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importance of goal setting

Personal Development: Importance of Goal Setting

by Martha Simmonds

Many people live life without a clear plan. Consequently, they end up feeling like they’re floating or mark timing without making any significant progress in life.

The most effective way to deal with this problem is to have a well-thought-out plan for your life, which involves setting goals for what you want to achieve within a specified period. This article discusses the importance of goal setting.

What Are Life Goals?


Life goals are the desires that people seek out in life with the hope of making their existence better and more meaningful. When you set goals, you envisage, plan for, and commit yourself to achieving them. Since there are different aspects of life that people want to improve on, life goals are broad, comprising important things like careers, relationships, marriages, health, finances, etc.

To make significant progress in these areas of your life, you have to set goals. It’s part of being alive. Setting goals and achieving them brings a great sense of fulfillment and reward, which will motivate you to continue setting even higher goals. It also brings greater purpose and meaning to your life.

Although setting goals and achieving them doesn’t guarantee you happiness and contentment, it keeps you feeling alive and purposeful. It’s the small goals that you continuously set and achieve that will cumulatively help you to progress in life. It’s important to note that life goals can be either good or bad.

For instance, you can set goals to gain more earthly riches like cash, cars, homes, gems, etc. Unfortunately, these material things won’t guarantee you a life of happiness and fulfillment.

You can have all the money you want and still be miserable in other critical areas of your life. Personal development experts argue that goals that solely focus on your self-interest over that of other people aren’t good for your happiness and fulfillment.

So, even as you set goals that focus on your self-interest, it’s good to balance them with goals that focus on the interests of others. These goals are good for your overall well-being and will bring a real sense of fulfillment and purpose.

For example, your life goals should involve committing yourself to assist needy families, colleagues, your family, and society as a whole.

You should also divide your goals into two main categories: short-term goals and long-term goals. Although it’s good to set big goals and pursue them to the conclusive end, it’s important to remain realistic. Instead of having one long-term goal, you should break it into several short-term goals.

That way, you’ll enjoy the process and have something to celebrate along the way. The short-term achievements will motivate you to pursue the long-term goal.

For instance, if your long-term goal is to lose excess body fat and tone up your body, you can start by setting short-term goals like exercising three days a week and adopting a new and healthy lifestyle. When you achieve short-term goals, you’ll have the motivation and energy to achieve the long-term goal.

Importance of Setting Goals


Do you set goals for yourself? If not, what’s stopping you? Although many people understand the importance of setting goals, they often fail to realize how useful they’re to them as they go through life.

Others consider the whole idea of setting goals useless because they believe in fate. They leave everything to nature hoping for the best outcome. Unfortunately, good things don’t just happen. You have to have a plan and work effortlessly towards realizing it.

Setting realistic goals triggers new behaviors and guides your focus so that you can maintain the impetus to pursue your dream to the end.

With clear goals, your focus will be properly aligned and you’ll develop a sense of self-mastery. In short, you can only manage and achieve what you can measure. Furthermore, you can’t progress in something that’s not properly managed.

Setting goals in life will help you to manage and pursue your desires in a more organized manner. It’s also important to remember that some goals are achievable and others aren’t. So, don’t beat yourself to death when you fail to achieve your goals. The best thing to do in such instances is to re-evaluate your goals and set them afresh.

According to Mark Murphy, the author of the book “Hard Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” and founder and CEO of LeadershipIQ.com, you should put your present cost into the future and your future benefits into the present.

Basically, this means that you shouldn’t postpone what you can do today to tomorrow. This is because human beings put more value on the present things than on the future benefits.

You also need to understand that goal setting is a continuous and flexible process that changes constantly. So, the goals you set today may not be necessary for the future. That’s why you have to constantly revisit your goals and come up with new ones. No matter how often your goals change, don’t go through life without a practical plan that’s made up of realistic goals.

Benefits of Setting Goals


According to personal development experts Edward Locke and Gary Latham, setting goals will have a positive effect on your behavior, resulting in better performance. It also helps you to mobilize your energy so that you can put more effort into your pursuit of a more fulfilling life. Here are the main benefits of setting goals in life.

