Five Mistakes We Make When Goal Setting

A resolution is little more than making a decision or expressing one’s intention to do something. One classic example is; “I want to get fit.” That statement may move you for a time but it may not be enough to keep you motivated for long; gym attendance in the United States is back to normal by mid-February. So what can you do to move that resolution into long-lasting action?

Creating goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) is a well-known goal setting tool. We also know that setting SMART goals isn’t foolproof. What are some of the mistakes made by goal setters that keep them from reaching their goals? Author, Michael Hyatt presents five of the most common mistakes people make when setting goals.

  1. Letting Other Things Take Priority – We have to recognize that we have unspoken priorities like family, relationships and career. If we aren’t clear and honest about our priorities, we could set ourselves up for failure.
  2. Confusing Hope for Goals – It feels good to dream and imagine, but a hope is not actionable. “Goals have an anatomy that give hope structure.” Doing the work to make actionable goals is an important step to making our hopes a reality.
  3. Not Connecting to “The Why” – The disconnect between our current decisions and our future reality leads to procrastination. Taking time to connect emotionally and evaluate why we want to achieve a particular goal can help us move away from procrastination and toward those goals boldly.
  4. Believing the Negative Labels – The statistics show that most people set the same resolutions year after year and fail at those same resolutions year after year. Repetitive failures like this can leave you believing that you are not capable of overcoming the barrier. Additionally, you might even believe the labels that someone has placed on you. Know that those beliefs are our interpretation and we get to choose how we move forward. Those failures could be just the first page in a book of successes.
  5. Not Believing in Yourself – Moving forward is difficult when you are looking back. The sociologist Robert Merton wrote about the “self-fulfilling prophecy” more than 50 years ago. While we know that we won’t be able to achieve all or our goals, we know that if we can make positive steps toward those goals and avoid missteps, we will be well on our way.

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” – Unknown