5 Preventable Mistakes That Can Stop You From Achieving Your Goals This Year

We’re now well into the New Year! All the excitement and enthusiasm we had at the start of the year may be starting to wane slowly.

How are you progressing with your goals?

If you’ve been distracted or taken off track from your goals, it could be because you’re making one or some of the mistakes described below. If you continue to make these mistakes, then the chances of you actually achieving your goals will decrease dramatically.

If you’re able to avoid the mistakes shared below, you will save yourself time and effort, plus you’ll be able to reach your goals easier, and with a lot less stress.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Studies have shown that more than 50% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within two weeks of being set and close to 80% are abandoned within the first couple of months. That’s one of the problems with setting New Year’s resolutions as they typically are not specific, measurable goals.

Here are five mistakes that can prevent you from achieving your goals. These mistakes will be relevant if you’ve set specific, measurable goals with a deadline. If you haven’t set goals for the year yet, then now’s a good time to do so while becoming aware of the mistakes to avoid.

  1. Lack of an effective plan or strategy. Setting goals is an intellectual process which should involve developing an effective strategy or creating a plan to execute. Not having a plan to follow means how the goals will be achieved has not been thought through fully, especially anticipating potential challenges that may arise. This is why whenever we set goals, we should at the very least define the next action step that has to be taken towards the achievement of those goals.
  2. Failure to regularly review goals. This is something I have been guilty of. In the past, I’ve gone through a whole year without reviewing my goals once. Needless to say, I certainly did not achieve those goals. The reason to review goals regularly is to confirm that we’re on track and also reconnect to our motivation behind the goal. Regular review of our goals can also help us in the future when we set bigger and better goals as we can refer back to our review notes of what we did to achieve certain goals.
  3. Lack of belief that we’re worthy of our goals. We all have internal beliefs that are controlling what we think, how we behave and what we are willing to do to challenge ourselves. Whenever we set goals to achieve something that will challenge us, unless we’re clear on the motivation behind it and have a plan for achieving those goals, if obstacles arise, which they will, it will be very easy to start questioning whether we really want those goals. This is why it is vital for us to take a look at what is going on internally for us and make the necessary changes required that will support us in where we’d like to be.
  4. No emotional connection to our goals. It is very easy for us to set goals based on what we think we can achieve rather than what we really want. When we set goals on things we don’t have any emotional connection to, or if they’re not aligned to a bigger cause or mission, it’s so easy to abandon them or say to ourselves that they weren’t important in the first place. The key is set goals based on what we really want because what we really want has emotion behind it, and emotion is what will fuel our actions.
  5. Believing the purpose of goals is to get something. While goals give us direction, meaning and focus, the real reason behind setting goals is not to acquire something. While it is nice to have the new car, new house or go on the trip of a lifetime, the real purpose behind setting goals is to challenge ourselves to grow and become the best we can be. In the process of achieving a goal, we become the person we need to be to achieve the goal. The real achievement is growth and mastery. This does not mean we should not want material things. The real benefit is we will be required to go beyond what we think is possible or beyond where we have been previously.

If these mistakes are not addressed, it’s highly probable we will struggle to make any significant progress toward the achievement of our goals. That can lead to frustration, overwhelm, and cause us to lose interest and motivation for our goals. If we avoid these mistakes, it will make achieving our goals so much easier.

Action Step: Go back and review all your goals you have set for yourself. Be totally honest with yourself and assess whether you’ve made any of these mistakes. If you have, start putting things in place to overcome those mistakes. It could be reaching out to someone and asking for help, or doing further research on your goal. Whatever your challenge is, there is a solution for it!

Question: What is one step you will take to avoid making any of the mistakes mentioned above?

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  • Sean Smith

    Good stuff, Neel. My favorite is #5. Too often we are focused on personal gain, which plugs us into all of our fears and limiting beliefs, instead of service and contribution.

    • Neel Raman

      Thanks Sean! One of the most powerful lessons I have learned is that the purpose of goals is not to get something but to become the person we need to become in order to achieve our goals. Thanks for your comment!

  • Jane Ransom

    Terrific! My fave is #3, Lack of belief that we’re worthy of our goals. Super insightful–I’ve seen this in myself and in clients as well. Thanks, Neel!

    • Neel Raman

      I think we’ve all questioned whether we’re worthy of our goals at some point so I certainly can relate to that point. The good news is we can certainly do something about it. Thank you Jane for sharing your perspective. 🙂 Awesome!