Learning how to set goals effectively is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your life. Unfortunately, it is also the one area that might be holding you back if you aren't doing it right. Here are the top mistakes that you absolutely have to avoid if you are serious about reaching the important goals that you set for yourself.

1. Making Your Goal Too Big. Sometimes your really big goal can seem scary. There might be many, many steps between where you are now and where you want to end up, and getting there can seem impossible.

How to avoid this trap: Break your big goals down into smaller, less intimidating ones. Rather than setting a goal like making a million dollars a year, you might be better off first aiming for one hundred thousand dollars a year, then when you hit that goal you can set your sights higher.

2. Making Your Goal Too Small. This is the flip-side of the previous mistake. If your goals are too small it becomes too easy to put off taking action on them and you wind up getting distracted by other things and never getting around to your goals.

How to avoid this trap: Powerful goals are ones that stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Be sure yours are big enough to keep your interest long enough to achieve it.

3. Making Your Goals Too Vague. If your goals are not specific you will have a hard time focusing on the correct steps to take. You might not even be able to figure out the next steps to take, because you don't know where you are going. This is like trying to find your way through a busy city while blindfolded - you never know which direction to turn.

How to avoid this trap: Make your goals as specific as possible. The more details that you know about your goal, the better.

4. Setting Conflicting Goals. Many times you might have two or more goals that conflict with each other. For example, one of your goals might be to spend more time with your family, and another might be to move your career to the next level, which could require you to spend more time at work. Situations like this usually cause you to freeze up and not achieve any of your goals.

How to avoid this trap: Look closely at each of your goals and what you hope to get when you reach them. If any of them conflict with each other, you have to make decisions about which of the goals is more important to you, or try to balance the goals.

5. Not Setting Goals At All. It sounds crazy, but some people talk about all these big goals that they have, but they never actually set a goal and work towards it. And the reality is that it is impossible for you to hit a target that you are not aiming at.

How to avoid this trap: SET GOALS! By some estimates, only 3% of people actually set goals and write them down. Those are the people who are achieving their goals and changing their lives. You can do that too. Get serious about the things that you want to achieve. Form them into goals and write them down!

If you avoid these common mistakes when setting goals you will be well on your way to something more important - like achieving your goals and then setting bigger and bigger goals.

Author's Bio: 

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