How to Avoid The Three Biggest Mistakes in Goal Setting

Aim for Goal● Not differentiating between Dreams and Goals
● Not Setting Goals that stretch you
● Not setting a Time


Not differentiating between Dreams and Goals

Thinking about our illustration of a journey to represent our business venture, how often have you heard people say something like, “One day I am going to drive right around England to explore the country!” In business terms this is just like saying, ”One day I am going to have a business which is going to make me lots of money!”
Both of these declarations are initially just dreams or ideas and will stay that way until they are first defined and then acted upon. In England we have an expression that describes a person who says such things as an “Armchair Traveller”, someone who is always dreaming or having great ideas but then not pursuing them.
So what is the difference between an ‘idea’, or a ‘dream’ – and a Goal? The difference can be summed up in one word – ACTION – ‘Arrange Conditions To Improve Options Now’
You could dream about the idea of exploring the country forever, but until you actually take action and start to plan that journey it will never be accomplished! You could fantasize about having a lucrative business until you are old enough to retire, but unless you get up and do something to build your business, you will never have a business to retire from! If you have a goal rather than a dream you will be able to respond to the question “What is your goal?” with a statement of action, not just a wish. “My goal is to make £1000  a month by this time next year and I am working on the business plan right now”. Action is being taken, progress is being made, a goal is getting closer to attainment.

Not Setting Goals that stretch you

Is your goal easily attainable? Is it something that may well happen anyway, or is it something that you will have to plan and work toward? How much of a challenge is covering a journey you have made before, as opposed to working out a brand new route in an area which is new to you? Your goal should be challenging, something to strive for, to work towards, involving overcoming obstacles, something that when completed gives you an overwhelming sense of achievement.
The late Jim Rohn said, “You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming”, in other words, your goal should change the person that you are, through what you have accomplished. It takes courage and tenacity but the rewards are great. Set goals that are attainable, but challenge the way you think and work and you will gain priceless knowledge and experience on the way.
This can sometimes be a difficult thing to quantify as peoples view on what is ‘attainable’ or achievable may vary according to their attitude or outlook. The four minute mile, reaching the summit of Mount Everest and circumnavigating a ‘flat’ earth were all seen as being unattainable – until they became some bodies goal! But they all took planning, organising and implementing.

Not setting a Time

Using the expression; “one day ….”, is a sure way of failing to meet your goal or goals. It implies lack of purpose, and is a great excuse to procrastinate. The Spanish are famous for the word “Manana” and in any language, ‘there is always tomorrow’, but ‘tomorrow never comes’, so set a definite ‘T o A’ (time of attainment) on your goals and work towards that time as a deadline – it sharpens the focus!
When starting a journey it is good to have what airlines call an ETA, an estimated time of arrival. In air travel a lot of situations depend on an ETA, for a passenger it is helpful to know for booking a taxi, catching the ongoing flight, arranging to be met by relatives. In our car journey analogy it may involve planning to arrive in daylight, or before the restaurants close or to catch a ferry or meet a client.
In setting a goal with a deadline we give ourselves motivation, a sense of determination and also a measurable factor that helps us identify whether we have actually attained our goal or not. In business we need to know a time frame to enable us to plan the mid term and short term ‘mini goals’ that keep us on track. In our next article, we will explore the ‘How to eat an Elephant’ theory, by looking at mid and short term goals.
“If your journey is in Business or on the road, ‘drive’ carefully!”

This entry was posted in Business Coaching, Goal Setting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *