Why Setting Goals Is Important
All of us have heard about the advantages of setting goals in our lives, yet only a small minority of people actually do it. The truth of the matter is that taking the time to set personal goals is one of the most powerful and effective ways to achieve success, exploit our full potential and live a meaningful life.
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What Is a Goal?
Simply put, a goal is a desirable outcome that someone carefully decides on, commits to, and plans to attain. Goals generally are specific in nature and provide a time framework within which they should be achieved.
Advantages of Goal Setting
It forces us to think about our ideal life and what we truly want
Many people go through life aimlessly. It is as if they are on a journey without a roadmap to help them navigate life. In fact, without setting goals, there is no clear destination. When we do make the effort to set goals, we are forced to contemplate the things we want to achieve and how we plan to achieve them. One of the advantages of goal setting is that it makes us decide what kind of life we want to live rather than leave it to chance.
It forces us to be specific
In order to be effective, it is important to be specific when setting our goals. For example, rather than setting a general goal to lose weight, we should state the actual number of pounds we want to lose by a specific date. When we set goals, we state the end results clearly and avoid vagueness. Without goals, we are like an archer with a bow and arrow but with no target to aim at.
It gives us a course of action
When we set goals, it is important to not only list our long-term objectives but also the daily actions required to help us achieve them. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to set goals. It gives us a clear set of actions to follow.
It helps us measure our progress
Because setting goals involves specificity, it allows us to monitor and measure our progress. It makes it easy to see if we are following through on our plan or falling short. It leaves little room for doubt. Using our weight loss example, we either succeed in losing 40 pounds by February 1st or we do not.
Gives us focus
By setting goals, we are able to focus on what is important to us. It reminds us what we need to concentrate on. It gives us a clear road map that will help us reach our desired destination and prevents us from getting lost and wasting time and effort.
It affords us clarity
When we set goals, it gives us a clear vision of what we want to achieve and how we should live our lives. This clarity allows us to be more productive by highlighting the end results we want to achieve and clearing ambiguity.
It keeps us accountable
When we set clear and specific goals that are measurable, it keeps us accountable for our actions. There is no uncertainty because we know exactly what needs to be done. We become answerable to ourselves. It encourages us to commit to the 100% rule.
Helps us avoid procrastination
Because goals are set with a specific timeframe involved, it gives us a sense of urgency and helps us to avoid procrastination. It is equivalent to setting a deadline that we have to adhere to. Since many people procrastinate, having a set of goals is powerful because it clearly states what we have to do on a short-term and long-term basis. Napolean Hill said it best when he stated that, 'A Goal is a dream with a deadline.'
It breaks down our big goals into smaller chunks
When we set goals, we are essentially identifying our long-term objectives while setting short-term ones as well. It makes our targets seem less daunting because they are broken down into small chunks that are highly achievable.
We are able to celebrate mini successes and milestones
By breaking down our goals into smaller chunks, we are able to celebrate our mini successes and commemorate milestones along the way. For example, losing 1 pound per week is much less intimidating than the long term goal of losing 40 pounds in 40 weeks.
It builds confidence and gives us a sense of accomplishment
Many people lack the confidence to pursue their lofty goals so they do not even try. When we break down our goals into small chunks and celebrate every time we make progress, it builds confidence and gives us the power to keep moving forward. The sense of accomplishment we derive from our mini successes is powerful and spurs us on.
It provides motivation
The wonderful thing about setting goals is that it is highly motivational. When we set goals, it is a clear declaration of our intention and commitment to achieve them. It creates accountability and motivates us as we celebrate our smaller accomplishments along the way. Because goals are meant to be viewed and reviewed often, it motivates us to stay on track by reminding us of what is important to us.
It helps us prioritize and organize
When we have clearly established goals, we are able to prioritize and organize our lives better. This happens because our goals remind us of what we have decided is most important to us. Following through on our predetermined course of actions comes first over actions that are frivolous. It simplifies our lives greatly.
It saves us time
When we have well-defined goals, it is akin to having a clear roadmap to help us get to our desired destination. It helps to prevent us from losing our way and wasting precious time. And time is the most precious commodity we have.
It helps us be the best person we can be
One of the major advantages of setting goals is that it helps us become the best person we can possibly be. We are better able to exploit our full potential and use the gifts and talents that we possess. It stretches our limits, encourages us to leave our comfort zone and accomplish great things.
Live our dream life
You may be surprised that many people do not identify their dream life. They go through life without knowing what will make them truly happy. Sitting down and setting goals forces us to think about how we want to live and what we want to achieve.
It is a visual reminder
When we set goals and review them often, they serve as a visual reminder of our priorities and aspirations. I like to look at my listed goals at least once a day because it reinforces what I have to do. It acts as a visual reminder and, when done regularly, can be extremely useful by affecting our subconscious mind in a positive way.
Clearly, setting goals is important. Now that you know the advantages of goal setting, you can download our free goal worksheets (with a step-by-step guide) and start your journey to greatness.