10 Goal Setting Mistakes Most Interior Designer’s Make

It’s that time again, when most of us are thinking about setting goals for 2016… and most of us won’t accomplish them. Why is that?

We get excited and create amazing resolutions or goals, and within days, we stop working on what we know we want to do, but do we really truly want to achieve those goals?

If you don’t have a Goal Journal, go purchase one a blank journal at the office supply or bookstore. That’s your first step to goal achievement in 2016.

Why don’t we accomplish our goals?  Let’s look at some of the top reasons:

  1.  We set too many goals. It’s like going to a buffet.  If you mounds of food and put it all on your plate, you’ll eat too much, and yet, not get the nutrients you need.  Or, you’ll eat a small portion and waste the rest.  Why do we do this? We want to make some significant changes, but we don’t have a realistic expectation about how long things will take.  So…when you set those goals for yourself, be sure to include a time estimate for each of the goals to be completed.  Realistically, you can only do one thing at a time. Focus is the key to success.


  • Set 1 – 3 goals per month at the most
  • Estimate time to be completed
  • Set an end date for completion
  1.  We fight our own subconscious belief systems. We may not believe we’re worthy of the success that reaching that goal will mean.  If your internal beliefs aren’t in synch with the goals that you’ve set, you’ll self-sabotage and then feel even worse that you didn’t accomplish your goals. When you set goals, identify the beliefs you must have to achieve those goals.


  • Evaluate whether your real true core belief about yourself is aligned with the beliefs you must have to accomplish those goals.
  • Identify what steps you must take to change your beliefs that you are worthy of those goals and release those negative beliefs.
  • Define what it would mean emotionally to you to accomplish those goals. Would you feel confident and proud?
  1.  We don’t write down the steps and resources we need to achieve those goals.Just writing down a goal without the steps almost ensures that we are writing down a dream and not a goal. Strategies:
  • Write one goal per page in your new Goal Journal
  • Write the step required right before you achieve that goal
  • Keep working backwards until you have the first step identified
  • Immediately put those steps on your calendar based on your time estimates and end date
  • Focus on achieving the steps and not the end result
  • Celebrate your accomplishments frequently
  1.  We’re not accountable to others or to ourselves. It’s easy to let ourselves not follow through.  We’re too busy, too tired, too frustrated.


  • Identify your excuses and exorcise them. You either have excuses or results. Which one do you choose?
  • Get into a mastermind group and make that a requirement, that every week, you set accountability and you at least get a friendly kick if you don’t get the task done.
  • Remember that if you don’t take the accountability to yourself seriously, you’ll get less accomplished.
  • Don’t make a goal or promise to yourself unless you’re willing to keep it.
  1.  We set goals that don’t mean anything to us personally. If you’re doing something to please others, you’re likely to disappoint yourself.


  • Only set goals that you are committed to do because they fit with your personal values.  If they don’t fit your personal values, then don’t commit to them.
  • Setting a goal to lose weight because we want to be more attractive to our mate or prospective partner won’t keep us on task.  Do it for yourself because you want to feel healthy, sexy and attractive.
  1.  We don’t stop bad behaviors quickly enough and we resist change. If your goals are financial, and you’re not on track to achieve your financial target, it’s important to make changes. Avoiding the problems won’t make them go away. None of us expected the economy to crash so completely, and if you’re still doing the same things you were a few years ago, you could save some money on non-essentials.  If you can overcome your own resistance to change, fears and concerns, you’ll be even stronger as a person and as a business owner.  Now it’s important to find your resourcefulness and determination to succeed in spite of it.


  • Cut non-essential expenses
  • Use outsourcing instead of adding employees and the associate overhead
  • Bundle your phone and Internet services
  • Cut out subscriptions. Go to the library or bookstore to browse.
  • Invest in leverage for exponential success – software, education and marketing Don’t cut your marketing or education budgets
  • Keep your expenses low even when business returns to a more normal level.
  1.  We don’t have time and resource contingencies built in. Life happens and when we don’t account for the fact that we get colds or the flu, or others need our help with something, or we need an extra cushion in case of emergencies, then we get frustrated and give up on a goal because we didn’t allow for that time.


  • Allow twice as long to accomplish your goal and twice as much money
  • Determine your Plan B or Plan C just in case.  If you don’t get 6 new clients, what will you do?  How will you achieve your revenue goals?
  • Set up reserves in your business to help you cover shortfalls
  • Think about additional resources you can draw on to meet your adjusted goals when you’re not on track to achieve them on time and within the budget you set
  1.  We don’t remind ourselves about our goals often enough. How much is enough?


  • Create a collage with pictures of how you’ll feel when you achieve your goal and what it looks like.
  • If you’re shooting for a dollar goal for your business, create a picture or add color to the graphics of the dollar figure, and add that to your collage.  Include pictures of your family so you connect the earning of the money with what it will do for your family and for yourself.
  • Include pictures of the rewards.  Will you give yourself a day at the spa, or a massage.  We think in pictures, so use pictures to motivate yourself and connect with the emotions you’ll feel when you achieve what you desire.
  • Look at these pictures and reminders every day, and be sure to include them on your computer screen or in your Goal Journal (that you’re going out to buy today) so you can see what it is you want to achieve and can measure your progress.
  • You can also scan in a collage of goal achievement pictures and use it as a screen-saver on your computer.
  1.  Don’t look at goals as a heavy burden. Add rewards for accomplishment.  


  • Take a break, have coffee with a friend, go to the museum for a few hours, take a walk, put extra earnings in a separate fund to purchase a small reward like a great picture frame or massage.
  • Write down what you’re grateful for in your Goal Journal and do it frequently. That in itself is a great reward for small accomplishments.
  • A long journey begins with a single step.
  • Take the first step.
  1.  We feel like a failure if we have setbacks along the way and it can tempt us to give up.


When setbacks arise, take a detour.  Each setback is feedback, and it means we need to take in what we experienced and think about what we learned from it. It’s not a reflection of our character.

Be your own best teacher.  We all learn more from our mistakes more than our successes.  Discover the root cause of your setbacks, and how you can avoid the same challenge in the future so you don’t repeat the mistakes.

Use your Goal Journal to record your setbacks so you can figure out how you can overcome them.

You are worthy of great accomplishments and recognition for who you are.  Remember that it is more important to do things because they make you feel good than it is

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Gail Doby

Gail, with her team at Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.
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