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

#7: Not Knowing What You Want

This is the biggest and most common goal-setting mistake of all – not getting round to setting any goals because you don’t know what you want.

You can be an expert in all the goal-setting techniques known to man, but if you haven’t taken the time to find out what you really want, one of two things is bound to happen:

  1. You don’t set any goals. This means that you drift, and life just happens to you, and you have to react to whatever it decides to throw at you. This might work out OK if you’re lucky – and it might not.(It’s perfectly possible to drift in a well-paid corporate career, by the way – for the first twelve years of my working life, I sleepwalked through my IT career and was quite comfortably off by the end of it. But because I had no direction, I was unfulfilled and also vulnerable to career upsets.)
  2. You set goals (because you think you should, or because someone else tells you to) but they are not really about what you want. You don’t achieve your goals, because your unconscious mind sabotages them, or you achieve them but discover they are not what you really wanted. Either way, you still feel unfulfilled.

So how, in Carlos Castaneda’s words, do you choose “a path with heart?” How do you find your calling?

You can use either or both of these methods:

  • Take some time to discover your values in each area of your life – for example, what’s important to you in a career? What’s important to you in a relationship? Elicit the values for each area in turn by asking just that question: “What’s important to you?”You will get the best results when you get a friend to ask you this question, especially if they keep asking even after you think you have found all your values. Some of the deepest and most motivating of your values will be the ones that you are not at first consciously aware of.Some values are more important to you than others, so decide which are the ‘must-haves’ and which are the ‘nice-to-haves’  – and then go for fulfilling all of them anyway!
  • Try different experiences out. Notice what you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) about them? What is it about each experience that you really liked? Which of your values was it calling to?The more reference experiences you have, the clearer idea you will have of your preferences, boundaries, and the ‘hot buttons’ that really excite your motivation; ultimately, the more idea you will have of who you really are.

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

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