• Christine Nekoye

Goal Settings: Tools & Common Mistakes

Common Goal-Setting Mistakes

You set a goal but it takes longer to complete than you thought it would, therefore you become discouraged. And, because you didn't stop to look at what you had achieved, you lose your drive and focus. Before you know it, the goal – and the opportunities you had in mind are forgotten. Sound familiar?

In this article, we'll look at some common mistakes that people make when they set goals. Learn how to recognize these mistakes, so that you can avoid making them yourself!

Mistake 1: Setting Unrealistic Goals

The excitement of setting goals can make one over-ambitious goal. This is extremely dangerous because chances are the over-ambitious goals will overwhelm you and discourage your progress.

For instance, if your goal is to have a million subscribers on Youtube, it's wildly unrealistic to get it done in a month unless you've already done several months of building up your fan base.

To set realistic goals, use SMART Goal Setting strategies: make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Mistake 2: Focusing on Too Few Areas

Setting goals around your music is a great way to be a successful musician, however, you must ensure that these goals not only focus on your career but on other parts of your life too.

You can't neglect activities that bring you joy. Goals like writing a book, learning to cook, or starting a home garden might also be incredibly important for your happiness and well-being.

So, when you set your goals, make sure that you strike the right balance between different areas of your life.

Mistake 3: Not Appreciating Failure

No matter how hard you work, you will fail to achieve goals from time to time. We've all been there, and it isn't fun!

However, your failures are what ultimately determine your character. They also contain lessons that can change your life for the best, if you have the courage to learn from them.

So don't be too upset if you fail to achieve your goals – just take note of where you went wrong and use that knowledge to reach your goals next time around.

Mistake 4: Setting "Other People's Goals"

Be yourself when setting a goal. Assess where you are honestly and start from there. Don’t have a goal of touring just because this is what other musicians are doing

Your goals need to be your own – not anybody else's. Before setting goals it is important to first ask yourself questions like these;

  • Do I have the right mindset for this goal?

  • Do I possess the required abilities to achieve this goal?

  • Is this the right time to work towards this goal?

  • Can I afford this goal financially?

  • Do I have the resources needed to achieve this goal?

  • Is this goal physically possible?

Mistake 5: Not Reviewing Progress

It takes time to accomplish goals. And sometimes it can feel that you aren't making much progress.

This is why it's important to take note of everything that you've accomplished on a regular basis. Set small sub-goals, celebrate your successes, and analyze what you need to do to keep moving forward. No matter how slow things seem, you probably are making progress!

You can also take this opportunity to update your goals, based on what you've learnt. Have your priorities changed? Or do you need to set aside some extra time for a particular goal activity?

Goals are never set in stone, so don't be afraid to amend them if you need to.

Mistake 6: Setting Too Many Goals

When you start setting goals, you may see many things that you want to accomplish. So you start setting goals in all areas.

The problem with this is that you have a fixed amount of time and energy. If you try to focus on many different goals at once, you can't give individual goals the attention they deserve.

Instead, use the "quality, not quantity" rule when setting goals. Work out the relative importance of everything that you want to accomplish over the next six to twelve months. Then pick no more than, say, three goals to focus on.

Remember, the success of your work towards a goal rests on focusing on just a few things at a time. If you limit the number of goals you're working on, you'll have the time and energy you need to do things really well.

Goal Setting Tools


Trello is a project management system to manage all the moving parts that go along with a big goal. You can set due dates, attach notes, comment with other teams (or band) members on what’s going on, and keep track of what's stalled and what's moving forward.

If you don’t already have a Trello account, you can sign up for free.

Google Calendar

One of the best ways to achieve goals is by setting deadlines. Using Google to manage your appointments and tasks is a great way to keep your goals front and center. Start by adding the date you’d like to achieve your goal and then simply add it to the calendar.

Goal Setting Workbook

This is a great planner to focus on your goals. There are pages to help plan your goals and reflect daily and weekly on both your successes and the lessons learned. Click here to print yourself a copy

Goal Setting Workbook
Download PDF • 2.07MB

Mdundo’s Project Logbook

This is a simple booklet that reminds you of the steps you need to take when working on a new project. Feel free to download it and let us know if you need help in filling it out.

Music Project Logbook - Project Manageme
Download • 49KB

Further Reading


Music Industry

Mind Tools



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