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.