4 Mistakes You Make When You Set Your Goals

Is it just me or are ‘resolutions’ not really a thing anymore?

Still, it’s a new year.

People still want to make big changes.

You might be one of them.

If you have, I bet you’ve already gone wrong.

Don’t worry – most people do.

Here’s how to fix it – these are the 4 things everyone gets wrong when they set new goals.

(1) Looking at the Wrong Thing

You know what people like to do? (Yes, I’m including you in this.)

People LOVE to tell you all the things they don’t want.

I bet that’s how you decided your ‘goals’ this year.

‘I don’t want to be overweight/weak/broke/always tired anymore, so I’m going to…’

Why are you telling me what you don’t want?

All that’s going to do is focus your mind on one thing – the extra weight, the weakness, being broke, or tired.

No, this isn’t ‘Law of Attraction’ stuff, this is about your mind.

It’s like an excited little puppy – it’ll look at exactly the thing you tell it to focus on.

So when you tell it ‘Boy, I don’t want to be broke anymore’, guess what it’s thinking about?

Being broke.

How’s your mind going to start imagining all the ways it’s going to make you money when the only thing it’s worrying about is not having it?

It can’t do two things at once.

It CAN’T start imagining big fat dollar signs in your eyes if you’re focusing on NOT having any money.

There aren’t many good solutions in focusing on avoiding something, because in order to avoid it, you have to never take your eyes off it.

So the first thing you want to do is start talking about what you do actually want.

If your mind’s going to focus on getting whatever you say, what are you going to tell it?

(2) Vague Statements

So you’ve decided to say it the right way.

Good start.

Now you’ve got to take it up a notch (if you want to do it properly).

So instead of saying ‘I’m going to lose weight’, you might say ‘Okay, I’ll say it better – I’m going to be healthier.’

Healthier than what?

Yourself? The dog? Usain Bolt?

Damn, I’ve ruined you again, because that ain’t a goal either.


Do you want to be healthier? How?

What will you eat, and in how many portions, how many grams of protein, or how many calories a day will you have?

What are your body measurements going to be six, nine, or twelve months from now?

If you don’t know that, your “goal” will fail.

You need to have a clear idea, ideally every day, about what it is you’re going to do – specifically.

It’s when you’re not sure that your mind falls back into old habits, and that’s one of the reasons you struggle to keep up with the new ones.

You go ‘What shall I eat today? I guess I should have a healthy lunch… but what? Um… Oh, I dunno. I’ll just get a sandwich from the shop.’

Clear targets, and obvious ways to get there, will keep you well on track.

(3) “I’ll Feel…”

Listen, if we all get our wildest dreams, we’ll all feel amazing.

But if your entire goal is to feel something in particular ‘I’ll feel happy/contented/relaxed/powerful when…’

Then, yeah, you’ve cocked it up again (sorry).



Because you could feel that way right now.

Sometimes, you don’t, sure, but if you sat there and remembered a time when you did feel that way, it would easily come back to you.

Or if something unexpectedly great happened today, you’d feel really good about it, right?

There you go, you’ve got the feeling.

Now what?

Ah, okay, so it’s NOT the feeling.

It’s what’s going to happen to GIVE you that feeling.

There will be something you achieve, a specific thing (a qualification, a promotion, a new client, etc…) and it will be the realisation or attainment of that goal which is going to get you what you want.

That’s what you want to write for your goal. Oh, speaking of which…

(4) Not Writing It Down

If it’s not written down, it’s not a goal.


You might be one of those people who thinks ‘Well, listen Tash, you might not be able to remember what you’re working towards, but I can. I don’t need to write it down.’

And to that I would say ‘You are very wrong, my friend. Also, rude, I still remember lots of stuff.’

I’m not just being pedantic…


There’s something called the generation effect, which is what happens when your brain creates somethig.

If you’ve made something up yourself, you’re going to remember it more easily.

(Like the time I wrote a terrible pop song in Year 8 during a music class at school. Still remember it. Shame.)

When you physically write something down, your brain doubles down on that generation effect – it’s going to remember it EVEN MORE easily.

The added bonus?

Once you have an external version of that goal, you’ve got something really specific to read through every day as a reminder of what you’re doing.

This is why vision boards can work really well, because that reminder helps you focus on what you want.

There you go.

Slammed it.

Now you’ve got some great ideas for how to make a goal that’s going to kick more butt this year.

Want to know how to make it actually happen (without any doubt)?

Find out how NLP can get your habits, thoughts, and actions all on board too, without all the awkward ‘oops, got it wrong again!’ bits in between!