1. More Inspiration

When you have a well-thought-out plan with realistic goals, you’ll be inspired to pursue it to the end. When you set measurable goals, they’ll provide you with a framework to monitor your progress. Making progress on a goal, no matter how minimal it may seem, will boost your momentum, excitement, and inspiration to work even harder.

2. Ability to Control Your Future

By planning your life well and setting practical goals, you can almost predict your future. Well-thought-out goals will give you full control over your future. Without them, you’ll lack direction thus handing over the power to determine your future to other people and situations.

3. Making Better Decisions

Goals help you to manage your time, focus, and energy thus improving your ability to make the right decisions. They provide you with a clear context for managing your time and drive.

For instance, your goals will help you to make better decisions when other opportunities that are more enticing come up. With clearly set goals, you’ll compare them to the new opportunities to decide the best actions to take.

4. Better Accountability

Goals hold you accountable, ensuring that you’re clear on your desires and the benefits of achieving them. They’ll also help you to visualize your future and how it will feel when you achieve your goals.

This will also motivate you to take the necessary action to attain your goals. The emotional connection you develop with your goals helps you to stay accountable.

5. More Freedom

By setting specific, measurable goals will guide your daily actions and the efforts you make to achieve those goals. That way, you can plan your time and actions so that you won’t feel like someone is forcing you to do what you have to do to progress in life.

6. More Clarity

By setting goals, you’ll have clarity on what you need to do to attain the kind of life you desire. They’ll clarify the future you desire with parameters and deadlines. Going through life without goals exposes you to the risk of wasting your precious time on useless things that will prevent you from progressing in life.

7. More Productivity

When you’re clear on what you need to do to achieve the life you desire, you’ll put more effort to achieve it. Consequently, your productivity will improve automatically. Your goals will offer you a clear framework to measure your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly progress.

8. More Focus

Setting goals gives you more focus because the goals act as a roadmap to your desired future. They’ll help you to stay on course even when other more enticing opportunities come up. By staying focused on your goals, you’ll achieve the desired results faster and successfully.

9. Sense of Direction

Goals give you a sense of direction so that you don’t waste your time chasing wild dreams. They act as the roadmap or path to greatness. So, you’ll understand the most important areas of your life to focus on and set clear deadline and parameters for achieving your goals.

How to Set Your Goals

How to Set Your Goals

Setting achievable goals is a simple undertaking that doesn’t require any special know-how. You just need to set SMART goals that provide you with enough motivation to keep going. The term SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

Once you’ve established your SMART goals, you need to identify the necessary steps to take you to the desired outcome. Here are important guidelines to help you come up with realistic, effective, and attainable goals.

1. State the Goals Positively

Whether you’re writing down your goals or verbalizing them, you should state them as positive statements. Expressing your goals positively creates a positive mindset about achieving them. For instance, instead of saying “don’t make this stupid mistake” say “execute this method well.”

2. Be Precise

Your goals should be precise with clear timelines, targets, and budgets. This makes it easy to measure your progress. It’s very easy to know when your goal has been achieved when you make it precise.

3. Make Your Priorities Clear

If you have several goals, arrange them in the order of their importance. The most urgent ones should come first followed by the second most urgent ones and the least urgent ones. This directs your attention to your most important goals.

4. Writing Them Down

Writing your goals down crystallizes them in your mind, allowing you to develop an emotional connection with them. This connection will give you the impetus to continue pursuing your goals to the end.

5. Keep Them Small and Realistic

It’s okay to be ambitious but setting goals that are too big for you will only lead to disappointments. Always keep your goals small and realistic. That way, you’ll get fresh inspiration every time you achieve a goal.

6. Choose Performance Goals Over Outcome Goals

Set goals that you have complete control over. Your goals should be based on performance instead of the outcome to avoid disappointments. It can be very demoralizing when you fail to achieve a personal goal.

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