Goals are more important in our lives than we think. Our lives are filled with goals. Think about every decision we make, and it is pointing at some type of goal that we have. Goals, quite simply, govern our lives.
So why specifically do we need t set goals?
Think about the last time you took a long journey in your car. Before you started driving, I bet you set your SatNav, right? Of course you did. The interesting thing is you probably didn’t wait until half way through your journey, you set it at the start. Goals are like the SatNav for our brain. It allows us to see opportunities, and what decisions to make in order to get to our goals, just like a SatNav tells us what turnings to take. Goals do the same for our lives. Without a goal to aim for, we just end up floating through life, not really achieving anything. If you’re still not convinced, here are six reasons why setting goals is an important exercise to do:
- Goals give you focus. If you don’t have a goal, your activities often become disjointed and confusing. Even big goals give you daily laser like focus, weeding out wasted effort.
- Goals help you measure progress. Being able to track your progress towards something only happens if you set that something in the first place! Measuring progress gives you small wins along the way, helping to maintain focus, keeping energy and momentum up.
- Goals help you stay motivated. There are going to be tough times. There, I said it. Goals keep you on track when things aren’t going so well. It’s easy to put stuff when you don’t have a goal, much harder when you have that goal accountability.
- Goals help you to beat procrastination. Setting specific goals allows you to understand that not doing something is wasted time. It’s dangerous. It’s another day you’re not moving closer to that goal.
- You achieve even more. When you reach a goal, you get an endorphin kick, and you want that again. Challenging yourself to do even more becomes part of the goal. You go through the ceiling, up the ladder, you achieve even more.
- Goals help you determine what you want in life. Plans are useless, planning is priceless. The exercise of determining what you want in life leads you to formulate plans. Once you set the end state goal, all you need to do is break it down into smaller, measurable, achievable chunks.
What type of goal to set?
This seems a weird question… But its an important one. First you need to understand what motivates you as a person. Broadly, there are two types of goals. An ‘away from’ goal, and a ‘towards goal’. You might say, quite reasonably, a ‘towards goal’ is the best. And that’s partly true, but it depends on the person. Sometimes people are motivated by pain, rather than pleasure. So, what is the consequence of not achieving the goal? Maybe you don’t go on that holiday, or have that meal out, or donate to a rival political party. It should be noted that no consequence should cause harm to anyone, so be careful who you donate to.
How to set goals
It’s not just about setting goals, its about setting actionable goals. That’s why I dislike SMART goals. Sure, they should be specific, and time bound, but that’s about it that gets you into action. Instead, try the GROW method:
Goal – Tell me in as much detail as possible what the goal actually is.
Reality – Be honest with where you are at the moment, this will identify any learning that needs to take place.
Options – Any option, no matter how wild it seems should be considered at this point.
Way Forward – Which option is best and identify who does what and when.
Don’t forget; your goals should be so big, that you have to grow into the person that achieves them. If you know how to reach a goal, its not a goal. That’s just a to-do list!
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