Okay friends, it’s been a while. I have to admit that I’m horrible at setting goals. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ll have to follow through or if I’m just afraid I won’t hit them.
Last year, I set a goal to create something every month for my subscribers and I started out pretty well. I created a calendar for each month and sent one out each month for the first 3 months or so, then I finished them and sent them out altogether in the fourth month and then life got a little crazy. If you are one of my subscribers I’m sorry for not following through.
So, in this post, I’m going to tell you what not to do when setting goals.
Start Too Big
Starting too big is often a mistake I make. You might be thinking, wait, what? Aren’t we supposed to aim high? The answer is yes, you should have hopes and dreams and be thinking about where you want to go, but your goals should be actionable and attainable.
When I set goals that are too high, I feel overwhelmed and frustrated, because I don’t know where to begin. It’s good to think about the BIG picture, but if you’re trying to change something, remember to start small. Trying to change a habit or start one is hard. Start out by focusing on one thing.
If your dreams seem too intimidating, you might not even start! Do a little research to get you started. It always helps me to know what the experts are doing.
Don’t Make a Plan
I think my biggest problem is that I don’t make a plan. Well, I do, but I don’t follow through. I don’t block out time and write it in my schedule. It’s one thing to write down a goal and say, ya, I’m going to work on that. It’s another to write out a plan to help you actually achieve it.
My husband and I rode from Seattle to Portland (STP) several years ago. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a 200-mile bicycle ride from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR.
We trained for months and started out only riding a couple miles a few times a week and worked our way up to longer and longer rides. We finished our training with a 75-mile ride along the trail of the Coeur d’Alenes!
When the day came to ride from Seattle to Portland, we knew we were ready. It was beautiful, challenging and my proudest accomplishments. It was the most amazing thing to cross that “finish line” (it’s not really a race) having never ridden more than 10 miles at a time just a few short months before.
The moral of the story is, if you want to reach your goals, you need to have a plan.
Don’t Have Actionable Steps
The biggest mistake after not making a plan is to not develop actionable steps to meet your goals. For example, I want to declutter my entire house. That is a big goal and it’s pretty overwhelming to think about, but if I start really small it is completely manageable.
I’m going to start in my room. I actually already decluttered my room, for the most part, this summer, but I want to revisit every area and see if there are still things that can go. To do that, I’m going to write down each area of my room that I need to work on:
- under the bed
- on top of the dresser
- bathroom vanity
Now that I have each area, I can focus on 1 to 2 areas a week. In my calendar it might look like, every day after the kids are in bed I’m going work on ________________________ for _____ minutes. I would like to be done with my room by ___________________.
Think of something you want right now? Now break it down into 1 or 2 smaller goals and break that into actionable steps.
If you are anything like me you might need someone who knows your goal(s) and will ask you about it. If you have no accountability you aren’t as likely to achieve your goal.
I’ve made this mistake over and over again. I decide I want to work on something, but I don’t really want to work on it or maybe I do, but I don’t usually succeed because I’m afraid to tell anyone about my goal. I think I’m afraid I won’t succeed and that in itself usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Accountability is very helpful when making any goal. When we set out to ride STP we worked as a team. We set up days to ride together. If you know you have someone to check in with you are more likely to achieve your goal!
Just in case you don’t believe me check this out: “The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% [chance] of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.” (source: www.mission.com)
If you set up a specific appointment to meet with someone about a goal you are 95% more likely to succeed! Sometimes we just need to have that expectation to achieve. I know I need it!
Start When Everyone Else is Starting
Don’t set a goal just because everyone else is doing it. Lots of people set up “resolutions” for themselves in January, but how many people do you know who actually follow through with those?
I used to work for the YMCA and every January it got very busy. We all joked that at about mid-to-late February everything would “slow down” again. We saw the pattern year after year. People would make it their resolution to lose weight, get in better shape or just exercise more and then after a few short weeks they would stop coming. I think this is because they lacked a why statement.
When we set goals while everyone else is we forget to ask ourselves why we want this. Without a strong driving force for doing something, it’s hard to find the motivation to stick it out when it gets difficult.
“When the vision is clear, the results will appear. Keep your mindset positive as you work your plan, flourish, and always remember why you started.” ―
When everyone else is setting those “New Year’s Goals” it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon. It’s best to set a goal when you are actually ready to work on it, not because everyone else is doing it.
