Dipo Adebayo
4 min readAug 7, 2022


The Wrong Way to Set Goals.

3 Common Mistakes We Make Setting Goals.

"Dipo, I’m done setting goals" said a friend of mine. "I’ve set goals time and time again, put in a lot effort but fail to achieve them."

Maybe like my friend, you've also given up on setting goals.

But what if the problem isn't with us or with setting goals but in how we set goals?

Goal setting is great. But it could hurt us if we don't set goals the right way.

Here are 3 common problems with how we set goals:

1- We set goals without clarifying why we want them: We need to question why we want the things we want.

When we do, we may realize we want certain things because that's what our peers or popular culture say is acceptable, and not because we really want those things.

If we set goals like this we may not have the drive/passion to accomplish them, and even if we do achieve these goals, we won't be happy because we don't really want them.

Even when we've clarified why we want our goals, we need to periodically reevaluate if we still want them, because we change, and the things we wanted last year may not be the things we want today and there's no point still going after a goal we don't want anymore.

2- We set goals without setting habits.

Achieving goals often require habit. To achieve a goal of passing an exam with distinction requires the habit of studying frequently. To achieve a goal of financial freedom requires a habit of practicing principles of wealth creation. To achieve most things requires frequent and consistent practice.

So if I set a goal to lose 10kg in say 3 months, I should also set a goal to become a person who exercises for say 20 minutes every day. If I want to double my income, I should also have a goal to triple the sales calls/emails I send daily.

The goal isn't to lose 10kg and then stop doing the things that helped me lose weight, and then I quickly regain the weight I struggled to lose. The goal is to become a person who has adopted the lifestyle (daily habits/routines) needed to achieve and sustain a healthy body.

To achieve our goals, we shouldn't focus only on the desired end result but also on the process of becoming the person we need to be to achieve that goal and sustain it.

For every goal I set, I should ask myself, "what are the habits I need to get there?" Then I focus on making those habits my lifestyle.

P.S I learnt this second point from James Clear, author of the popular book "Atomic Habits" and of the 3-2-1 newsletter reputed as the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web. Sign up here for free access to his insights: https://jamesclear.com/3-2-1/refer?rh_ref=8d3c3f71

3- We set goals thinking we are God:

Nope, you're not God. You don't control certain things.

For example, you may set a goal to get married before you're 30. But what if you don't meet the right person?

Or you set a goal to work for Google before you're 40. What if despite your best efforts, Google doesn't accept you?

Let's face it. Some things are beyond our control. We do the best at what we can control and leave what we can't control to God.

So what goals do you need to set? Why do you want them? What habits do they require? Who do you need to become to achieve your goals? What part of achieving them isn't in your control? Will you feel less confident if you don't achieve them?

If you enjoyed this article, I'll love for you to share it with others.

Hi. I'm Dipo, I write, speak and train on interpersonal/softskills, teenagers, hope, emotional healing, and overcoming fear, failure, rejection and other limiting emotions and mindsets that stand in the way of your progress

Generally, I share content on personal development. I love to see people grow and become better. You can get free access to my articles here: https://bit.ly/3MB3CUu

Let's connect on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dipo-adebayo-a99493114

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Dipo Adebayo

I am a water engineer, softskills coach, writer & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo