Goal Setting Mistakes: 5 Tricky Goals That May Leave You Disappointed

 ‘We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.’ – Fight Club

We need to set goals that will actually enrich our lives, goals that have a great meaning for our lives. Just filling our pockets or showing off doesn’t fulfill us to the core.

In goal setting, there are two types of goals: intrinsic and extrinsic.

The motivation for intrinsic goals comes from within – such as when you want to provide a good lifestyle to your family, or when you want to work for a cause that matters to you.

The motivation for extrinsic goals comes from the external world. Money, status, fame are extrinsic goals because people chase them to impress others and not to express themselves.

To help you avoid goal setting mistakes, here are 5 tricky goals that may leave you disappointed.

1. Getting a Ph.D.

Going to college and getting a Ph.D. are not the same kind of goals. While the former may include many memorable nights with friends, the other is a very lacklustre path and one of the most common goal setting mistakes. It requires sacrifice – no movie nights, no late night TV marathon, no class bunks, and a dull social life. Getting a Ph.D. requires long study hours and a willingness to delay short-term gratification.

goal setting mistakes

According to CBS News, on average, Ph.D. students take 8.2 years to finish their studies and at the end of it, they’re 33 years old. And by that age, other people who started working after earning a Bachelor’s degree are well established professionally. Contrary to popular belief, job search after earning a Ph.D. isn’t that easy as academic jobs are tough to find.

So think twice before you set this humongous goal.

2. Getting A Six Pack

Why would you set out on building a six pack? Because women love it and it makes you instantly popular?

See, this is extrinsic motivation and rooted in a lie. Sure, some women love a six pack, but a six pack alone won’t help you woo the right girl. The right girl wants a man of purpose, drive, ambition, and one who readily shows affection. Also, people who matter in life don’t really care whether you have a six pack or a fat belly.

So instead of wasting your time and energy on this shallow goal, use that time to expand your skills,  travel with your friends – things that are actually meaningful. It’s amazing how if we become more aware of our motivations, we can avoid most goal setting mistakes.

3. Dating Your Crush

We have this notion that if this one perfect person, our crush, comes into our lives, our life will become extraordinary and all our problems will vanish. But the truth is harsh. We form these false mental images of our crush because of their physical attributes without knowing their values or understanding mutual compatibility.

goal setting mistakes

Once that false ideal in our mind is exposed, there’s nothing much to chase. It just adds to your list of goal setting mistakes. So if you are rejecting other potential partners because of this perfect crush, wake up to reality and realize that it’s not worth it.

4. Losing Your Virginity

We think about losing virginity as this pinnacle of success because everyone brags about it and it’s hard to achieve. But the truth is that the first sexual experience is usually awkward for both men and women.

If you’re planning to lose your virginity to a random person just for the sake of it, think again. Sex is just a way to deeply connect with a person. And if you get drunk and have meaningless sex, you won’t feel any better, it’ll in fact make you feel empty and expand your list of goal setting mistakes.

5. Hoarding Lots of Money

While everyone should work to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, studies have shown that beyond a certain point, money doesn’t contribute to happiness. But chasing money is one of the most elusive goal setting mistakes ever.

The 2010 Princeton study proved that earning above $75,000 annually in the U.S. doesn’t make people happier than those who earn $75,000.

This shows that money is important but only to a certain degree. If you have enough money to own a hoard use and car, travel, send your kids to school and retire comfortably, then you don’t need to live solely for money.

Instead of hoarding money, start valuing relationships because you don’t want to die without beautiful memories. And start giving to the needy. As Jim Carrey says,

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”. 

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