Are you making common goal setting mistakes that are undermining your plans? One of the biggest reasons many older people don’t continue to achieve as much as they could is not because they are unproductive. It is that they get too comfortable and fail to do what they did in their younger years when they were goal-driven and looking ahead.
Despite getting older you still need to make goals for yourself. Many Baby Boomers have accomplished great things in their working lives. As they begin to retire, some will take that same gusto and apply their expertise towards their finances, creating a business, or planning their ideal lifestyle. Others will become world travelers. But sadly many will be constrained by fears over money, debt, and health worries.
If you want to make this next step of your life the best years ever it is wise to avoid these mistakes.
How to Avoid Goal Setting Mistakes
Consider these four necessary components of successful goal setting.
- Be Specific
- Make It Measurable
- Keep It Realistic
- Take Action Today.
Have you become complacent?
We have all set goals at some stage of life. Consider what you have achieved in your work life and personal life. It’s sure to include many times when you set a very specific goal and just went for it. When the pressure is on, for instance when saving for a home or renovating, it is very obvious that goals need to be set.
But what about now when life’s pressures are not so compelling? It is so easy to start to drift, to just let life evolve without a definite plan to make things happen. If you really want to achieve something don’t make these classic goal setting mistakes.
It does not matter what you are aiming for, you need to be specific. If you do not have a clear target in mind you really do not have a goal, you have a wish. It is far better to have a goal of losing 15 kgs in time for your school reunion than saying, “Oh I need to lose some weight.” This is just not specific enough. How much weight do you need to lose? What will you eat and drink? What exercise will you incorporate into your life? How often? You will never know what you are striving for unless you are specific.
Make it measurable
Any goal, and I mean ANY goal, needs to be measured. Why? You could have the noblest of goals but not know if you have achieved it. This applies equally to the business world, to family life, or to taking a holiday.
Just suppose your goal is a three month holiday in Europe after you retire, but you do not want to pay for it out of your main Superannuation fund. You can talk to friends about where to go, watch Youtube videos about the great cities of Europe, search online for ideas of places to go and things to do. But unless you know how much it is likely to cost you, and start putting money aside for that specific purpose, you will not achieve your goal.
Yes, you might still go on that holiday. But your goal was to not dig into your main superannuation fund to pay for the holiday. That part of the goal probably won’t be achieved if you haven’t set a very clear and measurable goal.
Keep it realistic
You will accomplish your goals if you plan them carefully, so that they are both challenging and possible. There is nothing wrong with BHAGS – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. For many people, they create the motivation to succeed. But they still need to be realistic. When you set goals you know you will never reach the goal won’t inspire you and may even depress your efforts.
Take action today
This final step is really the icing on the cake. Without it, nothing else matters. We’ve all seen those Nike Advertisements – “Just do it!”. Well, that is what this is all about. Getting your goals off the paper and into your life is really about getting you into ACTION.
All you need to do after you have set your goal is to take some time to write out a basic plan of action and get going. You need to schedule it into your diary. When you do, you will avoid the biggest mistake of all goal setting – not taking action.
Make it happen
Your goals won’t just leap off the page and make themselves happen on their own. You’ve got to do what needs to be done. As a mature person, you have experienced successes and achieved a lot. Why not allow the knowledge of past success to fuel your efforts and make your current goals become your reality.
[Updated: 15 June, 2020]