Recently my goal has been to be more purposeful about my morning hours. I decided to create a morning routine. I’ve flounder around with this idea for several months. It’s hard trying to start something new. Even though I was not waking up early every single morning I counted each day as a victory because I knew I was getting closer to my goal.
Remember to celebrate each win, no matter how small. “Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. Learn from failure and keep moving forward.” ―
Now go set some goals and take action!
Tell me what you’re working on in the comments below.
22 Replies to “5 Mistakes You’re Making When You Set Goals”
Definitely a great post for me to come across! I am in the process of feeling like I am not meeting my goals, so I love for example, how you broke down organising your room etc!
Thank you – this will be a big help!
Breaking it into more manageable pieces has really helped me. I actually learned how to do this in a course I’m in called Your Uncluttered Home (affiliate link) Allie’s tips on minimizing my home have actually helped me in other areas of my life. I’m blown away at my mindset shift when it comes to setting goals, now that I’ve learned how to break my tasks down. Bite-sized pieces are way easier to digest!
Great tips! I think my weak spot is starting too big. I can be an all or nothing type at times, depending on the goal. I always have something on the go, but I will have these lofty goals and add and add more without having a good idea of how much time things take, then I get discouraged. I need to work on that!
I really had to think about what I was doing wrong so that I could find out where to start. I saw people crushing their goals and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. No one ever taught me how to set attainable goals. I’m a lofty goal setter too! I’ve had to really think about what I want and work on that specific goal. Breaking it down has helped me a lot!
I always make the best plans and action items but for me, it’s about being accountable to make sure it gets done! Thanks for the reminder on this. I need to set a specific date and tell others about that date and then I find it much easier to make it happen. Those stats are not surprising at all! I should make some accountability appointments! Great post and motivation 🙂
I agree! I make great plans, but I don’t hold myself accountable! I have to admit I’m not very good at telling someone about my plans because I’m worried they won’t work out. I know it’s something I need to work on if I want to grow my blog.
I agree with all this! I think the hardest one for me is not having an accountability partner. I have found it easy to have one when it comes to things like budgeting, a friend and I are both on the Dave Ramsey train and we check on each other to make sure we are staying on track. When it comes to my blog, that is another story. I LOVE blogging but it is also the first thing I put on the backburner because I don’t have anyone who knows my goals for my blog or someone “checking” in on me. Great tips here!
Sara it sounds like we should be friends! Maybe we can hold each other accountable. I feel the same way about blogging. I love it, but when I run out of time for it I don’t push other things out and make it a priority.
I’m a full on list freak – the smaller the steps the more I get to tick off when it’s done!
I love lists, but sometimes my lists feel overwhelming! Breaking the steps up has really helped me to stay more focused.
I love the story about the STP bike ride! That’s basically in my backyard. And you are SO right about accountability. I have an accountability partner this year and we check in with each other every week on Sundays. It’s a good way to keep on track with our goals.
That’s an awesome idea! I really need someone to hold me accountable in the blogging world. It’s so foreign to everyone else I’m surrounded with. I think I just made a goal to find an accountability partner! Such a great way to stay on track and meet your goals.
No accountability keeps me from losing weight. I don’t want anyone telling me to eat a certain thing! And it keeps me from losing weight!
So true! Accountability is key! When you have someone right there doing the work with you somehow the task doesn’t seem so bad.
Working on building my Instagram! I have been consistently posting everyday for the last 2 weeks. First time ever!!! =)
That’s awesome Kelly! I love to hear success stories!
This post definitely made me think! My problem is that I don’t set realistic goals for a mom with 4 kids. They are my priority and sometimes these giant goals I set for my business just are NOT realistic! I need to take some of your tips and set some goals that are attainable, and maybe things just take me a little longer than I’d like! 😉
I’m right there with you! I’m a working mama of 2. We all need to give ourselves a little grace when it comes to goals. Yes, we can have some lofty dreams, but making our goals attainable really helps us to continue to reach them, feel success and keep going.
These are excellent tips! I loooove setting up goals and I do think I tend to “dream big” and set too broad of a goal. Then I end up breaking it up for future goals. I like your idea of breaking them up piece by piece to begin with.
Thanks Marie! I hope they’re helpful. Breaking up my goals has really helped me to look more specifically on the task at hand and what I need to do to get it done rather than be overwhelmed with a huge goal.
I needed this, especially this morning because I’m working on goal setting and creating a schedule for myself.
I’m so glad you found it helpful Gemma! Setting a goal is so much more than we think! I hope my mistakes help you to know what not to do 🙂