Setting goals isn’t a difficult process, but if you fail to set goals correctly and follow-through, you will fail. However, I don’t want you to be overwhelmed or disheartened. Really, there are psychological hacks sprinkled through this entire guide to help you set goals effectively and follow up frequently to ensure success.


“If you dream it, you can achieve it.”

Zig Ziglar
If you dream it then you can achieve it. Motivational Poster for Work! Learn how to set goals properly and avoid these mistakes.

Do not be afraid to dream big! I’m a dreamer, always have been and always will be. I am constantly thinking of ideas and I have notebooks full of craft project ideas and blog posts.


20 Mistakes You Could Be Making When You’re Setting Goals


How do I figure out which ones to pursue? I ask why. Why am I doing this and how does it get me closer to my end goal? Of course, I don’t always do things because they’re moving me towards a specific goal.


“Look for the answer inside your question”


Let’s begin with the goal-setting mistakes you could be making:


1. You don’t ask why you’re setting a goal

Meditating, journaling and yoga make me happy. They’re good for my mental health, which in turn is good to keep me on track to achieve goals in other areas of my life.

When you set a goal, think about the end goal and why you want to achieve it. Do you want to improve your relationship? Use this handy Canva template to customise and track your goals.

Beige Flower List Maker Relationship Interactive Instagram Story by Canva

2. Setting Goals That Don’t Excite Or Motivate you

If your goal is to go to the Bahamas, but it means you have to work longer hours in a crappy job, what should you do?

Get a stunning picture of the Bahamas and set it as wallpaper on all your electronics.

Print out a stock photo of the Bahamas.

What do you need to get to the Bahamas?

Answer: More money.
  • How do you get more money?
  • Is your goal to quit that crapola job and work from home?
  • Take some time to meditate or at least relax and visualise how you want your future to look.
  • Do you want to have a fantastic home office?
  • Space where you are constantly motivated and happy to be in?

Find some amazing craft rooms and post them up on your walls to remind you, that is where you want to be.

Remember that you are 100% more likely to achieve your goal if you are really excited about the outcome. (Full disclosure, I completely made that percentage up. But I believe it! Is that enough?!)


“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill
Smarter Goal Setting - Don't Make These Mistakes

3. You don’t break your goals down into actionable steps (short-term goals)

If you apply a timeframe to your action steps, then you’re flying sunshine!

The more detailed your actionable steps are, the more likely you are to be successful.

Not setting actionable steps means that you are simply going to fail.

Set actionable steps/short-term goals that will help you reach your big goal.


4. You don’t accept that failure is possible

The truth is, if you don’t set the steps above and accept that you might fail, you are going to be so disappointed.

For example; people who think that new years resolutions don’t work.

The reason they don’t work is that people treat it as a wish list more than a “goals they will actually achieve” list.

You may have guessed by now, but I’m a #goalgetter. I set goals every quarter. Then I review said goals at the end of every quarter. Reassess and adjust my goals accordingly.

I consider myself a goal setting Ninja but Nadalie takes it to THE NEXT LEVEL with her Free guide ‘How To Slay Your Goals‘.

If you are ready, you should get your hands on the planner. It’s an incredible, value-packed resource that you need to get your hands on!


5. Don’t set a time frame to complete their goals.

If your goal is to start a blog and start earning money within three months, that gives you 12 weeks to plan.


Now it’s time to set goals for the next quarter that will be reviewed at the end of the four months.


6. You don’t write your goals down.

It baffles me how people expect to achieve anything when it isn’t written down and visible. If something isn’t in front of me and I’m not reminded of it, I forget all about it.

Sometimes my home office is more like a scene from Memento, but that’s because I struggle with memory problems due to chronic medical conditions (you can read all about them right here).

Despite my memory problems, my medical conditions and my disability I am still crushing goals.

So why the fudge aren’t you? If I can do it, you certainly can.


7. You Make Too Many Goals

Have you ever written a list of goals you’d love to achieve and it ends up looking like a grocery list? I’ve done that. And instantly felt overwhelmed. At that stage, I wouldn’t be surprised if you abandoned your list altogether. But it’s okay, it’s just a starting off point.

