Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3 key mistakes to avoid in setting goals

CBS News

By Robert Pagliarini

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(MoneyWatch) If you set goals for yourself or for others as part of your job, it is imperative you don't make the goal-crushing mistakes discussed below. … According to research from Harvard Business School, you need to avoid these common errors in setting goals:

1. Goals that are too specific. … Goals can be too specific. The biggest problem is when you set the wrong goal. You decide to lose 15 pounds. Seems reasonable, but it may be too focused on a specific number and distract from what you really want -- better health. ...

Another side-effect of excessively targeted goals is that you can become blind to important, but seemingly unrelated, issues. …

2. Too many goals. … Research shows that when we have both quantity and quality goals, we will focus on meeting the quantity goals because they are easier to achieve and measure. The lesson here is to strip away as many of your goals as possible and focus more intensively on a smaller number of objectives.

3. Inappropriate time horizon. …[If] your time frame is off, your goals may act as a ceiling to performance.

Take an enduring question that the Harvard report addresses -- why it is so hard to get a taxi on a rainy day. … Cab drivers typically set daily fare goals ... With rain comes more customers, so they hit their daily goal early and then go home early. In short, for cabbies the daily goal time-frame is not the most effective. If they set weekly or monthly targets, they could work longer hours when it rains and get off early on days when it is dryer (and slower).

What are your goals? Are they too focused? Do you have too many? Or do you have time limits that aren't realistic? Review each of your goals so you don't commit the mistakes above and to ensure your goals are designed for maximum success.

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  • Robert Pagliarini

    Robert Pagliarini is obsessed with inspiring others to create and empowering them to live life to the fullest by radically changing the way they invest their time and energy. He is the founder of Richer Life, a community of passionate people who want to learn and achieve more in life and at work. He is a Certified Financial Planner and the president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm serving sudden wealth recipients and affluent individuals. He has appeared as a financial expert on 20/20, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew's Lifechangers and many others.