Goal setting is incredibly important to anyone. Wikipedia defines a goal as “a desired result that a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve”. The desired result guides a reaction which has value to an individual or organisation. There are a significant benefits to goal setting. If you haven’t written down what your goals are and a plan on how to achieve those goals then here are 14 key reasons why you should start setting goals today.
1. Achieve better and faster results
By not defining what you want to achieve rather than hoping that someday you will achieve ‘something’ provides you with no impetus to take action.
Setting clearly written goals help you focus on how to achieve them. You change your mind to focus on the “how” rather than the “what”. Taking action, even in the smallest way, on a daily basis progresses you toward your goals and these actions add up to big results over time.
As you start to achieve your goals you’ll experience increased motivation to achieve which makes you more productive and effective, driving you toward completing your goal much quicker. I experienced this myself when setting a goal to pay off a credit card within 9 weeks and achieved it in just 6 weeks.
The setting of goals has proven to increase learning rates as demonstrated in John Hattie’s book “Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn“. During a study, students were proven to learn up to 250% faster when difficult goals were set than when they were merely told “to do their best”.
2. Increases positive attitude and achievement
Compelling goals will provide you with a sense of purpose and places you firmly in control of your future. Since your goals are born from your own desires you will feel more positive that you are working toward what you want. They help keep your dream real in your mind’s eye.
As you work hard to achieve your goals the positive outcomes reaction encounter a cyclical effect as you start to see results. Our brains are wired in this way.
Neuroscience research suggests our brains use the neurotransmitter dopamine as an internal guidance system to reach goals. A study on animals around goal setting proved that dopamine signals get stronger as a goal becomes closer and are achieved.
These spikes will influence the choices you make to direct action toward a goal and underpin the reasons why you should break a goal into specific and achievable sub-tasks and underpin the notion that you can achieve better results faster as the positive effects of nearing your goal set in.
3. Create a sense of purpose
Everyone needs a purpose in life and setting goals is fantastic way to help you identify your purpose.
The late Yogi Berra, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else”.
If you want to end up somewhere in life, decide where that is and what that looks like and write it down.
Set your goals.
4. Set clear intentions to focus on
The American Poet, Bill Copeland, once said, “if you don’t have a goal in life, you are spending your life running around and not achieving anything for yourself”.
Clearly set goals help you set out and define your intentions and desires and give you clarity over your end game and what you ultimately want to achieve.
Failing to set personal goals gives the illusion that you are doing something with your life but you’re probably just floating around playing a part in fulfilling everyone else’s hopes and dreams.
You may have a broad idea of what you want to achieve but without clearly articulated goals you can’t channel your efforts properly. You’ll then get side-tracked by the daily currents of life because you have no goals to rein you in.
So many people are tired of their jobs or their day to day lives but they continue on, not knowing how to get out of the rat race.
The first step is to set a goal that clearly defines what your vision of life looks like off the treadmill. How do you go about planning to get out of your current position to a better place if you aren’t going to be specific to yourself about what that place looks like? Established that, clearly, and you can set a clear focus to channel your time and energy into achieving what really matters to you.
5. Maintain focus
Goals give you a single point of focus in which to drive your time and energy into. Once you place your attention on that point and take action you will start to see some forward movement and results.
A goal is the funnel between the effort and the results. Without this funnel your energy and time is wasted on whimsical activities that play no role in your bigger vision of your life. You’ll start to mislabel activities that may seem nice, but provide no advancement to what you truly want to achieve.
Once goals are set, reminding yourself on a daily basis of what they are will ensure you live more consciously to achieve them. You’ll become less side-tracked by or spend less energy on activities, people or situations that do not help you achieve your hopes and dreams.
People who don’t set goals get easily overwhelmed. There is always so much to do and not enough time. The importance of what needs doing and what can wait becomes clearer once goals are set by simply asking, “Is this going to help me move forward?”
6. Assists in overcoming procrastination
Maintaining focus helps destroy procrastination.
If your goals are specific enough, accurately reflect your desires and you remind yourself of them on a daily basis then you won’t allow yourself to find distractions.
You’ll waste less time on insignificant or unproductive activities that don’t help you work to accomplishing your goal.
7. Fosters better time management
Setting goals forces you to manage your time to your maximum benefit. With a clear idea of what you have to achieve and under what time-frame you will have a clear consensus of what effort you should expect of yourself to get there.
“People with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them can ever imagine.” – Unknown
Without goals it can be difficult to manage your time and juggle competing priorities but with written goals you’ll start to re-prioritise unproductive activities like watching television over the tasks that intend to make a real difference to your life.
