Setting goals is an important part of getting on the path to creating the results that you really want. But sometimes, setting goals is not an appropriate thing to be doing. Here are 3 reasons why you should NOT be setting goals

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4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Be Setting Goals

reasons you should stop setting goalsSetting goals is an important part of the process of creating the results that matter most to you. 

But sometimes, setting goals is not always your best next step or an appropriate thing to be doing. Here’s why:

4 Reasons Why You Should NOT Be Setting Goals

1. You are already feeling overwhelmed with everything you have on your plate.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything you already have to juggle, adding new goals into the mix is a recipe for creating even more stress, struggle, overwhelm, and failure. As a result, your chances of turning your goals into reality are greatly reduced. It makes much more sense to focus on taking action to deal with your feelings of overwhelm first.

2. You are constantly busy. 

Achieving goals successfully requires time and space to think, plan and take new actions. If your schedule is already constantly full, you are a stuck in the busyness trap and are also setting new goals as well, you are less likely to achieve your new goals. Look for ways to take back control of your schedule before setting new goals. Set boundaries to protect what gets your time and attention. Set new goals only when you know you have time and space to work on them consistently.

3. Your personal effectiveness, behaviour and habits need to improve. 

Achieving new goals often requires changes in behaviour, personal effectiveness and habits in order to create the tangible results you desire. That is because it is your level of effectiveness that drives your ultimate outcomes and level of achievement. If your personal effectiveness, behaviour, habits, and routines need to improve in some way in order to achieve specific results, it is important to be proactive with dealing with that in order to set yourself up to succeed.

4. Your mental and physical energy feel depleted by managing the noise and urgency of day to day life

Setting and achieving new goals takes mental and physical energy, over and above energy levels required for managing day-to-day life and work. So if your energy levels are feeling depleted before you start, you are not in a good position to be setting goals that will become tangible results. Put in place things that boost and maintain good mental and physical energy levels. Reduce or remove things that drain them.

Before you set new goals……

Before you go charging into setting new goals, make sure you have considered and addressed the four points above so that you are setting yourself up to succeed in achieving the results that matter most to you.

Commit to dealing with what might hold you back or sabotage your progress and results. Focus on clearing your path of what doesn’t serve you and putting in place things that will set you up to succeed.

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  • Great advice. It’s always better to review where things are and where we are before we set goals and decide where we want to go next.

  • Very true. It helps avoid making false starts or heading off in wrong direction

  • Hi Ali,
    What you’re saying makes total sense and I like the illustration you’re using about clearing the field before you actually build the house. This is why so many people fail with goals, they haven’t clear the clutter first.
    By the way, I wanted to let you know that I’ve just published a post as a tribute to Judy Martin. You and someone else were the only two people who were nice enough to let me know that my post happened to be her last tweet.

  • Hi Sylviane, welcome to my blog. Thanks for letting me know about your tribute post to Judy. Will head over to your website now and check it out. Thanks for dropping by.

  • All terrific points. Clearing the decks, and desk! Otherwise I’m setting myself up for failure, and who needs that? Great post Ali!

  • Ali Davies

    Jennifer, the power of having a clear the decks approach is in making it part of your weekly and monthly routines. That way, things never build up to such an extent that they gets in your way.

  • I’ve never been able to accomplish anything amidst clutter and chaos. Good advice, Ali.

  • Ali Davies

    I am similar Barbara. I like nice clear, minimalist type space – both personally and professionally.

  • Estelle Sobel Erasmus

    I like setting goals, but I can see how if someone is overwhelmed with their lives it can be just one more thing to add to the plate.

  • I am a big fan of setting goals too Estelle – so powerful in the quest to design the life and results you really want. But important to make sure we are setting ourselves up to succeed before we start!

  • carla birnberg

    OMGOSH I ADORE THIS. I am a firm believer in the notion of sometimes rolling goal free and just not sllpping backward is a huge victory.

  • I like to set goals but agree, you’ve got to clear your plate first so it’s not overwhelming!

  • Totally agree. I think that the bigger the goal, the more time, space, and energy one needs. If your daily to do list is too long, you’ll never get to the goals and that will only discourage you more.

  • Thanks Carla. Delighted you liked it.

  • Hi Nancy, I think it is a pwoerful way to set ourselves up to succeed.

  • Very true Anita. Important to make space for what is most important otherwise the noise and demands of less important things become all consuming.

  • So, you mean people shouldn’t set new goals? I agree, especially bloggers. We are already inundated.

  • Hi Janice, I am all for setting goals, but it is important that we do so from a position that will set us up to succeed and not to leap into it from a place that is detrimental to achieving those goals or our health and wellbeing. .

  • SharonGreenthal

    As you know, I’ve recently made a big change and though it was daunting, I went with my gut.

  • Hi Sharon, congrats on your big change. Onwards and upwards.

  • Malcolm Watson

    Goals are OK… but ideas with action are better?

  • Malcolm, I think, generally speaking, goals with a strong action plans are good in realtion to achieving tangible results. However, I think a driving factor that is often overlooked is that behaviour, personal effectiveness and habits have a massive impact on results – yet they are often overlooked. So, if we put focus on those things, together with focus on what we want to achieve, it is a powerful combination.

  • I can’t disagree.I’ve sort of traveled a path as it opened up and that’s worked for me.

  • That’s great Carol. An important reminder that different things work for different people and we each need to experiment and find a process that works for who we are and what we want life and work to be.

  • This is so intriguing, 1,2,3 are my sticking points…however due to preservation of mental health I have to make some changes. I am incredibly busy so how do I do #3? I am not sure how to manage #1…now I am just confused.

  • Creating change is a process. You don’t have to know how to do it all to get started. It can help to just identify one small step and take it. Then the next. Then the next. Transformation happens one step at a time. If you are really stuck it might help to hire a coach or buddy up with a friend for support and accountability. Maybe attending a course on what you need to learn to address these things would help. Different things work for different people so consider what is most important right now and work on addressing that. You can’t do it all in one go. Wishing you well in addressing the challenges – one step at a time.

  • Martin Haworth

    Thanks for a bit of common sense Ali. I think we should have things we want to explore and then set out to achieve them within our comfort zone (stay with me, I know that growth only comes outside our comfort zone, according to Neale Donald Walsch). Now, this might seem that we aren’t stretching ourselves, but the point I’m making is that if we are too ambitious, our lives will be filled with what seems like failures when we don’t achieve what we think we ‘should’ strive for. We need to look at ourselves and create our own challenges which are still within our scope (though we might not know it). I like Dan Pink’s ( definition of motivation (which has to be our driver, right?). A sense of self-actualisation; mastery and purpose. Be clear these are OURS, not anyone else’s. Oh, and be nice to yourself too FFS, your’e doing your best!

  • Martin, great points. Well said. I agree with where you are coming from.