The Pros and Cons of Setting Goals [11 Positives and 5 Negatives]

When it comes to goal setting, many of us do not even know where to begin. Which goals will be the best for us and how do we start setting effective goals? Should we be setting long term goals or short-term goals? These are all questions you may be asking yourself while you procrastinate the actual action and movement of setting goals and begin to work on them.

Sometimes, this is due to nothing more than being afraid about what the results may be or not understanding the upside and downside to goal setting in general. That’s the goal of this post here today.

I want to share with you all the positives that can come from goal setting, but I also want to share with you the negatives that can often be associated with goal setting.

Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have a clearer understanding of what to expect and how goal setting really works. If you’re ready, let’s dive into the 11 positive sides of goal setting as well as discussing 5 significant adverse downfalls that goal setting may decide to present to you.

The 11 Positives of Setting Goals and 5 Negatives of Setting Goals

Let’s take the time to illustrate and break down all the positives that come from goal setting first. Following this, we will touch on the negatives to ensure you are getting the full picture and understand what to expect on your journey to setting new goals and attempting to achieve them.

The 11 Positives Associated with Goal Setting. What to Expect

#1- Finally Begin to Achieve Results. Achieve Results Much Faster

Goal setting can finally put you on a path towards achieving things you may have been putting off for months or even years. When you finally put pen to paper and begin visualizing what it will take to accomplish a goal, you start to see things much more clearly.

This in turns helps to start producing results and getting you on track towards getting something done for a change. A significant positive that comes from goal setting.

#2- Find a Clear Purpose and Reason Why Throughout the Process

When you set goals, one of the biggest things I always recommend doing is to find an apparent reason why behind why you genuinely want to achieve a specific goal. What’s your driving force? What are you going to use for fuel and motivation to push through the tough times?

When you take the time to find this true purpose, you find a new level of motivation and inner drive to begin accomplishing the task you have been putting off.

Typically, without going through the process of setting the goals, you miss the purpose and the reason behind the task you are desiring to complete. Goal setting and writing down your goals more specifically can help eliminate this issue and get you on the path towards achievement and success.

#3- Learn Patience and Discover an Increased Sense of Focus

Goals take time. At least goals that are worth your time do. Failures will come, and you must learn to push through. Doing so helps you develop a sense of patience as well as focus. It takes the effort to diagnose problems with goals or to track results in a fashion that can show where you may be going wrong.

With useful goal setting, you can begin to learn a better sense of focus and patience. I call this “locking in.”

When you reach this stage and develop these positive characteristics, you can become dangerous towards any goal you are looking to accomplish. Add this in with a strong “reason why” behind your goals and you are surely on a path to dominate the competition.

#4- Finally Eliminate Procrastination and Begin Getting Things Done

For all the people that like to put off the task until the very last minute, goal setting will help eliminate that. When you must face yourself every day and look at the goals you wrote down every day, you can grow disappointed in yourself for putting things off, and it can help kick you into overdrive.

Procrastination is typically one of the first things that come to an end when we begin effectively setting goals that we care about achieving. Especially when we have other people that are holding us accountable or when we are chasing a goal that has a huge reward waiting on the other side for us.

#5- Prove Something to Someone and Prove Your Abilities

Sometimes a positive that comes from goal setting is nothing more than finally showing someone what we are made of and what is true talent is. Maybe this blogging and maybe this running a marathon. Whatever the case may be, showing off some skills and abilities is never necessarily a bad thing.

Unless you do it an unethical showboat style. Nonetheless, finally proving our worth and what we are capable of is undoubtedly a positive that can come from goal setting.

#6- Goals Can Help to Reduce Stress

Goals shockingly enough can help to reduce stress. When we begin setting clear goals and understanding what path and actions are needed to reach our goals, we start working in a much more time efficient manner which in turn can help us to reduce stress.

Sometimes, the only reason we have stress, to begin with, is purely because of our own procrastination and putting things off. Set goals and have a clear plan of action and begin managing your time more effectively. You will be shocked at the results you achieve when you begin implementing this advice.

#7- You Have A Clear Way to Measure Progress

Goals allow for an easy way to track progress. If and only if you write your goals and progress down. Maybe you are trying to shave time off your 5k run, and perhaps you are trying to save up for a new house.

Regardless of what the case may be, setting goals gives you an easy way to track your progress and allows you the ability to adjust and make changes throughout the goal itself.

Without the ability to track progress, it’s challenging to know where you are going wrong and make the necessary adjustments needed to begin achieving and destroying the new goals that you have set.

#8- Have Something Holding You Accountable

This is entirely up to you. Some individuals recommend never sharing goals with other individuals and some people love to be held accountable by someone else. It can create a sense of urgency and begin allowing you to check in with someone.

Sometimes, this can be enough of a driving factor by itself to push you towards success. It’s essential that you keep being held accountable and keep aiming for the stars on your path to success. Being held accountable is a definite psotive area of goal setting if you ask me.

#9- Become Deeply Motivated Towards Achieving

Goals motivate us. We don’t want to fail, and we want to do everything possible to avoid failure if possible. Setting goals and going through the motion of tracking progress and writing down results can be incredibly motivating for many individuals.

Anytime you can find a new sense of motivations, and another reason to push through the negatives towards achieving a tough goal is undoubtedly a positive in my book.

#10- Become a Fantastic Decision Maker

Goals force you to become a great decision maker. Often, especially with business-related goals, you must make decisions quickly but also must consider the decision from multiple angles. Especially when multiple people are involved in the outcome of these goals.

