Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail If You Make These 7 Goal-Setting Mistakes (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

I’ll be going to my gym to exercise tonight around 6pm, and I know it’s going to be packed with tons of men and women who have said to themselves that 2011 will be the year that they finally get into better shape.  Unfortunately, many of these people will give up on this goal before the end of the month. 

Why does this happen?

Whether you want to build a better a body, a better career, a better bank account, or a better relationship, there are 7 main reasons why most New Year’s Resolutions Fail.  If you want to make the 2011 the best year of your life, you must avoid these 7 deadly, goal-setting mistakes:

Goal-Setting Mistake #1: You are not setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.

-Solution: Despite what most “experts” on goal achievement tell you, S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based) are NOT sufficient.  You must make them S.M.A.R.T.E.R. by including the “E.R.” (exciting reasons) why you want to achieve the goal.  What benefits will you or others receive as a result of you achieving your goal?  When you find a big enough reason(s), you can achieve anything; without this motivation, you are much more likely to quit.

Goal-Setting Mistake #2: You don’t know how to achieve your goal.

-Solution: Make sure you know what is involved in achieving your goal, or it will not matter how hard you work.  Be careful who you take advice from; everyone loves to give advice, and most people have no idea what they are talking about!  Find someone who has already done what you want to do, and ask them how he/she did it.  Supplement their tips by reading, studying, and implementing tips from at least 1 well-respected book or course on how to accomplish the goal you are trying to achieve.

Goal-Setting Mistake #3: You don’t have a plan to achieve your goal. 

-Solution: Imagine yourself having already achieved your goal.  Then, work backwards and identify what you will need to do to reach your ultimate destination.  There will likely be a series of steps you need to take along your journey.  Have you identified them and organized them into a process?

Goal-Setting Mistake #4: You have not set any short-term goals.

-Solution: Don’t just set goals for the year; break down your annual goals into monthly, weekly, and/or daily goals.  For example, one of my goals for the year is to exercise at a high-intensity on at least 250 days, a goal I have achieved every year of my adult life.  That means I have to exercise 20 times a month, which is 5 times a week.   By focusing on 1 week at a time, my annual goal becomes much more achievable.

Goal-Setting Mistake #5: You are trying to achieve your goals on your own.

-Solution: Find a teammate(s) to help you achieve your goal.  This could be a trusted friend or family member or a professional with expertise related to the area of your life you are trying to improve.  We all need coaches and teammates to be our best, especially when we try to achieve a goal that is challenging.

Goal-setting Mistake #6: You don’t have a tracking/measurement system in place to measure your effort.

-Solution: Set up some sort of system to track your effort each day, week, and month.  Many people give up on their resolutions by the end of January because they have not seen the progress they had unrealistically expected by that time.  By measuring your effort, you will have proof that you are trying your best (or proof that you need to step up your game), you will be more likely to stay focused, and you will build momentum, a key to achieving any goal.

Goal-Setting Mistake #7: You expect significant results to come too quickly.

-Solution: Focus on effort first, and have faith that progress will show up in time.  Small steps add up very quickly.  Be patient with yourself, and reward yourself along the way based on your effort, not on your progress.

Do you want to make 2011 the best year of your life?  Then, make sure you avoid the 7 goal-setting mistakes listed above!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert, Author, Speaker, and Coach

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. I speak nationwide to groups of students and young professionals.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to

Explore posts in the same categories: Goals, Success

3 Comments on “Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail If You Make These 7 Goal-Setting Mistakes (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)”

  1. I as well be at the gym for my normal work out and its almost funny to see how jammed packed it is. I totally agree with you. Are you the owner of your business cause you definitely have the charisma for it.

    • Pete Leibman Says:

      Hey James,

      Thanks for your note. Yes, I run a professional development company that helps students and young professionals get their dream jobs (, and I run a fitness/nutrition company that helps young professionals get healthier and fitter ( Have a great start to 2011!

  2. […] your own list of goals or possibilities for 2011, review my friend Pete’s list that includes the 7 goal-setting mistakes  people typically commit when making New Year’s […]

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