This month I learned some goal setting lessons…the hard way!
I’ve been working with setting goals and blogging about it for a couple of months now. And I made some mistakes. Preventable mistakes? Maybe, but honest mistakes anyway.
It feels kind of stupid. I blog about goal setting and related topics and investigate my subject, learning new things on a week by week basis. And although I have learned a lot about the theory, putting it to practice gives you entirely new insights or even a plain understanding of things I have blogged about already. In this series I’m discussing the mistakes I made, including live examples of my current goals. And where needed I’m correcting or adjusting them.
Mistake 1: Too many goals
I worked my way through discovering my core values. Translated them into a mission statement, and ended up defining goals based on that mission statement. I used a method of five different states in life, and set goals for all of them. But I didn’t keep it at a single goal, I set multiple goals for every different state.
In the end I ended up with 12 goals! And I was being ambitious with these goals too! Now there’s nothing wrong with ambitious (or even ridiculous) goals, as long as you don’t have too many of them at the same time! A total of 12 goals will divide your attention to the point that it’s hard to focus. And focus is important when setting goals and when working on them to achieve success.
Example: Two ridiculous goals at the same time
Two of my goals were very ambitious when I stated them. They are:
- By December 2007 the renovation of the 2nd floor of our house is finished and the office is ready for use
- By December 2007 I have over 2500 RSS subscribers on my blog
There was a lot (and I mean a LOT) of work to do on the renovation, and getting that goal done would have taken most of my spare time. Or, when outsourcing it, a lot of my money and I wasn’t prepared to pay up. The other goal was crazy as well. I set it mid September, and at the time I was at 200-something subscribers.
Are these goals doable? Yes they are, but not at the same time! Crazy goals are OK, but too many simultaneous and they WILL drive you crazy!
Although I hate it as a solution, one of the goals is scheduled out. Realistically, the renovation will not be ready by the end of the year. I did a lot of work, but there’s simply too much work to be done. I also need to outsource some of it and that has not been arranged yet. So the deadline for this is scheduled out by two months to February 29, 2008.
I’ll keep the 2500 subscribers as a goal. Yeah it’s crazy! And I can use all the help I can get, so if you have any suggestions to achieve this, leave it in the comments or send me an email at lodewijkvdb (at) gmail (dot) com.
Goal Setting Rules
So what are the lessons here?
- Too many goals will divert your attention, while you need focus to be successful.
- A ridiculous goal is OK, but don’t have several simultaneously.
Rocket science? Hardly, yet I fell into these pitfalls anyway.
Tomorrow: Mistake 2: Colliding Deadlines