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The 7 Biggest Mistakes In Goal-Setting (and how to avoid them): #5

#5: Not taking into account the knock-on effects of achieving your goal

The ancient saying “Be careful what you ask for, in case you get it” is a very wise one. Because your unconscious mind will do its best to give you what you ask for – no more, no less – you have to be very clear about what the goal is that you are setting.

Consider a businessman who very single-mindedly sets a SMART goal of owning a company with a turnover of a million in its first year.

A year later he has his company, it’s turned over a million, so he has achieved his goal. But – his health is shot due to working 19-hour days, he’s a hundred pounds overweight because he’s been living on junk food, his wife has left him because he’s never home, and he has no friends left because he has made deals with them that left him with a big profit and them with very little.

This is not where he wanted to be, but because he did not consider the consequences and knock-on effects, his unconscious mind gave him exactly what he asked for – and no more.

How could he have avoided this? As well as making the goal sensory-specific and putting a date on it, he also could have looked at the consequences of achieving the goal on every other area of his life:

  • his health
  • his family
  • his friendships
  • the wider community

If you don’t consider all the consequences  of your goal, you may end up with something you don’t want. The smarter way to set goals is to take the consequences into account, allowing you to make changes to your goal and/or your route to achieving it. That way you stand a chance of getting the benefits of your goal while avoiding unwanted side effects.

Bonus tip: listen to your unconscious mind

The conscious mind can only track around seven “chunks” of information at a time (less on a bad day) so it’s easy to miss something vital when you are thinking your goal through.

Your unconscious mind, by contrast, is potentially aware of everything, and it can notice pitfalls that the conscious mind overlooks. Generally it communicates with the conscious mind by means of feelings. So – check how you feel when you think about your goal. Do you feel enthused and energized, or tired and discouraged?

If you feel less than 100% about your goal, that may indicate that your conscious mind has missed something about the consequences of achieving it, so check again.

Read this next: How to avoid goal-setting mistake #6

© 2006 – 2022, Andy Smith. All rights reserved.

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