We often think of setting goals as one of the keys to success, but sometimes, it’s not so simple. While generally speaking, setting goals is an important element of growth and achievement, some goals are significantly more helpful than others. In fact, some goals may even be slowing our progress and having a detrimental impact on our success. For ambitious professionals who want to set powerful goals, knowing what not to do can be a valuable insight. Here are some of the most common goal-setting mistakes that can cause goals to backfire:
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Being ambitious in your goal setting is great, but when taken too far, it can leave you with goals that don’t align with your day-to-day reality. It’s important to push yourself if you want to grow and advance, but it’s also important to consider what your schedule can accommodate. This is most relevant when it comes to the timeframe for your goal. Having high aspirations can be a positive if you allot the time needed to reach them. As you set your goals and define your timeframe around achieving them, don’t lose sight of what the average day looks like for you.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
There’s usually a sweet spot when it comes to goals, and it varies a bit from person to person. Generally speaking though, spreading yourself thinly over too many goals rarely yields the results you want. Figure out what that balance is for you. It’s worth thinking about long and short-term goals here. Maybe you can accommodate two short-term goals and one long-term. Maybe it’s the other way around. Perhaps you prefer setting your sights on a single point. What matters is that you’re able to apply yourself to the goals you do set out to achieve.
Responding to External Pressures
When our goals don’t come from an internal motivation, we can quickly lose steam. Maybe you’re responding to pressure at work or comparisons to other professionals. The best goals, and the ones that you’re most likely to accomplish, are the ones that come from a genuine motivation in you to achieve something. So, as you identify your goals, it’s worth doing a quick check to ensure that these things you’re working towards are truly important to you and reflect the direction that you want to move in.
Not Taking Time to Reflect and Evaluate
Our goals can change. As our life changes and we reassess the things that matter to us, it’s only logical that our goals will mirror those changes. This is why it’s so important for professionals to regularly check in, evaluate their goals and progress, and make adjustments where necessary. Maybe you find a goal has increased in importance, and you shorten your time frame and increase your work; or maybe it’s taken a new shape and needs to be redefined. Whatever the case, giving yourself the flexibility and making time to check in will help you ensure that your goals stay strong as you’re putting in the work to achieve them.
What are some of your current goals? Do they set you up for success? What strategies do you use when it comes to goal setting? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
VP – Retail Market Leader