When you set goals and have a clear path and destination you want to reach, you become quick and decisive about making decisions that can only further your success or that can only further your chances of staying on the correct path towards achieving goals and reaching a new level of success.

#11- Become Better with Time Management

Goals force us to become better with time management. Goals don’t allow for too much time to be wasted. If they do, your setting goals the wrong way. Goals usually have a strict timeline with the desired result to be reached by a day or month.

When this is the case, you no longer have issues putting the essential things in life first and can begin only taking actions that can ultimately benefit your life. Doing this is naturally making you better with time management and a more productive individual in general.

Anytime we can get better with a major item such as time management, I’d say we are looking at the positives that goals can bring out in us.

Now that we have covered all the positives that can come from goal setting, it would only be right to share with a few of the negatives that can come with the territory as well. Let’s dive into those.

The 5 Negatives Associated with Goal Setting

Like I just stated previously, unfortunately, goal setting doesn’t come without some negatives. Goal setting can surely have feelings of doubt, guilt or even failure. I wanted to touch on 5 of the main negatives you can expect when you begin implementing goal setting into your everyday personal and business lives.

#1- You May Choose the Wrong Goals to Begin With

Choosing the wrong goals from the get-go is undoubtedly negative. Perhaps you are chasing a goal that is secretly meaningless to you, but you haven’t quite figured that out yet. Maybe you are attempting to achieve a goal that has another barrier standing in your way, and you should have set a smaller goal first.

Whatever the case may be, choosing the wrong goals from day 1 can be derailing and certainly put you off track until you can recognize it. Be patient and set goals full of meaning and that get you extremely motivated to achieve.

This can help in remove this as a negative consequence that’s all too often experienced by individuals that begin setting goals.

#2- You May Have Set the Bar Too High in The Beginning

Setting the bar too high from day 1 is directly related to the negative number 1 we just discussed. Choosing the wrong goals can waste a lot of time and sometimes we skip over a few key milestones when setting goals.

For instance, perhaps your goal is to run a marathon next year, and the goal you set is to be ready within a few months. Well, this is likely to fail and considered setting the bar too high too early. You should have set a goal as something such as run a half marathon in under 100 minutes or something more achievable.

You need some way of tracking progress, and when you shoot for the moon too early in the process, you are likely to become disappointed and fall off track to quickly. Set smaller measurable goals to help fight back against this negative trait that comes along with goal setting.

#3- Failure Does and Will Happen. Expect It to Remove This Negative

As much as I wanted to think that this widely known amongst individuals who set goals, it clearly isn’t. Some people are just not prepared to fail and don’t expect failure to be coming. That’s unfortunate because nearly anyone who has set goals in the past can tell you to expect failure and learn to roll with the punches.

Failure is indeed coming, and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s what makes you stronger, better and more positioned to succeed on round 2. Prepare for failure from day 1 and perhaps you find a way to avoid this negative trait to goal setting altogether.

#4- People Will Become Jealous and Attempt to Sabotage Your Goals

This is 100% true and if you don’t believe me just give it some time. When you set goals, all the naysayers of the world are going to emerge from the woodwork finding ways to bash your success or even your progress.

The funny part? It gets worse as you begin achieving your goals. Now it moves into a jealousy phase where people are strictly mad that you are doing positive things with your life. Learn to block out the naysayers and negative individuals who attempt to sabotage your goals.

If you don’t, you may fall into the common trap where you begin to believe what they are saying and ultimately either give up or begin to lose steam. Don’t let anyone else control your destiny. Stay motivated and stay hungry for nobody except for yourself and your family. You deserve it, and so do they.

#5- The Pressure to Accomplish Goals May Become Too Much

Sometimes, the biggest negative that can come from goal setting is nothing more than the pressure to achieve builds so strong that it becomes unbearable to live with. Often this can become a goal such as a financial goal to move your family to a bigger and better house or a goal to be the best person on your sports team.

Whatever the case may be, goal setting and achieving do come with a great deal of pressure. Especially if you have people depending on you. You must find positive outlets and other healthy ways to channel this pressure. Maybe this is taking a break from time to time or staying fit and healthy while making progress towards your goals.

Whatever the situation may be, the pressure is certainly going to build, and it’s been like that since the inception of goal setting into the human mind. If you can’t find constructive ways to deal with it, you may run into issues.

A common trick is to take that pressure and channel it into motivation. The more someone is depending on you, the hungrier, you need to become. Take all those emotions that are building steam within you to succeed and begin finding new ways to push through new tougher boundaries.

You will be shocked at the results that this can produce for you.

The Final Word, While Most Positive, Goal Setting Can Include Some Negatives as Well

While goal setting surely has more positives than negatives, it doesn’t mean that the act alone comes without a cost. Achieving goals requires discipline, focus, and motivation. Often you must give up other activities and other things you do for fun in order to reach success.

This doesn’t mean that goals shouldn’t be set. They absolutely should be, and it’s crazy not to. Begin setting clear goals, finding inner motivation and getting on the path towards success. Your future awaits you and if you can push through the negatives and the downfalls to setting goals, you may be much closer to success than you ever believed.

However, you will never know if you never try. So, what are you waiting for?

What’re your thoughts on goal setting? Do you believe any positive traits to goal setting need to be added to our list? How about any negative downfalls to goal setting? Be sure to share your comments below.

About the author

Joshua Martin