Whilst it is good to have dreams and goals to aspire to, you also need to keep things real and sometimes you need to re-evaluate whether the goal is the right goal or whether you are going about achieving it in the right way.
Sometimes you may be so focused on reaching your goal that you can’t see the reality of what is going on around you.
Whilst I believe that goal setting is a good thing, there are situations where setting goals can actually cause more harm than good. Here are 5 such situations.
1. A blinkered view
If your focus is too narrow, you can end up cutting corners in order to achieve the goal, going for quantity over quality. This was the case for Ford motor company in the late 1960s. Ford employees overlooked safety testing of the fuel tank because they were rushing to get the Ford Pinto out into the market in order to meet goals. This resulted in several deaths by fire.
When you are solely focused on the end result, you can become a bit blinkered to what is going on around you. That is why it is essential to review and evaluate how you can do things differently in order to achieve your goal and to make sure that you are not cutting important corners. Just because you have set the goal, it is not set in stone and you can deviate or even change it if you need to.
2. On the road to nowhere
When things aren’t going the way that you want them to go and you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere even remotely close to your dreams, what do you do? Do you carry on pressing forward or do you give up? If you give up, all that hard sweat and tears will have been for nothing. If you carry on going, you could carry on going for years and years and never even get there.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got rings true in so many ways. If you keep trying the same thing over and over again and are not seeing results, it is time to do things differently. Failing to re-evaluate and change direction if necessary can be very costly. It can also be soul destroying working so hard for something only for it not to work out because you were chasing a non starter.
Whilst taking action is better than not taking action, make sure you are not on to a dead cert before you have even started.
3. Too many goals
Setting yourself too many goals can cause overwhelm, it can mean that you compromise quality over quantity because you just want to reach the end result.
Trying to focus on too many things means that you will either wear yourself too thin, not give anything your full attention or you will focus on one thing, leaving the others. You could then end up feeling very disappointed and a failure because you did not achieve all of your goals.
Similar to a blinkered view, but not that you are too focused on the goal you cut corners, more like, you’re so focused on the goal that you spend an unhealthy amount of time pursuing it. This is done at the expense of other areas of your life that are also important.
In life we need to have balance. Whilst running your own business or striving to smash through the glass ceiling is good and it is important, if it comes at the cost of personal relationships, is it worth it? It can be very lonely at the top. What’s the point of reaching the top of the ladder if you have no one to share it with when you get there?
5. Chasing the wrong goal
You’ve worked hard, sweated and toiled and have finally achieved your goal, only to find out that having achieved it, instead of having a sense of fulfilment, you feel a sense of disappointment. You realise that this is not what you really wanted and you have been chasing the wrong goal.
This is more likely to happen if the goal that you have been striving for was an externally motivating goal rather than something that is going to give you intrinsic reward.
Goal setting can be very good for motivation, giving yourself purpose and direction, but also be mindful of some of the dangers when goal setting goes wrong.
For useful tips to help you achieve your goals, read this post here.
Do you have any stories to share about when a goal you have set has done more harm than good? Or do you have any stories to share about goal setting in general? If so, please share your comments below.