If you haven’t set yourself any goals, how will you know if you are where you want to be?

Last week, we told you about the importance of celebrating your achievements and praising yourself every time you meet your goals. This week, we will tell you why you may not be meeting your goals and dreams and how to set them effectively.

Setting and achieving your goals

When you are certain about what you want in your personal and professional life, setting goals, defining steps in their direction and milestones to keep track of will probably determine your success. Entrepreneur, coaching and motivational speaker Brian Tracy states: “People with clear, written goals achieve far more in a shorter span of time than people without this structure can ever imagine.” Similarly, Earl Nightingale said: “People with goals are successful because they know where they are going. As simple as that.”

Why setting effective goals is so important

Recent research shows that more than 92% of people believe that setting goals is a crucial ability to achieve their dreams. Also, science has shown that they have a strong connection with our level of happiness – having and pursuing goals gives us a sense of purpose. Also, our brain releases dopamine, the so-called “motivational molecule”, every time we accomplish an objective.

Nevertheless, you probably also know that this strategy does not seem to suit everyone. After all, how many New Year’s resolutions are kept? Yet setting goals is probably the biggest and most important part in the process of achieving all those things you want to get from life.

People with clearly defined goals:

– feel more power and control over their lives. They are more confident, stress-free and feel better in all areas;
– are better time managers. People with goals are more productive and bring all things to an end;
– are active and much more motivated to achieve the desired results.
– They are physically healthier. They move more and tend to have healthier lifestyles.
– They have a sense of responsibility, purpose and direction.
– They are more interested in enjoying a balanced life. They know how to set priorities and achievable objectives.
– They have better social relationships. They recognize and appreciate the most important people and connections in their lives.
– They are happier and generally more satisfied.

All of these are good reasons to set up goals, but the most important reason is that nothing you really want will happen by chance. People without goals tend to be off-track with their lives, they go with the stream and usually cannot control where they end up. Even worse, people without goals often feel too powerless to direct their lives or circumstances in the direction they desire.


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Why do goals seem to work for some but not for others?

Here are the ten most common reasons why most people struggle to meet their goals. Try to avoid them and you are going to be on the road of success.

Mistake number 1 – Setting the wrong goals

Many people are subconsciously setting objectives that do not match their true desires but those of their parents or society’s, for example, or even try to follow the path of what others say will make them happier. The trouble is that there will never be enough motivation to truly pursue them and all the effort will most probably end up in the trash.

To set the right goals, they need to be true to yourself, realistic, and they have to be what you really want to achieve.

Mistake number 2 – Giving up immediately after the first setback

What do you do if your goals do not go according to plan? Do you take failure as a sign that you are on the wrong path, or do you pick yourself up and keep trying?

Your approach to failure will always forecast where you or your goals will end up. You will never come up with anything creative or original if you don’t dare try anything new for fear of failing. Of course there are times when enough is enough and when it’s better to let loose than to cling obsessively to your ideas, but make sure you are not killing them too early.

Mistake number 3 – Waiting indefinitely for a master plan before starting

Many think that only big goals or million dollar ideas count, otherwise they are not worth even the attempt. Some refrain from starting anything if they don’t have the whole plan finalized to the last detail.

Certainly it is good to have a sense of direction and to have some kind of a plan as to how to get there, but waiting until all details are sorted would be too inflexible on your part, and any external force that may require a change in your plans could shake you up so much as to frustrate you and make you want to give up.

Mistake number 4 – Expecting fast results

It has been demonstrated in a scientific study that expectations matter a lot and they impact enormously on our happiness and satisfaction. If your expectations are too high and the outcome does not match them, frustration is guaranteed.

In any project, either personal or professional, perseverance is the key. Do not aim for fast results, but work hard on accomplishing small milestones that will lead you to the desired destination.

Mistake number 5 – Getting lost on the way

Some of our goals or dreams may be too broad or too far in time, which is not a bad thing but it requires some strategy so as not to get lost in the way.

What you’ll need to do in this case is to project-manage them and break them down into smaller parts. If, for example, your goal is to stop working in 10 years’ time, ask yourself these questions:

How much money will you need to have saved by then?
And to have that amount saved, how much do you need to save a year?
What will you need to do this year to reach the goal?
And what will you need to do this month to reach the annual objective?

Establishing deadlines and milestones will help you keep on track and better monitor your progress.

Mistake number 6 – Are they truly goals?

Many people think they have goals. In reality, they have only desires, hopes, or fantasies. Are you really committed to them? If so, what are you doing to meet them? Learn to identify whether they are indeed what you want to achieve or just a “something nice that you would like to happen”.

Mistake number 7 – Refusing help

If you are serious about your goal, getting a few supporters that can encourage you when things don’t go quite according to plan, or when you seem to be losing steam, can determine whether you’ll reach that goal or not.

Mistake number 8 – Lacking self-belief

It’s incredible how much our attitude can interfere with our goals and happiness. If you don’t believe you can do it, odds are you’ll never do it.