5 Common Goal Setting Mistakes and How To Easily Fix Them


Not reaching those goals?

There are many reasons why people do not achieve their career goals - or their goals in other areas of their life for that matter!

Today I am going to are with you the 5 top reasons why that is, and what you can do to be someone that does it differently and gets results.

1.   Clarity. Do you really know what your goal is?

I know, it sounds obvious, but have you really nailed what that goal is?

A goal which you have worded as “I want to be fitter” or “I want a new job” is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Yes, it certainly looks good, tastes good, but itdoesn’t actually do the job.

There are a number of problems with this:

                ☹ Too vague

                ☹ Does not specify when you’re going to achieve it

                ☹ Focuses on wanting rather than having the result

Solution: State your goal positively and specifically and in a present tense statement.

For example,

"It is 30th September 2020 and I have just run my first 10k race!"

"It is 14th October 2020 and I am settled in a new role which I love."


2 .  How motivated are you to achieve the goal?

Firstly, is it your own goal, or is it something someone else said you “should” do?

Unless you really want it, you’re unlikely to achieve it.

So firstly, check in with yourself that this is a goal that you want to achieve. Even if it feels a bit daunting at this stage, as long as it is your goal, you’ll be able to achieve it.

The motivation to keep going comes from attaching emotion to the goal.

Solution: Imagine what it will be like when you have achieved your goal.

         😊 What will you see in your life as a result of achieving this goal?

         😊 What will you hear yourself and others say when you’ve achieved the goal?

         😊 What will it feel like when you’ve achieved your goal?


3.      Do you have a goal beyond the goal?

A lot of people never quite reach their goals because they don’t know what will happen after. They get close, but never complete it.  This is largely because they haven’t thought about what will happen when they’ve achieved their goal, and our minds do not like that void.

Solution: Make a list of all the things that you will be able to go on and do and achieve as a result of achieving this goal.


4.     Are you reviewing your goal regularly?

This is really important, especially if you’re the sort of person whose career goals relies on whatever you agree with your boss at your annual appraisal or performance review.

What happens to many of those is that they get dumped in a drawer or computer file and left to rot until the next appraisal. Familiar?

Firstly, you are better to think about your own career goals and how they align with your lifestyle ambitions before you go and talk about goals at your appraisal.

That way you can make sure that goals you agree with your boss are aligned with your own personal career goals.

Secondly, and most importantly, reviewing your goals regularly is really helpful.

Solution: Keep your goals in a folder or file that you can look at every day. This keeps your mind focussed on where you are going and helps you make decisions more easily.

Alternatively, you might do as one of my clients did:

Find a picture or image that represents the goal. She stuck a picture of a cottage on her fridge so she would see it every morning as she ate her cereal. The cottage represented what she would be able to have and do once she achieved her big career goal. She not only achieved it a month early, but the result was twice what she’d expected. 

5.     Are you taking the right actions?

Regular action is what helps you to achieve your goals. I often make the analogy with climbing mountains: it doesn’t matter whether it’s Everest or a mountain nearer home, nobody ever reached the top other than by taking one step at a time.

Solution: as you review your goals each day, decide what action you are going to take TODAY, before you go to bed tonight, to move you one step nearer to achieving them.

Some days it will be a big step, some days it will be a small one. Whatever it is, when you go to bed at night you’ll know you are another step nearer to getting what you want.

In summary

  • Make your goals your own
  • Know what you’ll see, hear and feel when you achieve them, and what you’ll then be able to go on and do
  • Review them each day and take whatever action you decide you’re going to do

If you haven’t recently, now’s a great time to review your goals.

We’re fully open for business here at Dave Cordle Career Coaching, so do get in touch if you’d like to know more or if you have made the decision to invest in a Professional Career Coach to help you transform and plan your career.



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