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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Goals in Life

 As soon as we discover what we want to do in life or what we want to achieve, we feel excited and eager to start setting goals and planning how we are going to achieve them. But there are a number of fundamental mistakes that many people make while defining their goals and expectations, sometimes unconsciously, which can bring with them frustrations and disappointments that can impair the ability to succeed and achieve self-realization. Therefore, if you are in the process of self-realization, it is important that you recognize the 7 mistakes that should be avoided when setting goals.


1. Thinking too narrow

While defining different goals in our lives, many of us focus primarily on what we want to achieve and do not pause for a moment to try and understand why we want to conquer each goal and what we'll benefit from them. Thinking in this way limits our imagination and prevents us from understanding what we really want.

Once you have chosen to focus on what you can gain, you can act more flexibly and work to promote the changes taking place. For example, if you choose to do something in order to gain more power in your workplace and you do succeed, as long as you focus only on success and don’t try to figure out how to benefit from your change in status, you’ll miss the opportunity to cause other important beneficial changes. Remember to always look at the big picture and understand how you can leverage your successes.

2. Being occupied with status and prestige instead of your drive

One of the main mistakes we make when setting goals is giving too much importance to the status, prestige, and expectations of our environment, instead of the passion that motivates us to act. We often set a goal in order to obtain approval from those around us, while completely ignoring the things that satisfy us.

Such behavior usually attests to our need to please others, instead of caring for our own well-being. Therefore, any goal concerned with getting rich and achieving a high social status, won't typically make you happy or really satisfy you if achieved. You must make sure your goal is motivated only by things that will lead to your personal development and self-realization.


3. Believing that the realization of goals will bring happiness

In spite of the joy that envelops us upon achieving our goals, we must not hang our happiness on success alone. We often tend to walk a path that leads to goal-achievement and believe that as soon as we “conquer the summit” we’ll begin to live and enjoy life. However, this is a waste of time and energy because happiness and inner peace shouldn’t be based on goal-achievement. In other words, you must make sure that your goals will make you happier than you are, and not make it the source of your happiness in general.


4. Setting too many goals

You've probably heard the phrase "It's not quantity, its quality" and we must understand our limitations and the danger of setting too many goals. This is because focusing on only one goal at a time will allow you to delve into and invest most of your energy into achieving the goal, and the quality will speak for itself in the future. It's also important to understand that goals that require a lot of investment are what will make you evolve and advance in the long run, while quick-focused goals are meaningless for your sense of fulfillment and self-realization later in life.


5. Setting goals without a proper plan of action

In order to fulfill our aspirations successfully, we must build a clear plan of action and believe in our abilities through positive thoughts. Positive thinking is the foundation of any good plan of action since our actions are unquestionably influenced by our perception. To construct a proper plan of action, you must calculate all the possible pitfalls and challenges. Planning correctly will reduce your chances of failure. Therefore, remember to really detail your plan of action and split it into small, easily digestible steps.

6. Setting low expectations 

Expanding on the first mistake, once we develop a negative attitude and believe that we are limited in our ability to achieve our goals, we may set ourselves expectations that are too low and that don’t match our true abilities. This behavior may be due to low self-esteem, past experience, or lack of information.

So, if you think of a particular goal that you would be happy to realize, but at the same time you don’t believe you can achieve, you’ll most probably reduce your chances of success. You need to make sure that you understand your existing limitations and the resources available to you, and adjust your self-esteem to your reality.


7. Setting unrealistic expectations 

Another mistake that many of us tend to make is setting unrealistic expectations. This doesn’t mean that we can’t successfully carry out the task, but that we may be planning our course of action illogically. For example, you may not have allotted enough time to achieve your goal, which can lead to a sense of failure and make you give up the idea altogether.
Therefore, it is important that you learn how to set realistic goals so that you can realize those expectations. As you build your plan of action, try to figure out how much time each task should take, and schedule accordingly without excessive pressure which can damage the final result.
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