Not hitting your goals? Avoid these 3 mistakes.

Goal setting is nothing new, it’s important, you know it’s important, yet most people don’t do it. The ones that do often create vague “resolutions” that they abandon before they are even halfway through January.

If you want to decimate your goals this year, and I know that you do, then avoid these crazy goal setting mistakes and see how much farther you are by the end of this year.

Mistake #1 – Goals Aren’t Measurable

If you want any chance of achieving these goals that you have set for yourself for the year then you need to know where the finish line is.

I know you have heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals but this goes beyond that, this is biological.

In his book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek talks about what he calls “selfish” chemicals.  Specifically, Dopamine.

Dopamine is the chemical your body releases that makes you want to achieve something.  Originally this was purely for survival, it was Mother Nature’s way of ensuring that we would be sufficiently motivated to gather food before we were even hungry.  Simon gives the example that what if you, as a caveman, only hunted when you were starving?  You may never find food and you would starve to death.

For our very survival, we were given a way to motivate ourselves to hunt and forage before it became urgently necessary.

This same chemical is released as we get closer and closer to achieving our goals which drives us to accomplish them. This is why it is necessary to have a measurable goal.  If you know what you are trying to achieve then your body will provide the motivation to drive you towards it.

Without this, it is just a resolution that will never come to fruition.


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Mistake # 2 – Focus on Outcome, Not Action

There are a lot of things in our control and a lot of things that aren’t.

If your goals look like this:

  1. Make $100k/yr
  2. Sign 10 new clients a month
  3. Lose weight
  4. etc, etc.

Then you, my friend, are going to be sorely disappointed come this time next year.

You can’t control outcome, but what you can control is your actions.  Let’s take the “sign 10 new customers a month” goal and break it down.  There are many factors that can affect whether you can sign a customer or not, many of which you have absolutely zero control over.

But let’s say that you know that if you close 50% of the clients who go through a demo with you (or product demonstration, or trial, etc) then you need to do 20 demos a month to close 10 clients.  Now 20 demos a month is well within your control.  20 demos a month is a great goal.  And you can break it down even further.  How many calls do you need to make before you schedule a demo? 10? So you need to do 200 calls a month.

These are all things that are in your control, they are measurable and they will give you a nice hit of dopamine to keep you going 😉

Mistake #3 – Your Goals Aren’t Flexible

Your goals are not etched in stone.  They aren’t this set-it-and-forget-it list of things that hangs over us for the next year.

You need to revisit your goals often, create a system of check-ins on a regular basis.  What that time-frame looks like is up to you and what best fits your situation but you should be checking in on your goals at least once a quarter. And really more often than that to make sure that one, you are making progress on your goals and shifting your focus if not, and two, are these goals even still the same priority as when you set them?

A goal that made sense in January may not even be applicable in July.  Maybe you have shifted focus, or maybe you realized that the direction that goal was taking you wasn’t where you wanted to go after all.

If you wait until next year to review your goals you can’t shift and pivot throughout your year to make sure you are staying on track.

On that note, why are you waiting until January to set goals? I like the idea of a fresh start as much as the next guy but your goals should be evolving and changing throughout the year to make the best use of your resources and make sure they are aligning with the values and mission of your company.

That’s it.  That’s my 2 cents on goal setting.  Now go forth and set amazing goals, and then smash them!

Tell me in the comments, what is your biggest goal this year?

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