WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUL. 26, 2015
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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Going After Your Goals

Whether it’s financial, career or school-related, reaching a goal is much easier said than done. Many people start off on the right foot, but lose steam after a while — primarily because they don’t understand the wrong and right ways to go after their goals.

See Also: 10 Ways to Commit to Reaching Your Goals

Here’s a list of the ten mistakes you need to avoid when going after your goals.

1. Not Writing Down Your Goals

It isn’t enough to say you want to achieve a particular goal. If you don’t write down a goal, it might never happen. You need to keep your goals in front of your eyes. After writing down your goals, keep them posted in plain sight, maybe in your bedroom next to your nightstand or in your office.

2. Not Having Realistic Expectations

It’s also important to be realistic. Some people have grandiose plans for their lives, and while it’s okay to reach for the stars, you have to be realistic and know your limitations. For example, after graduating college you might set a goal of being in management within the next 12 months. This is an excellent goal, but is it realistic? Advancing the career ladder might take longer, depending on the field. You can easily become discouraged and give up when goals aren’t realistic.

3. Setting Too Many Goals

You only have so much time and energy, so avoid setting too many goals for yourself. Working toward multiple goals at the same time can be overwhelming. And if you don’t think you’re making progress, you might throw in the towel. Instead, focus on one or two goals at a time. Once you achieve these, move onto the next goals.

4. Not Being Specific

Don’t just say you want to pay off credit card debt, be specific. How much credit card debt do you want to pay off within a given timeframe? Or if you want to build an emergency cash reserve, how much do you want to save every month?

5. Not Tracking Your Progress

If you don’t track your progress, it might feel as if you’re not meeting your goals. It takes time to reach goals, and since it’s a gradual process, it’s important to monitor your efforts every few weeks or months. Even if you’re only making small progress, it might be enough to keep you motivated.

6. Not Setting Smaller Milestones

For every large goal, you should create smaller goals or milestones. For example, you might have a large goal of saving $10,000 in your emergency fund. As a smaller goal, you can commit to saving $2,500 every six months, or saving a minimum of $400 every month. Smaller goals aren’t as overwhelming, making it easier to achieve larger ones.

7. Not Having an Accountability Partner

Get an accountability partner. This person checks in with you every week or biweekly to see how well you’re sticking with your goals. He or she is also a source of encouragement and support, helping you pick up the pieces and stay motivated if you fall behind on your goals

8. Giving Up Too Quickly

There are going to be obstacles and setbacks when working toward a goal. Achieving any goal, requires rising above these challenges. Nobody said it would be easy to reach your financial, career or school goals. Even if you get delayed or it takes longer than anticipated, you’ll get much farther if you don’t give up.

9. Not Visualizing Your Goals

It’s also important to visualize your goals. In other words, think about how you’ll feel once you accomplish your goals. This technique makes your goals real, and helps you stay focused and not give up in the face of hardship.

10. Comparing Your Results With Another Person's

If you and a friend set similar goals, it might be discouraging if he reaches the goal before you. However, everyone has unique circumstances. So the worst thing you can do is compare your efforts with another person’s. Focus on your own goals and plan of attack, and stop worrying about other people.

See Also: How to Reach Your Goals Through Self-Motivation

Having clear goals helps you move forward in life. Some goals can be reached in a short amount of time, whereas other goals take longer. Regardless of how long it takes, it’s important to stick with your plan and never give up.

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