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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Achieve Your Goals In Life

7 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Achieve Your Goals In Life

No matter what goals, dreams or personal changes you want to achieve in your life, the reality for you and everyone else, is that it requires commitment, focus, hard work, courage and the determination to succeed. There is no way that you can hope to create change in your life or achieve your goals and dreams without these key elements.

Even when we  all know this, when it comes to us achieving our goals and dreams  many of us will start and then stop, then start again and then stop and then finally give up because it is all too hard.

Last year I identified three short term goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year.  To date I have only completed one goal.  The other two goals I have started, stopped, started and then stopped. Now this scares me because time is flying by so fast that before I know it, it will be December again and I haven’t achieved either goal.

What is also annoying me is that these two goals are realistic and totally achievable. I just can’t seem to get on top of them.

Recently I read this quote from Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture

“The brick walls are there for  a reason. The brick walls are not  there to keep us out. The brick  walls are there to give us a chance to  show how badly we want  something. Because the brick walls are there to  stop the people who  don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop  the other people.”

When I read this I realised I needed to figure out how to get over or around the brick walls that were stopping me from achieving my two goals.

What I eventually discovered was,  that when we set our goals and our dreams and begin our journey of transformation, we fail to consider these 7 factors. The result of this, is that many of us fail to achieve what we so badly wanted and we end up giving up on our goals and dreams in life.

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When embarking on your journey of personal change avoid these 7 common mistakes and you will enhance your chances of achieving any dream and goal you set in life by 200 percent.

1. Expect Fast Results

This mistake can have a significant impact on your belief and motivation to succeed. If you expect fast results and you don’t get them, what happens is you lose your belief of your goal or your dream being possible to achieve. Never underestimate the power of patience when it comes to setting and working towards a goal or your dream.

It is your patience that will keep you on your journey to achieving success.

2. See Failure As A Sign To Give Up

I have failed many times in my life and it is tough but not impossible to pick yourself up and start all over again.

The point in life when you have most control of your life, is when you are facing failure or you have failed. It is only you that has the power to choose how you want failure to impact on your life. You can choose to see it as a sign (the easy option) to give up or you can choose to pick yourself up and start again.  It is all down to you.

Here are 3 important questions that you could ask yourself to help you keep moving past your failures toward your goals or dreams.

  1. What was the reason for my failure – what can I learn from this and how can I improve?
  2. Why did I want to pursue this goal or dream to begin with – and has anything changed?
  3. What would I tell someone else if they were in my shoes?

3. Fail To Expect Or Plan For The Unexpected

With your life goals expect the unexpected – it will happen. When we are not prepared for the unexpected and it happens, we let these events bring our world to a crashing halt.

Preparing for the unexpected is the best we can manage when it comes to life goals and any other goals we set for ourselves.

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The key steps to preparing for the unexpected are to:

1. Acknowledge the Unexpected

2. Prepare for the Unexpected by having an Action Plan that considers the following 2 questions

a. How would you deal with this obstacle when it comes up?

b. What steps would you put in action to overcome this hurdle?

3. Commit to keep moving forward toward your goal or your dream

4. Get Bored With The Daily Grind

To achieve what you want in life requires you have to change, to do things differently, to create new habits, new thoughts and new behaviours. All of these aspects do not appear over night. They come as a result of you repeating on a daily basis the actions that you need to do over and over again to take you closer to you achieving your goal or your dream.

Successful athletes will train and practice  one technique or one drill for many hours just to get that one thing right. That is the difference between being great or being ordinary.

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Be prepared for boredom as there will be times when you just have to keep going and keep doing the same thing day in and day out.

5. Never Visualise What Is Possible

If you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals and dreams then, visualisation is where it all begins.

It one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do to achieve specific goals and make important changes in your life. Visualisation works because your mind can’t tell the difference between visualisation and an actual event. It helps your brain to recognise what resources you will need to achieve your dreams and goals.

A vision board is a way for you to bring your thoughts, dreams and desires to life. When you are visualising you are doing two important things,

  1. You are creating a visual space of possibility which is your inner fuel (motivation) for you to draw from on your journey to achieving your goals and dreams.
  2. With possibility comes hope and optimism and it is these positive thoughts and feelings that help you stay on track to success.

Visualising what is possible helps you to keep your eye on the big picture. When you take your eye of the big picture you slowly lose your desire, your faith and your belief in you.

6. Easily Distracted By Others & Life Events

I have found that when I am feeling unhappy, have low self confidence or feel frustrated with myself it is usually as a result of me spending a lot of unnecessary time comparing myself to other people and their success in life.

This action of comparing my life to others does not serve me well. I have learnt to recognise when I am doing it and how to quickly shut that behaviour down.

One of these techniques I use to keep me on track is that I keep a Gratitude Journal. In here I write down all the the great things that have happened or are happening in my life that I am grateful for. Helps me to keep things in perspective.

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When you start to use excuses such as “this not the right time,” or “I am not quite ready or too many of my friends think that it is not a great idea,” or “there are too many others have the same idea and they failed,” you are moving further away from achieving your dreams and goals in life.

Know that when you do this you are at risk of accepting the short term comforts of life over the long term benefits of achieving your goal or dream in life.

7. Set Unrealistic Steps To Achieving Your Goals

If you are setting goals that you have never achieved before then it is expected that part of you is not going to believe it is possible. Too often when we set our goals we focus on the future of achieving the goal – not the everyday steps we need to take to get us started and to keep us on track.

Losing weight is a goal many of us have tried to do but not always achieved. One of the reasons why we start, stop and then give up is because we focus on the total amount of 10kg or 20kg that we have to lose – not the 100 or 200 grams we could lose every week. It is much easier to focus on losing 100 to 200 grams than it is to focus on 10 or 20kg.

So take action and identify the obstacles that will block you from achieving your goals. Once you have identified these obstacles then:

  1.  Look for proof that your goals are realistic and achievable
  2.  Argue with Your Negative Self –tell it to take a hike!
  3.  Find a supporter to share your feelings, your dreams
  4. Acknowledge your past successes – CELEBRATE YOU

By avoiding these 7 common mistakes you will find that focus, discipline, commitment, courage, self belief, and determination will flourish with in you and you can not help but succeed in all the things that you want to achieve in your life.

I have now taken up the challenge and I am on my way to achieving my two goals by the end of this year – to lose 8kg and to grow my coaching business by 30%. Watch this space.

Featured photo credit: Evie S. via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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