I am a huge fan of goal setting. They work very well for me and I have been able to achieve great things through goal setting. 

However, I must admit that setting goals didn’t always get results.

Here’s the deal…most of you have set goals in the past. Most of you have some experience of setting a target or creating a milestone, or having a big, hairy, audacious goal (or BHAGs as they are sometimes called). Yet, few of you have had the experience of not actually achieving those goals.

Maybe because it felt like a ‘push’ or a ‘should’, or a ‘have to’. Sometimes it is a feeling of ‘I’m never going to do it,’ or ‘How am I going to do it this time if I’ve never done it in the past?’

You can often end up feeling worse about yourself and take fewer actions when you do goal setting.

Why is that? Why does setting goals not really work?

Create Achievable Goals if You Want Your Goals to Work

Two Individuals Smiling While Working On A ComputerThere are generally three mistakes that people make when they approach setting goals. 

To start, it may be that the goals you’re setting are not actually achievable goals. They may be considered inspirational goals and in order for that goal to become a reality, you must make the distinction between what an achievable goal is versus what an inspirational goal is.

The first distinction that I invite you to look at is are your goals achievable process-based goals or are your goals inspirational purpose-based goals and how do you tell the difference? 

That’s the number one mistake most of us are making, and that’s probably why setting goals doesn’t work for you. 

You are using the wrong kind of goal to be able to motivate and achieve results in your business. 

Understand the Difference Between Setting and Achieving Goals

The second thing is that there’s a big difference between setting a goal and achieving a goal. 

The toolset, skillset and mindset for setting goals is different from the kinds of tools that you need to achieve the goals, the skills that you need to be able to achieve the goals, and the kind of mindset that you’re going to need to be able to keep you motivated and working towards those goals consistently.

A lot of you have been fed the line that all you gotta do is set it and forget it. 

This is one of the reasons I create a vision board for myself.  One of the ways that people use vision boards is if you just put it on the vision board and leave it there, it’ll just magically manifest itself. 

Does it always work? Sort of, I mean, I guess it’s happened. Mostly the goals on my vision board that I end up achieving are ones that:

  • I look at frequently
  • I focus on consistently
  • I write about in my journal
  • I share with people
  • I take some other kind of action on (even super small actions) 
  • I don’t just set and forget. 

A big reason why goal setting doesn’t work for you is that you are only doing it once a year. 

Why is it that we like to set our goals at the end of the year? We all do it. We like to set our goals at the end of the year so that when the new year begins, we have a clear idea of what we want to happen. 

But why is it that even though you have all these goals, they still don’t work out? It is because you don’t necessarily have the tools, the skillset, and the mindset to achieve those goals. You have the plan, but that’s all you really have.

An action plan is just one of the tools that you can use to make sure that you achieve your goals. 

There are other tools that you can use – other tools that you actually need. These include planning tools, accountability tools, the tool of having a support or a community of support so that you’re not doing things alone. There’s all kinds of different tools that you can use when it comes to achieving goals and you need to have all of them in order for your goals to work out.

Number one, you’re perhaps not setting achievable goals, and you might be focusing too much on inspirational goals. 

Number two, there’s a distinction between the tools, the skills, and the mindset that you need to be able to set a goal versus achieve a goal. 

And the last reason why setting goals doesn’t work? It’s because you need the right mindset for them to work.

The Correct Mindset Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

Co-workers Happy And Smiling Together

It’s about belief. And so often freelance creatives (and well, all of us really) approach goal setting by looking at everything that sucks. You look at all the things that you didn’t do last year, all the goals that you did not achieve, all the targets that you fell short of, all the ways in which you need to improve or grow or aren’t quite measuring up.

You approach goals setting by looking at everything that sucks.

And it’s from that place of… “oh, here’s everything that’s wrong, not working, here’s all the gaps, all the lack in my life”… it’s from that place that  you start thinking about our goals and they become ‘shoulds and have tos’ instead of powerful tools to help you achieve amazing results. 

The first thing that you want to change when you get ready to set goals is to change your experience of who you are in the world so that you can set those goals from a place of confidence instead of lack and failure. 

 Set goals from a place of I am capable, I do have skills, I can make progress.

Ask yourself – Where do I want to make progress? Where do I want to apply those skills? Where do I want to see myself grow instead of the shoulding all over ourselves? Then you will be able to see that you CAN achieve your goals and you will have placed yourself into a better, more confident mindset.

As you work through your goals, I really encourage you to look at those three Rs of successfully setting goals that I shared with you in my last blog post. Review, revise, and recommit. Most importantly, look at the review. It’s in the review of looking at what has worked, what you can double down on, what you can do more of. It’s in that review that you can connect to the evidence of awesome and you can start to see ourselves differently in the world.

Interested in learning more about achieving the goals you’ve set? Join me on January 18th at the Achieve Your Goals, Live Your Dreams workshop that I am co-hosting with Melody Ann Owen of Author Nation.

We are going to walk you through the things that we’ve done in our life to be able to actually achieve goals, to get real stuff done and the toolset, skillset, and mindset that we’ve trained our clients to be able to actually use goal setting effectively. 

Want something more one-on-one? Book a call with me so we can connect and discuss your goals and how they can start working for you, instead of against you in your creative freelance business.