In both your personal and professional lives, it’s important to have goals. They help to focus us, give us purpose, and propel us into action. But just the act of making goals isn’t helpful in and of itself. In fact, if your goals aren’t clearly defined or you don’t care enough about them, they can actually do more harm than good. Continually making goals and then not reaching them can destroy your motivation and result in self-doubt and an overall lack of direction.

These are three of the most common mistakes when it comes to setting goals. Take a moment to think about your personal goals—what you want to achieve when it comes to your business, your career, your relationships, etc. Ask yourself whether you are making any of these fatal errors, or if you are setting yourself up for success.

Mistake #1: Too big to tackle. 

Running a marathon or increasing revenue by 25% are admirable goals, but there’s a long way from Point A to Point B. When a goal is too big it can seem insurmountable and you risk giving up before you really give yourself a chance to get started.

Instead of focusing on the huge, penultimate goal that you’d like to accomplish, think about the small goals that you can hit along the way. Not only does this help you work your way up to bigger and better things, but it also means that you’ll be making incremental accomplishments in the short term. This helps keep your drive and motivation high.

Mistake #2: Not enough clarity. 

Setting goals that are too vague is basically setting yourself up for failure. You risk losing sight of your goal in the midst of all the details and questions.

So how do you get more clarity?

First off, you set up parameters: What factors are your goals contingent upon? Who are the key players that need to be involved?

You should also plot out a realistic timeline: What is the natural order of events that needs to occur? What does a contingency plan look like?

Mistake #3: No passion means no action. 

You can spend all the time in the world defining clear and actionable goals. But it ultimately won’t make any difference if you don’t truly care about accomplishing them. Ideally, goals should be rooted in passion, otherwise you’re likely to have a lack of real commitment.

Revise Your Goals, Then Get Going

Chances are, you’ll want to revise your goals along the way to make sure that they continue to be manageable, realistic, and inspiring. Have regular check-ins to ask yourself how things are going, and if there are any internal or external influences that result in any changes to your goals. Doing this is the best way to stay on track and to ultimately reach your greatest potential.


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