The two most common and obvious mistakes that people make when setting a goal, are that they are too ambitious and extremely vague.

Most of us know that an objective has to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound). Yet, it is so often that we see bad objectives and defective behaviors in establishing goals, targets or objectives. It’s just human nature, to let emotions replace rational choices, especially under pressure.

I’m not going to focus on the whole SMART objective setting, I just want to bring to your attention something that is so often wrong with our goals: They are too ambitious! Too, much, too soon, too often. Everything can be “too…” with an objective. Of course being too conservative is also a problem, but being too ambitious is extremely dangerous since this can actually hurt. Adventures are nice until you land hard and crash on the rocks of reality.

But, there is a way of fixing this. There are actually many ways of fixing this, but common sense is the only one that works. So common that you need to form a habit in order to make it work. Research, compare and test your goals before starting the actual work. It might take a little more time, but the reward is worth it. You’ll be on the right track and you’ll avoid hitting hard the mentioned rocks of reality.

Extremely vague goals are a direct result of not having enough information or, this is also possible, being undecided on what you want to do. Hope helps here. Time will make it clear at some point. You’ll know soon enough if your goal was specific enough or not. The only problem is that it will be too late. You just missed an opportunity and wasted some time and money maybe.

Again, there is a way if there is will. Be as specific as you can and use the who, what, when, where and why method to make it clear. Who will do i? If it’s personal improvement is you. If not this should be clear.  What is to be done? Again, one action at a time with a clear logic behind and within a framework of action.

Knowing when the goal should be achieved is important for you and for the other interested. It energizes and creates accountability. Why you are doing something is to be established before you even move a finger or make some room in your agenda to think about the objective. Of course don’t forget about the place of your actions. Context also matters.

So, be specific and manage your ambition.

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