The 7 Goal Bandits-Part II:Creating a Plan

BY BENITA THORNHILL, MA, LPCA, LCAS-R                            February 17, 2017

In Part I, we discussed the “7 Goal Bandits”. This week in Part II we will look at what’s going on and how to prevent these bandits from keeping you from meeting your goals.


It’s all in the planning.

Bandit 1: Underestimating how much time and effort it will take.

What’s going on in the background: We always seem to believe that we have much more time to complete a project than we actually have. This can be attributed to something called the “Planning Fallacy”. The Planning Fallacy, simply means that we are overly optimistic about the amount of time it will take us to complete a project, which causes us to underestimate the time (strangely enough, we don’t do this when we estimate the time it will take others).

Solution: Write down everything you will have to do to complete your goal. Estimate how much time each item on your list will take to complete (this estimate will be wrong, really wrong). Take the figure you have come up with and double it.

Bandit 2: Not prioritizing or integrating our goals with our day-to-day activities.

What’s going on in the background: We are passively setting goals instead of aggressively setting goals.  When we passively set goals we don’t look at how they will fit into our daily routine. We create the goals with the end in mind and attach it to a feeling we will have when it is accomplished. We fail to make the goal come alive by plugging bits of it into our daily lives. If we do not work toward the goal nothing will happen.

Solution: Set goals aggressively, looking at what you need to do every single day to get closer to your goal. Actively move toward achieving your goal by incorporating it and prioritizing it in your schedule. This will help you to continue to building steam and stay motivated because you will see yourself making strides. This also helps to make your goal seem real and more achievable.

Bandit 3: Not calculating the financial or physical cost of your goal.

What’s going on in the background: Often when we create a goal we fail to think about how much it will actually cost us financially or physically because we are so busy thinking about how the feeling we have attached to achieving the goal

Solution: Set your emotions aside and look at what your goal really requires from you, even on the days when you will not feel like doing it. Ask yourself, on a bad day how much money will you be able (not how much you are willing) to invest and how much strain will it be on you physically and emotionally (will there be late nights, am I willing to exchange time with my family for it, how many days of my life am I willing to really invest)?

Bandit 4: Creating personal goals that involve someone else to do something.

What’s going on in the background: We have created a personal goal that relies on someone that we have no control of to complete something, so that we can reach our goal. Now, our control locus of control has shifted, because we are no longer control reaching our goal, someone else does.

Solution: Make goals that do not require the efforts of someone else to accomplish them. Create goals that make use your unique talents and gifts. It is okay to have an accountability partner, but don’t create a goals that requires a certain step for them to complete in order for you to reach your personal goal.

Bandit 5: Letting your moods determine your productivity.

What’s going on in the background: You are on automatic pilot. Your direction is being driven by changing hormones, thoughts that may or may not actually happen, or feelings that are transient.

Solution: Mindfulness. Realizing that we cannot control everything that goes on around us, accepting emotions as just that, emotions that will eventually pass, not judging ourselves for feeling a certain way and choosing to keep moving purposefully and with full awareness toward our goals.

Bandit 6: Procrastinating

What’s going on in the background: There are many reasons we procrastinate. One reason is fear of failing. Sometimes you can be so afraid of failing that you unknowingly sabotage yourself before you really have to a chance to fail.

Solution: Ask yourself what is the worst think that can happen if you don’t meet your goal.  Look at all alternatives and create a contingency plan.

Bandit 7: Waiting for someone to give their approval

What’s going on in the background: We do not believe in our own ability to make the right choices to govern our life. We feel anxious or insecure when we must make a decision on our own. We miss out on opportunities because we are afraid to move forward without someone else’s approval.

Solution: Look at decisions you have made in the past without the help of others and pull courage from those experiences. When you make a decision remember that it is your life and you don’t need validation from others.