February 4, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

14 common misconceptions about goal setting

It’s no wonder 80% of people don’t set goals in life… and only 6% of those who set goals achieve them in life.

Everyone knows how to set goals. But rarely do you find a person who sets practical, scalable, and achievable written goals. The common misconceptions and myths about goal setting are among the main aspects that most people find problematic when it comes to goals.

Let’s dive in to explore the most common goal setting misconceptions that everyone should know to avoid mistakes.

#1. I know my goals… No need to set goals

It’s impossible to appreciate goals without realizing how important it is to have one in life. Often thoughts, aspirations, and dreams are used interchangeably to describe goals.

Unfortunately, desires and dreams are abstract in the human mind. Goals are practical goals that you want to achieve in life or in your career.

Even if you have goals in mind, it’s important to write them down. The STAMP framework (specific, transformative, applicable/implementable, measurable, and purpose-driven) anticipates the primary criteria for goal setting.

#2. It is not necessary to write down the goals

according to dr Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, people are 42% more likely to achieve physically recorded (written) goals.

Today, writing down goals is easy. All thanks to the digital planners with intuitive user interface. You can do this on an Android tablet or iPad using a touchscreen stylus. Choose a favorite online planner from a pool of free and premium planners.

#3. It’s wrong to share goals

If you don’t have a personal goal, secrecy makes no sense. The culture of silo work is outdated and a cause for serious concern. Teamwork and cross-departmental transparency are the focus today, breaking with age-old workplace practices.

#4. Starting goals for the new year

Goals are much more than a New Year’s resolution. So you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to start working on a new goal.

When you have an idea, start as early as possible to achieve more. Time is of the essence as unnecessary delays cost you lucrative opportunities.

#5. If you set more goals, you will achieve more

It’s not easy to work on multiple goals at the same time. It just draws attention to different arenas. Those working on multiple goals schedule for each separate time slot. This allows you to focus on a single goal at a time to increase your chances of success.

If you have too many goals running through your mind, prioritize them based on their value, success, performance, and opportunity for growth. You will always have time in the future for the goals you have left out for the time being.

#6. Brainstorm ideas before goal setting

Goal setting is not about group discussions or team planning. It begins with individual values, prospects and plans.

You can always set goals based on your knowledge, aspirations and thinking.

#7. Follow the SMART target format

Most goal setting enthusiasts adhere to the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Goal-Oriented/Time-bound) framework. But does that work in practice?

There is a tendency to set simple goals when focusing on achievability. Such goals add no value to your progress chart, be it in your personal or professional life. Extended deadlines and short and simple tasks only mean you get little to nothing.

While SMART goal setting can be great for beginners, most enterprise-level goals are set on more complex frameworks like OKR (Objectives and Key Results).

#8th. Setting tough goals can be stressful

Fear of failure often prevents tackling difficult goals. But for an achiever, failure is just another learning experience.

Setting the bar high offers an opportunity to take on challenges. As you progress, it contributes to your learning chart and lays the foundation for success.

#9. The future is unpredictable, so long-term goals don’t work

Long-term goals (also in the professional field) are reluctant to be set, since nothing in life is static.

Long-term goals are not always difficult to achieve. You may need to make plans at various stages to achieve these goals. Break a long-term goal into different segments and assign tasks to each to achieve everything.

#10. I’ve set goals… I’m sure I’ll succeed

Just because you have a written goal doesn’t guarantee your success. You also need to work hard on a measurable plan of action to achieve those goals.

Setting goals is the first step to achieving anything in life. It’s not an achievement in itself.

#11. I have a current goal, I don’t have to set a new one

There is no rule as to how many goals you can set. It’s up to you to set as many goals as you want to achieve in your personal life, career or anything else.

When a new goal is achieved, it pays to write it down. You have enough leeway to make changes later, set deadlines or develop an action plan.

The traditional pen and paper planner may not help you set multiple goals. A digital planner is a reliable platform to create, edit or delete tasks, goals, plans, etc.

#12. Destinations cannot be changed

This is a common and discouraging misconception about goal setting. As you continue your efforts toward a written goal, new challenges or circumstances make achieving the goals inevitable.

It all depends on your point of view. Be flexible to change your goals (partly/fully) based on the current situation so you can achieve them in the future.

#13. Fixed deadlines are a must for goal setting

No matter what purpose you set a goal for, time is an important part of the process. However, goals are not always time-bound. A time limit allows you to focus on time during the action.

Life happens… so it may not be possible to meet deadlines every time. If you miss a deadline, try reprogramming a new deadline. Success in goal setting lies in flexibility.

#14. Not reaching a goal means failure

A missed goal is not synonymous with failure. You tried your best but failed due to one crucial factor. It helps in the learning process on how to set a measurable and achievable goal in the future.

Setting goals and putting effort into achieving them helps a person focus on an actionable plan.


Myths and misconceptions about goal setting only hinder your ability to explore and achieve your life. Once you have a plan, it pays to write it down and set out tasks, time slots, and notes. It serves as a reference to optimize your efforts for a better future.

Hauwa’s unconventional approach to planning and time management has helped her clients ditch their long, overwhelming to-do lists and still get more done in a day. She designs digital planners that enable clients to create systems that actually work. You have more time than you think.


Erin teaches overstretched, overwhelmed women how to do less to achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch on the cultural pressure women feel when they face down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to focus on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to outsource, outsource, or just stop worrying about the rest can take care of .