The “Goal Setting” Trap

Copyright (c) 2008 Weston Lyon

There have been thousands of books written about “setting goals”. They’re all similar in nature giving you the same steps to use:

1. Know what you want

2. Create a plan to achieve what you want

3. Make a commitment

4. Track your progress

And while these 4 steps are the basics to “setting goals”, most, if not all, of these books do not tell you about the pitfalls and traps associated with each step.

Let’s take a look at each step, so I can lay out a road map for you without the pitfalls and traps – a road map for a smoother drive.

1. Know what you want

Most people set goals with their WHAT in mind – they know what they want. However, they blindly move into step two without a critical component.

Knowing WHY they want it.

It’s great to know WHAT you want – you have to know that before getting anywhere. But, if you don’t know WHY you want your goal, it’s going to be hard to get it.

Knowing your WHY, or your reasons behind what you want, is critical.

The WHY drives you. The WHY pushes you. And the WHY keeps you going when you fall flat on your face.

You must know your WHY. You must know your reasons. And the more emotion you can put behind your reasons, the greater your chance for success.

So, don’t fall for the trap of just knowing WHAT you want. Know WHY; and create a burning desire so strong you can’t help but achieve your goal!

2. Create a plan to achieve what you want

Step 2 is all about creating a plan to achieve your goal. Now, this step is very important, but, again, there is a pitfall to avoid.

And that is: making your plan too elaborate.

I’m not saying complex plans are bad – they’re not. It’s what you do with these plans that determine if the complexity is good or bad.

Most people who set goals and make a plan create an elaborate scheme on multiple pages. They write everything down!

Now, it’s good to have a “master plan”. But if you want to achieve your goals, it’s best to make your plans as simple as possible.

In this case, write out your elaborate scheme, but zero in on the important things to keep in front of you and put them all on ONE page.

This ONE page can now be your reference guide. It can be the plan you look at to make sure you’re doing what needs done.

This one pager is pretty much your core plan. Keep your “master plan”, but keep your core plan in front of you at all times.

Avoid this pitfall and make your plans easy to achieve.

3. Make a commitment

Making a commitment is a one-time occurrence, right?


That’s the trap. Most people make their commitment a one-time occurrence. While commitments should be a one-time occurrence, we’re human! We make mistakes. We slip up.

That’s why your commitment needs to be reviewed and renewed EVERYDAY!

I know that seems like a lot of work, but it’s vital to your success.

How many times have you “committed” yourself to a goal and not achieved it? If you’re like me, it’s happened more times than you’d like to admit.

How many times have you said, “I’m going to get this done,” only to wake up 6 months done the road and realize you’re not one step closer?

It’s happened to all of us. The trick to avoid this trap is to review and renew your commitments everyday.

Commit everyday and nothing can stop you!

4. Track your progress

This is probably the most underused step. Even if I didn’t give you the pitfall and you just started tracking your progress you’d be miles ahead of where you are now.

However, I won’t leave you hanging. Here’s the pitfall for this step:

NOT being aware

To make any change you have to become aware. More specifically, you have to become aware of what IS working and what IS NOT working.

You see most people who do track their progress just take a look at where they are and where they’re going. That’s important, but they don’t look at what is and is not working.

This is a big faux pas.

If something IS working, do more of it! If something IS NOT working either stop doing it, or keep that in mind as you test it.

Either way, you MUST know what is and what is not working. This information is crucial if you want to achieve your goal.

Setting goals is important, but learning and avoiding traps and pitfalls is essential if you want to achieve those goals as fast as possible.

Now that you know the traps and pitfallsFeature Articles, head out on the road to success and get ready for a smoother drive!

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