Walter Smith - Motivational Quote

8. You don’t prioritise your goals

At the grocery list stage, you want to determine which of your goals are most important. To do this, you need to go back to step one and ask why.

  • Why are you setting your goal?
  • What is your overall goal?
  • Is it to make more money?

Then your first goal should be to do whatever will make you the most money immediately. And organise from there.

At this stage, it is best to make a priority matrix.

I use a huge poster board, and multicoloured neon post-its, washi tape and a sharpie.

Life it about Results

9. You haven’t figured out how to measure your goal

What does success mean in relation to the goal you want to set? Is your goal to have a blog, with content, ready to launch? Is it having your first 1k in blog traffic?

You need to figure out what will equal success.


10. You’ve done the planning but not done anything to take the steps towards achieving your goal

So, you’ve made a plan. You’ve set your goals. You know how you are going to measure success. You’re excited by the goals. But, you haven’t got past the planning stage. If that’s the case, ask yourself why. Why haven’t you taken the first steps to achieving your goals?

Anais Nin Quote - Courage

11. Don’t address any fears you may have that are associated with your goals and therefore procrastinate on taking any steps

This could be the reason you haven’t progress past the planning stage. You’re afraid. Fear is the number one reason why people are stuck in jobs that they hate. They’re afraid of the uncertainty or that it might not work out. If you are determined, you can achieve anything.

Just take a look at this disabled face *points to self* who isn’t suited to a 9-5 and does what she loves for a living.

It’s possible.


12. You’ve used negative language when you set your goals.

According to the book, words can change your brain,

“Hostile language can disrupt specific genes that play an essential part in the production of neurochemicals that protect us from stress. Humans are hardwired to worry — part of our primal brains protecting us from threats to our survival — so our thoughts naturally go here first.”

So, if you use negative language in your goal setting, there’s a chance that it will trigger stress hormones and you actually avoid taking action.

Instead of ‘I will lose weight.’ Try ‘I will eat healthier and exercise for the good of my health.’


13. You have set goals for other people to achieve

Ideally, you will set goals that you have the power to control. Unfortunately, we can’t change people. Otherwise, we would all be happy. So no more ‘I can change him!’ because you can’t. You can’t change somebody’s actions or intentions.

There is a chance you could convince them to do something because x equals y, but you would have a better chance at setting a goal you can control and achieve.

Motivational Quote

14. Have You Stretched out of your comfort zone?

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re too small – Richard Branson”

The self-made bazillionaire has a point.

I only started experiencing success in my business when I got brave enough to put myself out there and tell my story.

The word ‘brave’ is my word of the year.



15. You’ve gone too far out of your comfort zone

You shot for the moon and ended up on pluto. Your goals need to be realistic before you are able to achieve them.

“f I can see it, then I can be itIf I just believe it, there’s nothing to it.”
Bam. Space Jam.

In all seriousness, don’t go for ridiculous goals. Set goals that are actually attainable.


16. You don’t review your goals

Set a time or date in your calendar, each week or each month to have a quick look at what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what you need to do more of to achieve your goal.

Robin Williams Quote

17. What’s next?

When you achieve your big goals, what is next for you?


18. You are a perfectionist

My cousin is a bit of a perfectionist, and sometimes that is a little infuriating for me; a free-spirited, arty, hippy. She’s arty too, she’s just a bit of a control freak. I get it. People who suffer from anxiety can be like that. I suffer quite badly from anxiety, but when I’m medicated and meditating on a daily basis, I’m all good.

Ask yourself this, what is the absolute worst case scenario?

and then ask, what is the best case scenario?


19. Your goals aren’t visible

Make sure you print out a visual representation of your goal or write in massive letters on a piece of paper and stick it to your wall.

Psychologically, these reminders can propel you forward when it comes to achieving your goals.


20. You don’t celebrate every single win

Seriously. Every single task you achieve is a win. It gets you one step closer.

I like to visualise that I’m stepping across stepping stones in a little shallow river.

It doesn’t matter if I fall in, and every step is getting me closer to the other side, where I want to be.


