setting goals

3 Mistakes when Setting Goals and How to Improve

Setting goals in all areas of your life may seem like a daunting and useless task, but it is not. Although life is unpredictable and plans change, goal-setting is still useful.

Many of us set goals concerning our financial status only. But it’s important to set goals for your mental health, social relationships, and physical well-being.

Goals are the aspirations you have, whether big or small, short-term or long-term. Goal-setting is planning how to achieve the anticipated outcomes and prioritizing the actions required to get there.

Why Aren’t You Setting Goals?

Why haven’t you set goals for yourself? Here are some basic reasons that may be at play.

1. You have not taken responsibility.

You have not taken responsibility for your life. Having no life goals gives you an excuse of not reaching them. When you don’t aim for something, then you have nothing to look forward to. 

Taking responsibility for your life means knowing you can make decisions and willfully make your dreams come true. Instead of blaming your circumstance or people for your failure, do something to change your situation.

2. You are following the crowd.

People who have no clear idea where they are headed like to follow others who seem to know where they are going.

So, you waste your time following people’s lives and tiny details of them, trying to emulate them and turn them into some sort of idols. Or focus on their negative side by looking for their mistakes to console yourself about your aimlessness.  

3. It’s not part of your lifestyle.

You are used to living aimlessly without setting goals for your life, and you don’t see negative effects. You live like an automaton. Wake up, do what you have to do, and keep living without knowing what you want or how you want to get it.

It’s part of the culture you probably have been socialized into. Or maybe you know what you want, but you are not taking the necessary steps to get it. It’s time to make goal-setting part of your culture.

Why set goals?


1. Give your life direction

Setting goals for your life is like preparing a map to guide you. You will know where you are going, or where you would like to go and find the best way to get there.

For instance, you may realize that the fastest route may not be the best one to use. Or you may gain a sense of direction when you feel lost. Check back on your goals and assess whether you are still on track and whether the decisions you are making are taking you away from your destination, or helping you to get there.

2. Improve your motivation

Motivation is the energy of doing things. It drives you to achieve your desired outcomes. Personal goal-setting energizes you. It keeps you moving toward the perceived desired result.

Goals and motivation are intertwined since one influences the other, and you need them both. Being motivated makes all the difference between setting goals and actually performing the activities required to achieve those goals.

3. Improve your sense of purpose

When watching or playing a game, the anticipation of scoring goals makes the game enjoyable. You may aim for 5 goals, but score 2 and it’s still a win. And you keep playing to get better. The same applies to your life. Keeping in mind certain aims that you must achieve give meaning to your life.  Setting goals and working towards them gives you a sense of purpose in life.

Although goals in themselves don’t give you purpose, they give you a reason to wake up in the morning every day and enhance the experience of a purposeful life. Having goals in life opens your eyes to opportunities and gives you a broader perspective of life, instead of being trapped in a narrow vision.

Read: 6 Ways to Start Improving the Quality of Your Life

Start deliberate goal-setting

However, goal-setting and leaving it at that is a waste of time. Once you have outlined your goals, it’s time to take actions required to achieve them. There’s a clear benefit of setting goals, but working towards them and achieving them is in itself satisfying.

You’ll come across obstacles along the way. You will face challenges that may threaten your aspirations. Once you have a vision of the desired outcomes, you can overcome challenges and achieve success despite how hard it may seem.

Keep your eyes on the prize, and not on the potholes. In the process of achieving the desired results, you will inspire others around you (the followers) and also experience what it means to be successful.  

If you are living like an automaton, doing what needs to be done without setting goals, imagine how much more you can achieve if you make a habit of deliberate goal-setting.

For more information about how to plan and what to consider when goal-setting read: Do You Have a Life Plan? Plan for Your Life Strategically.

Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.

Here is an Inspirational book that captures the concept of goal setting in life. A helpful addition to your bookshelf. The Big Dilemma: do Life or Quit Life?

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