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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

How To Set The Right Goal: 7 Goal Setting Mistakes To Avoid

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How To Set The Right Goal: 7 Goal Setting Mistakes To Avoid

Life is all about moving forward with our goals and achieving more in our lives. Wanting to better ourselves brings aspirations, dreams and takes us down paths to accomplishment.

Discovering what we want to do in life can be an exciting prospect and we naturally become eager to start setting our goals and planning on how we can achieve them. But there are some fundamental mistakes that many people make when setting goals and, if we’re not aware of these, they can bring a lot of challenges, frustrations and disappointments.

Here are 7 goal setting mistakes to be aware of:

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1. Too Narrow In Our Thinking

For some of us, when setting goals, we focus a lot on what we want rather than why we want it. Thinking in this way limits our imagination and keeps us from realising what we really want. For example, if you set your sights on a particular job for purely the purpose of power, influence over others or the ability to effect changes then you are losing sight of the position itself and what it can bring to you personally. Focusing on the growth aspect of your goals will allow more flexibility in the adjustment of them. In other words, you are putting less emphasis on a specific, narrowed aspect of the job and cultivating the positive reasons why the job will be beneficial to you and your growth.

2. Pursuing Extrinsic Instead Of Intrinsic Goals

This is linked to our narrowed thoughts. One of the biggest goal setting mistakes we make is going after goals that are ultimately governed by external influences rather than from within. Sometimes a goal can be about validation rather than our true happiness and this usually points to our need to feed deep-rooted issues rather than for the good of ourselves.

Any goal that is focused on social status, the aim of getting rich or recognition will take away your true purpose and enjoyment of the end goal. Make sure your goal is intrinsically motivated and solely for the satisfaction of your own personal development.

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3. Believing Our Goal Will Bring Us Happiness

I know what you’re thinking – of course my goal will make me happy! The problem with goals, as discussed before, can be our reasons behind them. Sometimes we go after goals believing that we’ll achieve happiness once we accomplish them and while this can be true, it really depends on whether or not you’re pinning all your happiness on your goal.

It’s a big myth that thinking our goal will be what brings us ultimate happiness. While this can be true, it is usually short lived if we’re not fundamentally happy in the first place. We need to achieve happiness within and not pin it all on our goals. In other words, make sure your goal will make you happier not to achieve happiness in itself.

4. Setting Too Many Goals

Understanding that we have limitations is important and the danger with too many goals is that it can lead to quantity rather than quality. Focusing on one goal or a selection of quality goals is much more manageable and meaningful than going after too many. It’s important to understand that quality goals are usually ones that develop ourselves and move us forward in a positive way while quantity goals are more focused on quick, meaningless achievements that don’t necessarily fulfil our needs and have little impact.

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5. Setting Goals Without Strategies And The Correct Mindset

Setting goals can help us get what we want but to achieve the goals we need to have a good strategy in place as well as a good mindset. A positive and successful mindset is the crux of any good goal-setting strategy. After all, our actions rely heavily on our perspective and ways of looking at the world.

A good strategy will account for any pitfalls or potential challenges that come your way. These can easily trip you up and cause you to give up altogether so it’s important to plan thoroughly and create small and achievable steps.

6. Setting Goals Too Low

When we have limited beliefs surrounding our goals, we can have a tendency to set our goals too low. This is usually because we underestimate our abilities or resources either because of past experience or limited information. If you think of a goal and don’t truly believe you can achieve it, then the tendency is to lower your standards. This is tempting but won’t get you what you truly want. Make sure that you realise all your resources and work on your self-esteem to recognise your true potential.

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7. Unrealistic Expectations

One of the main goal setting mistakes we make is creating unrealistic expectations. This doesn’t means biting off more than we can chew in terms of our abilities but the way in which we set our goals. For example, not giving yourself enough time to achieve your goal can lead to a sense of failure and can make you give up altogether. Be kind to yourself, eliminate unneeded pressure and give yourself realistic time limits – account for any challenges along the way. Just because a goal takes a year doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Try not to fall into the trap of impatience when it comes to your goals as it only leads to goals that ultimately can’t be achieved.

Featured photo credit: startupstockphotos.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on November 30, 2021

Tap Into Success With These Long-Term Career Goals Tips

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Tap Into Success With These Long-Term Career Goals Tips

I’ve been very lucky in my career to have worked with some amazing people, people who built their careers on the back of hard work, passion, and focus. But the most successful of these people had something else. Hard work, passion, and focus were there, but to get to the very top you need more than just these things; you also need solid, long-term career goals.

In this article, I will give you seven Long Term Career Goals Tips that you can use when goal setting to build a successful career.

1. Know What You Want

This one might seem obvious, but many people never take the time to think carefully about what they want to do in their career[1]. They accept jobs in industries or departments they have no interest in and soon find themselves settled into a career of misery and complaining.

It always amazes me how people spend more time planning their annual summer holiday than they do their career.

If you want to build success in your work, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you want to go. You need that North Star to guide you in your decisions and to keep you focused on where you are going with each stepping stone.

Without that clarity, you will drift from one role to another, never building any momentum towards your ultimate career goal.

2. Ask Yourself: What Skills Am I Lacking?

When we begin our working lives, we have the academic skills but lack many practical skills.

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When you know what you want to do with your career, you can identify the skills you will need. Soft skills such as relationship building, the ability to collaborate with others, and your productivity all form part of these skills, and you need to make sure you are developing them.

Invest in yourself, and for those skills that do not develop naturally, find courses online or some books to study. Once you have studied these skills, make sure you put them into practice through your long-term career goals. This one tip will put you ahead of 98% of your colleagues who treat their work as just a job that pays them money to live.

3. Know That Success Leaves a Path

I teach this one to all of my clients. In every industry, there are examples of people who started at the bottom and worked their way up to become industry leaders. Examples include Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Jony Ive at Apple. These people were not founders or entrepreneurs; they worked their way up to the top from the bottom, and left clues along the way

Whatever company you are in, there will be people who began at the bottom and worked their way up to become leaders. What kind of role models did they have? What books did they read? What skills did they develop?

I remember when I worked in the hotel industry. One of my mentors began as a receptionist. She rose to become the General Manager of my home city’s top hotel through having a clear goal, diligence, and always putting the guest first. She was tough but fair.

I learnt from her that every time you come into work, the guest was always the top priority and to always be respectful of your colleagues.

Find that one person in your industry that rose from the bottom and work out the path they took to get to where you want to be in the future. Then, map out your own path that reflects the path already taken to the top.

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4. Watercooler Gossip Will Not Help Your Career

I know it is always tempting to be the popular one in your office, to be the one everyone wants to hang out with and the one to go to when there’s some gossip to share. However, if you want to achieve your long-term career goals, don’t get involved.

Being the “office gossip” will sink your career faster than anything else. If you are serious about building a successful career, you do not have time to get involved in all this gossiping, complaining, and time wasting.

You don’t have to ignore your colleagues, but never indulge them by listening to the gossip. Make your excuses and get back to work. This one tip will safeguard your career more than any other.

5. Do Work When at Work

Your workplace is not a social club. It is a place to do the work you were employed to do.

Of course, being polite and friendly towards your colleagues is important, but never forget you are there to do work. Avoid getting yourself drawn into long conversations about that episode of Vikings or your local football team’s performance.

There is a time and place for these conversations, but it is not on company time. When at work, do your work, or you’ll never be able to make progress on your long-term career goals.

Here are some tips on how to focus on work: 15 Quick Ways To Focus on Work Easily

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6. Focus on How You Can Be Better

One of the qualities I have seen in all successful career builders is they have a “How can I do it better?” mindset. They are always asking themselves how they can do their work better, or how could they have solved that problem better.

It is a mindset of continuous self-improvement, and it is a practice that can catapult you to the top faster than anything else.

Look for parts of your work that are taking too much time and figure out how to streamline. Or, identify ways you could better serve your team and begin to implement them. Any of these can serve you when you’re creating long-term career goals.

Often, new working practices are welded on to old ones, and this leads to inefficiencies and duplication, especially if you’re in a leadership position. Find those inefficiencies and develop better ways of doing that work. This habit is always appreciated by your bosses and tells them you are serious about your work.

7. Model Successful Behaviors

Find the person at the top and work out how they got there. This does not necessarily mean the person at the top of your company; it means the person at the top of your industry.

If you are an architect, find out how Sir Frank Foster built his career. If you are a writer, find out how Stephen King or Maya Angelou gained experience and built their careers.

These people have shown you how to do it, and they left clues. Read everything you can about them, learn from them, and model their work habits.

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Modeling does not mean copying. It means taking the traits they used and adapting them to work best for you.

My legal hero was a British lawyer, George Carmen QC. When I began my legal career, I read everything I could about George Carmen QC. I learned that the key skill that led to his success was his ability to communicate with juries. He was a brilliant communicator, and I realized the one skill I could learn that would have a huge impact on my career was the ability to communicate with people.

While I did not ultimately follow a legal career, that skill of being good at communicating has served me well in all the industries I have worked in.

The Bottom Line

Whatever career path you are following, these tips will serve you well as you aim to create long-term career goals that will point you in the right direction. Creating clear short and long-term goals around the above tips will give you the advantages you need to build a wildly successful career. They are tested, they work, and all you need to do is to adapt them so they work for you.

More Tips on Setting Career Goals

Featured photo credit: Smart via unsplash.com

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