Remember to keep thinking of the outcome.

Think of why you were motivated in the first place and how amazing it’s going to feel to achieve everything on your list!

“You are capable of amazing things.”


Be so good they can’t ignore you

Steve Martin
Be So Good They Can't Ignore You - Steve Martin Pencils!
Buy yourself a set of these and use them everyday to motivate yourself!

Recap Time:

  1. Don’t ask why
  2. Haven’t written them down.
  3. Don’t break them down into actionable steps
  4. You don’t accept that failure is an option
  5. Don’t set a timeframe to achieve your goals
  6. You don’t write your goals down
  7. Too many goals
  8. Don’t prioritise
  9. You haven’t figured out how to measure your goal
  10. You’ve done the planning but not done anything to take the steps towards achieving your goal
  11. Don’t address any fears you may have that are associated with your goals and therefore procrastinate on taking any steps
  12. Set negative goals (it’s counterproductive)
  13. Set goals for other people
  14. You haven’t stretched out of your comfort zone
  15. You’ve gone too far out of your comfort zone
  16. You don’t review your goals
  17. Haven’t identified what your next steps are going to be.
  18. Seeking perfection
  19. Your Goals Aren’t Visible
  20. You don’t celebrate your achievements

Setting SMART goals is just the beginning:

SMART goals date back to a publication in an issue of Management Review in the 1980s, by a man called George T. Doran.

He addressed S.M.A.R.T. goal setting when referring to businesses management’s objectives.

Specific – you need to get super specific, so you can achieve your goal.

Getting specific helps you figure out what you need to do and how to do it.

Measurable – so you can measure success.

Attainable – are they achievable?

Relevant – do you actually need this goal in your life? What is your why?

Time bound – When do you want to achieve this goal? Set a date for success.

Remember when that essay was due in for school (like tomorrow) and you put it off and put it off, and in the last two days you were working like a crazy person so you could finish it and hand it in?

Deadlines are motivation.

SMART goals have been taken two steps further for guaranteed success.

Now, they’re SMARTER!

Ethical – to align with your core values as a human.

e.g., eat less meat because it’s better for the planet.

Recorded – write those suckers down!

Smarter Goals - Learn how to set smarter goals for your business

But as I said, setting the goals is the first step.

For the past few years, I have anticipated every January first so I get on with those New Years resolutions!

I have always known that setting resolutions didn’t work.

Even when I was a young and foolish, I knew that saying I wanted something was very different to actually getting something.

That’s when I started to set goals with an attainable win for me!


How to use the Workbook

Maybe one weeks worth? Fill it in and review it every single day.

The space at the bottom is for your favourite motivational quote, and you can tick off those steps.

At the end of the week, see what you have achieved and celebrate every single win!

I’ve been sharing inspirational and motivational quotes for you to use and I urge you to check out my pinterest board with fabulous quotes.

They are not focused on anything in particular; I started the board so I could save my favourites for future lettering projects.

That way you can decide if you want to keep printing this out or switch to something like a Trello board.

Personally, I use a printable to set my goals and action steps, and I then create a trello board for each goal with action steps underneath.

I’d like to share this sample trello board, created for trello by Brit Morin, ceo of Brit & Co. The board was intended to help her organise a home makeover.
I have something similar in process at the moment.
You can attach due dates, reminders and add attachments.
This is a very visual way of organising your goals & action steps.

Quite like a Kanban board only so much more.


Excellent Resources:

Two extra tips from me: If you use trello and chrome, download these three extensions:
Pomello – which helps apply the pomodoro technique and uses time increments of 25 minutes for you to work on a task. When the timer buzzes you can choose to finish the task or keep working on the same task after you have a timed break.
Trello web clipper – helps you clip web pages onto your trello boards without having to open trello itself.
Chromello for Trello – where you can add cards.
If you use chrome, download xTab; I suffer greatly from getting distracted too easily.
I have been known to have about 15 tabs open at once. With this extension, I’m able to set a limit to how many tabs I have open and block new tabs from opening up.
I love it.
ToddHerman – 90 Day Year

Awesome Quotes Pinterest Board.