If you want to become a film maker, shoot video daily.
Start practicing and becoming intentional with your goals.
If you’re waiting for the right time to achieve your dreams and goals, that time may never come.
Whether you dream is financial, personal, career related or physical…
You just have to start!
My new favourite book on the subject of goal setting is called ‘Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning, and Achieving Your Goals’ by Debra Eckerling.
The author presents method that is both realistic and achievable.
It can be purchased on Amazon by using the link below:
In summary, your precision of intention is going to get your daily results:
- Make you goal significant by connecting what matters to you.
- Use your calendar as a tool for monthly goal setting.
- Make bold moves sooner rather than later.
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder