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The six biggest mistakes people make in setting goals

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I don't know about you but I am looking forward to and planning for the year ahead. How will this coming year be different? What do I want to accomplish? Over the years, I've learned to take the time to plan my year in advance and then make adjustments to my plan as I go through the new year. Sound too good to be true? It's not but it does require some patience and discipline to pull it off. Anyone can set haphazard goals that will never be achieved. To me, that's a waste of time. How about setting some goals that you can achieve and feel good about this coming year?

As a performance and success coach, I have the opportunity to meet a tremendous number of people from all around the world. One thing I've come to realize is that goal setting isn't easy for most. The six most common mistakes I see people make include:

1. They keep their goals in their head and don't write them down. A mentor of mine once told me that if I was serious about my goals, then I needed to put them on paper. People who keep their goals in their head are not serious about achieving them. Unless it is in writing, it's nothing more than a dream.

2. Too many people are afraid of success so they play it safe. This means that they don't stretch themselves out of their comfort zone so they can learn and grow. Goals shouldn't be impossible to achieve but they also shouldn't be slam dunks. Push yourself a bit further this coming year and watch yourself grow.

3. People give themselves permission to procrastinate. What I mean is that there is never an end date for a goal. Without an end date for your goals, you are like a ship on the ocean without a rudder. Just wandering aimlessly, taking your time, and hoping for a positive outcome. It's not going to happen! Set a date you want each of your goals achieve and work toward that date. Having a date associated to your goals should create a sense of urgency.

4. A lack of accountability. If only you know your goals and you don't achieve them, how are you going to hold yourself accountable? The answer: you won't. You need an accountability partner to help you stay true to your goals and be a sounding board for when things don't go as planned. Without accountability, you give yourself permission to fail.

5. The goals are not specific enough. Without specifics, you can't visualize and when you can't visualize, you won't achieve your goal. Just imagine if I brought home a box of metal parts - nuts, bolts, metal plates, wheels, and bars and asked you to assemble the product. What would you do? You'd probably think I was out of my mind, right? Well, without clear instructions, you can't possibly achieve one or more of your goals. Start your goals at a high level and then drill down to the specifics until you can visualize the process taking place.

6. They fail to replace a completed goal with another goal. Goal setting isn't about having a finish line and being done. It's about accomplishing great things and constantly adding new goals to the list. Without the addition of new goals, you'll be in the same place you're at now but a year later.

The choices you make now will determine much of the outcome of 2014. You can stay the same as this year or you can choose to change it up. Where do you want to be financially? Spiritually? What improvements do you want to make to your health? Relationships?

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