With goals set, you can adopt a plan that will have specific tasks and milestones to achievement.
These short-term goals will break the task down and make them easier. In turn, your productivity and efficiency will increase as will your motivation to reach your final goal.
8. Clearer decision making
Your decision making will become clearer, because knowing what you are trying to achieve means you can ask “does this get me any closer to my goal?”
If you want to build up a blog in order to make money online then decisions like “should I spend time watching television or go work on building an audience for my blog” will become straight-forward.
Planning to get out of debt or saving up for something important? You’ll very quickly be able to make decisions about whether you should go out with friends or perhaps invite them around for a night in so that you don’t have to spend as much.
Even in running a side-income blog, or a full time business, goals will help you answer any question about where you put your time or money.
9. Drives motivation
Motivation is the primary ingredient to the achievement of your goals, whether they are the short-term milestones or the end goal.
You’ll should find enough motivation if your end goal comes from your heart as they are a representation of your inner desires. Such goals are called self-concordant goals and are more likely to receive sustained effort over time and consequently achieve success.
Having goals at your side and reminding yourself of them daily serves to be your constant source of motivation when things get tough.
Breaking this task into short-term goals will making this epic goal more achievable and help you accomplish things in less time. Most importantly short-term goals feed motivation by building a sense of achievement.
This sense of achievement will increase your energy levels as you start to live your life working on your passion. You’ll start to gain control of the direction you are heading, no longer leaving your life in the hands of fate alone.
10. Provides measurement to progress
Goal setting provides a reference point of measurement to your progress. In breaking larger goals up you should factor in specific measurements toward success to enable you to evaluate your advancement.
You should have a clear idea of what you are able to achieve. Even if you don’t achieve your short-term goals by the specific time-frame you set yourself you will be able to identify what you are lacking in and how to improve.
Once you discern your shortcomings you can modify your plan and devise a way to move forward to achieving your ultimate goal.
11. Makes you accountable
Having goals makes you accountable to yourself. Rather than just talking about what you want and not doing anything setting goals helps commit yourself to action.
When you stay accountable to yourself you are staying true to your desires. If you find yourself not achieving your goals you will know what is required to turn your situation around.
For example, if you’re a blogger who has committed to writing a certain number of blog posts each week you’ll know the time needed to generate the shortfall if you are failing. Perhaps cutting out further time-wasting tasks to ensure you hit your goal each week.
If you’ve committed to losing a certain amount of weight each week you’ll need to pitch in for some extra exercise or be more rigid with your diet in the forthcoming weeks to achieve your final aim.
Whilst goal setting keeps you accountable to yourself, research suggests that sharing them with friends and then providing updates to them significantly increases your chances of success.
A study showed that people who simply thought about their goals and how to achieve them succeeded less than 50% of the time which people with written down goals who enlisted friends to help them through progress updates succeeded closer to 75% of the time.
12. Sets boundaries
Boundary setting is important for anyone. Too many people struggle with saying no to people because we’re all too nice for our own good.
Clear and solid goals will help draw a firm line for yourself to help push back on distractions or rid your life of people and situation that will impede your progress.
Boundaries also induce a sense of accountability and help highlight the things that are getting in your way. They provide the fence line on whether you are living up to what you are committed to achieving for yourself.
13. Reduced stress
Once you’ve adopted clear goals and a broken these down to a plan you’ll become far more organised. You’ll have a clear vision on what your priorities are and with efficient time management and focus you’ll be able to achieve your goals with little mental stress.
In fact, as you start to progress and see results the chemical reactions in your brain as you start to see advancement toward your goal will naturally counter stress.
An immediate benefit is that the tasks required to accomplish your goals will be off your mind if your goals are written down, particularly if you detail a plan on how to achieve your goal. Having all this information from out of your head reduces your stress considerably allowing you to focus on what needs to be done.
Your plan will essentially be an instruction booklet on what you have to do to achieve your goal.
With specific, measurable milestones placed under objective scrutiny you can modify your plan to ensure you are advancing toward your goal as you expected.
14. Enhances communication
Setting goals enables you to clarify to others what you are hoping to achieve. If you have a partner and you need them on board this will help. If you are business owner with employees clearly laid out goals will help focus the whole team on what needs to be achieved.
Start goal setting right now
Go grab a pen and a notepad and start listing your goals today. Identify one action, no matter how big or small that you can achieve immediately and commit to taking action every single day. If you do this consistently each day for a few months you’ll truly start to see the benefit to setting goals.
Have you experienced any further benefits to setting goals or do you have a great story to tell as to how goal setting benefited you?
Feel free to comment and below and let everyone know.