Dos and Don’ts of Goals

Think you don’t have a goal?  Even if you want to have a simple, peaceful life with little or no responsibilities – I hate to break your bubble – that’s a goal.

A goal is simply something you are aiming for – an ideal of how you want your life to be, or what you want to experience.

I have had some interesting conversations the past week about goals – what goals are and what they are not, whether they work or not, who do they work for?  So here are my further views on approaching goal setting.

1. Goals DO NOT have to be massive to qualify as goals

You might think that because you don’t want the flashy car or the big house, and that your desires a simple, that goals are not relevant to you.  I had a client that was frustrated by attending a seminar where he got the message that everyone should be aiming for big and bigger.  He was frustrated because, as he told me “I don’t want any of that.”

I said “Great! What DO you want?”

Setting goals is simply a way to get clear on what you want and can be as big or small as you desire.  Goals can be just as much about your experiences, such as places you travel, or the lifestyle you lead, as the the things that you have.  Writing goals down helps you to be more specific and can create a greater commitment. (See point 5 if you worry about this commitment).

2. Goals DO need to be inspiring to you

When you tap into what you really desire, then your goals do become inspiring and they draw you to take the necessary actions to achieve them.  If your goal is not inspiring, then it becomes easy to procrastinate, putting off the things that will drive you forward.

Highly motivated people are motivated by their own inspiration – their vision and goals drive them, especially when they are also tapped into their purpose.  Even someone meditating consistently for long hours, is motivated to achieving inner peace or finding answers.

3. Goals DO NOT have to fit into what society thinks one should aim for

Very similar to point 1 but here I’m also thinking beyond the massive goals.  Even small goals might be fitting into society ideals.  If your goal feels like a ‘should’ then you may want to reconsider your goal.

Examples include going to college or university because that’s what society expects; pursuing a particular profession because you have the grades; pursuing sport because you have the talent.  What else do you feel pressured to do?

4. Goals DO have to fit into what you want to be and experience in life

The best way to know whether a goal is right for you is to try it on for size in your imagination.  Take a trip to the future and imagine achieving your goal.  Does it look and feel right for you? Do you like who you have become? Do the actions and commitment that it takes to achieve that goal feel like something you want to do?  Remember, a goal is more than the destination.  You need to love the process of getting there.

It’s no use dreaming of going to the Olympics if you don’t want to do the high-level training and be committed to your fitness and health.

5. Goals DO NOT have to set you up for failure

This point is for you if you avoid setting goals because you hate failing. Some people think failing to reach a goal is bad.  What’s bad about it?  Who says it is bad? I encourage my clients to celebrate what they achieve along with the way towards their goal.  Plus, if you readjust your timeline and give yourself longer to achieve your goal, then you can’t help but succeed.

If you have a fear of success, you might also avoid setting goals.  That’s because you are not thinking specifically enough about what you truly want.  Invariably, you are thinking achieving your goal is associated with other changes in your life that are not so pleasant – loss of control, too busy or not enough time for other preferred activities……, the list is endless.

Again, get clear on what is you DO want – all of it….The success and the lifestyle that goes with it.

6. Goals DO provide a way for you to grow

Goals move you forward in life and help you to evolve and grow in the way you want.  When you fail to reach your goal, just learn.  The poor result is invaluable feedback from which you can learn what worked and what didn’t.  Use what you have learned to continue on to success.

Resistance, obstacles and challenges will all serve to strengthen you.  Sometimes you will be directed on a new path – a path that you might never have found had you not set out on your original path.  There is no failure in that!


If you don’t like the word “Goal” then realize it’s just a word and what you don’t like is the meaning you have ascribed to that word.  Use another word that you are more comfortable with, and I also suggest that you consider taking the negative meaning away from the word.

So whatever you are aiming for in life, I encourage you to Dare to Dream – dream about what it is you really desire to have in life.

What are some other dos and don’ts that stop you, or people you know, setting goals? I look forward to reading your comments.

1 reply to Dos and Don’ts of Goals

  1. Great points Annette. re point 3 I remember finishing school and the girl that had the highest marks in the whole school chose not to go to university. It was like she had committed a crime, you couldn’t be that clever and not go to university, what a waste! I often think of her because I admired her clear resolve & determination.
    It does not matter what age you are, sometimes it takes courage to walk your own path whether it is with or against convention. And how can you know what is your path unless you have a goal in mind?

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