Goal setting traps to avoid

Goal setting traps to avoid

There is a real flaw in the concept of setting goals and that’s wishful thinking. There is an idea that you can just set the intention and think positively about it and everything will work out how you want. Which actually isn’t how goal setting works!

Imagine if someone like Michael Jordan wished he could play basketball better and envisioned that, or if Richard Branson wished he had more money. No, you actually have to do the work and do the work in the right places. Your energy has to go into the right things in order to get the results, and here’s the thing, when you know the formula and you get it right, the results will be bigger and better than you ever initially planned. 

People really overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year.

And so when you make a goal it needs to be long term, but have increments you can check in on, to know how you are doing and if you need to make any adjustments. 

If you set up a goal without the right methods you are going to fall into some traps that stop you from seeing results and that’s going to be really un-motivating and un-empowering, and then what happens? You quit. You reinforce the old beliefs that you never get what you want and you don’t deserve to be thin/rich/in a relationship, whatever the case may be. You quit.

I want more than that for you. I believe in you and I want you to have the right way to set goals so you can do them. 

So I hear you asking, “What’s the right way to set up goals, Matt?”

Here’s your answer: You want your goals to be I’M SMART

What are I’M SMART goals?

I’M SMART goals are:

  • Inspiring
  • Motivating
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Risky
  • Tangible

When you create I’M SMART goals you avoid these goal-setting traps that make reaching your goal more difficult, if not impossible.

What are the goal-setting traps you want to avoid at all costs?

If you fall into these traps you will lose motivation and struggle to do the work required to get to the end of your goal. It will feel like a lot of effort and the risk will feel highly disproportionate to the reward. You’ll probably also see more procrastination creeping into your daily routine.

1. The Goal Is Meaningless or Uninspiring

Your goals should be important to you, and when I say you, I mean you, not your mother or your partner or your yoga instructor, you. If you achieve this goal it should bring you something you want and desire that’s intrinsic and in line with your personal values. You won’t be happy when your partner is happy. You will be happy when you are happy. This is an internal process and it has to be meaningful and inspiring to you, or you won’t want to do the work and get to the end.

2. It’s Not Specific Enough

Our subconscious takes things literally and is very numbers-driven. If we say we want to save more money, we can save one dollar more and our subconscious is celebrating. “Yes! We did it, we saved more money, now let’s sit on the couch and do nothing for the rest of the year”. It actually works like this. You can’t argue with that logic, you really did just save more money. 

So you need to overcome little things like this by defining how much money you want to put away, what weight you want to get down to, how much you want your business to earn so your subconscious will work with your right to that point and not find ways to finish the job early.

Being specific will also give you milestones you can work towards to help you avoid the next trap of being immeasurable as well.

3. There Is Nothing To Measure 

You can’t measure an abstract goal. Without measurements, you’ll have no idea how much effort needs to be applied and how far you are from completing the goal. It also helps with aligning your goals to your subconscious thinking and getting that powerful natural side of your brain working for you, not against you.

“I want to be happy.” Well, how much happy is enough? Do you want to be happy 90% of your day? That’s measurable. How much of your day do you currently spend being happy, 10%? Great, now we know the measurements for where you are, and where you want to be, so whenever we measure your happiness, we know if we are increasing on that original 10% and gaining towards your goal of 90%. How do you define the measure of what your end goal will be?

4. The Goal Is Too Big

If your goal is so big that it’s unachievable you will quickly lose momentum and quit, either that or you will make yourself seriously sick and put your body at risk from trying to achieve the impossible. Really big goals don’t happen overnight, they take years of success in mini goals leading up to it and being absolutely consistent towards that goal for years. Your big dreams can be broken down into smaller, more achievable goals that you can achieve along the way. 

5. The Goal Is Not Big Enough

I see this one far more often than goals that are too big – goals that are too small. When you aim too low, it feels like a sure thing. But actually, the opposite is true: You are not inspired or motivated because there is no challenge. It’s boring. 

Why would you try to achieve something that is well within reach? You won’t because there is no feel-good reward at the end. Your goal needs to be risky enough that it feels daring and exciting. Yes, you will need to do a bit of work to get over your nerves but pushing yourself out of that comfort zone is what you need to feel alive and enjoy life. That’s the aim here right? To enjoy our life. We only get one of them so let’s stop walking around like zombies and push some boundaries.

6. Not Setting Time Limits

If you have no time limit on your goal why would you be motivated to get started? You can always get started tomorrow, which turns into next week, and next month and next year.

Your subconscious works on numbers, remember, so give yourself a realistic completion time and break that down into mini timeframes to check-in and hold yourself accountable. That way if you want to get to 60 kilos by March, you have 36 weeks. That means in 18 weeks you will check in to see if you are halfway to achieving that goal of being 75 kilos as well as more frequent goals for fortnightly, or even weekly check-ins. If you feel stressed about weighing in, change your goal to be around fitness and having the energy to move. Set a timeframe for when you can run ten kilometres without stopping, swim 30 laps of the pool or do 20 reps with a 30-kilo weight. That way you have steps to measure, time and check in with and trust your weight will manage itself.

7. You Don’t Have A Vision

You need to put it on paper in a way that is positive (you have already achieved it), numbers-driven and “I” centred. Include pictures: your subconscious mind is very visual, so magazine cutouts and photos of what your future goal will look like when completed. 

“I have $30,000 in my savings account”, with a picture of your account showing $30,000.

As well as what things will look like for you include what things will feel like, smell like and sound to engage your senses and lock into your subconscious mind the regards that are coming.

If you do end up in a goal-setting trap just adjust. No one ever fails at a goal, they simply quit. It’s not a black and white situation, you can readjust, fix where the goal got out of line with I’M SMART techniques and go again. It really is a test of resilience and persistence. If you realise you are chasing something you don’t really want, figure out what you do want and go for that.

8. You Don’t Ask For Help

If you are working on something you don’t know how to do, you need someone to help you get results. Someone with proven experience and a solid strategy can help you implicate a plan to get where you want to be, fast. That might be a personal trainer to improve your fitness, or a coach to hold you accountable to your business goals. If you need help with your mindset or creating your goals, get a coach or a business coach to see the next level of success in your business. Ask for help from someone who knows what they are doing and bypass all the mucking around and trial and error. Home remedies are likely not going to have genuine results, unless they have worked for you before. I’d say get an expert, the best you can find to see how far you can actually go in meeting this goal and feeling great about what you can achieve.

What If I’m not getting anywhere with my goal plan?

If you aren’t meeting your goals there could be an underlying reason that has to do with limiting beliefs that have your subconscious working against you because on an internal level you believe you are not worthy of the goal reward or believe that there is a risk that will outweigh the reward. And let me tell you, these have nothing to do with willpower. Your unconscious mind is 90% stronger than your conscious mind so you aren’t going to win in a straight-up battle of wills. You have to change your internal neurology to find pathways that are going to work for you, not against you.

These beliefs can be hard to identify but when you do, you can break them instantly. Change is instant when you face it at a subconscious level so you can get back to work on reaching your goals straight away.

My Live It Now workshop is an incredible two-day event that takes you through goal setting step by step with I’M SMART goals as well as shows you how to overcome those internal blocks that are stopping you from getting the results you want and deserve.

Book yourself into this event and learn how to empower your mind and make positive changes, instantly.

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