Goals are the foundation of your ambition. They serve as the finality that brings focus. They push us to greater things, motivate us to stay on track, and continuously give our efforts meaning. Goals give direction.
What is a goal?
Goals are the accomplishments we strive for. They require routine planning, continuous commitment, and undoubted dedication to ensure productivity and fruitful results. Goals guide us through many aspects of life: careers, relationships, finances, health, personal development, and more. They can span different periods of time: by the day, week, year, and even lifetime; and they can even change as our lives and our passions evolve.
So how exactly does goal setting improve your life? Keep reading to learn the 7 reasons why you should be setting goals.
1. Gives you control of your future.
Dreams are nothing without a plan. Setting goals allows you to take command of your life’s direction. Once you have identified a goal, you will begin to execute the strategic plan needed to achieve it. The plan should include routine objectives that act as stepping stones towards your main goal. By setting goals and objectives, you take your fate into your hands, rather than wandering aimlessly hoping you’ll get there one day. Hard work is critical, but focused work is paramount.
2. Provides direction in life.
Similarly, goal setting gives you clarity to plan your future. When you sit down to identify your goals, you’re forced to think about where you want to see yourself in 1, 3, 5 years or more. It provides vision and direction that facilitates inward reflection—reflection that can lead to not just a greater understanding of yourself, but also your passions and your capacity to pursue them.
3. Helps identify where you should concentrate your efforts.
Once you have identified the steps you need to take to reach your end goal, you will have actionable items to work towards. These items may evolve over the course of the process, as they are intended to be geared toward your ever-changing weaknesses. The point, and why the items change, is to identify where you need more work and to turn that focus area into a strength. Building on the idea of focused work, a plan that doesn’t adapt to new barriers or obstacles is destined to fail.
4. Makes intimidating aspirations feel attainable.
When we are children, we very often daydream about where we see our future selves. However, as we get older, what once felt common-sense no longer feels “attainable”. There may be a natural inclination to be more realistic and pragmatic as we age, but we shouldn’t forget the childlike wonder that sparked many of the passions and goals we carry with us into adulthood. As an adult, the best way to tap into our 7-year old magic is to set goals (realistic but still challenging) and smaller, achievable steps to work towards them.
5. Gives your efforts meaning.
Anything worth accomplishing will take monumental effort—but that’s not to say that reaching your goals isn’t exhausting along the way. Crystal clear goals give focus and can serve to reinvigorate our efforts when you’re having (the inevitable) pessimistic days. If you’re not working towards anything specific, you’re just working for the sake of working—a method sure to lead to burnout.
6. Helps you stay motivated when met with adversity.
Having goals and a process to reach them creates accountability. By giving yourself smaller goals to work towards on a routine basis, you create habits for yourself that not only keep you on track, but bring you back when you inevitably fall off for brief periods of time or experience setbacks. Celebrating small victories and accomplishments along the way also serves to provide motivation when things get difficult.
7. Improves confidence.
Any difficult endeavor teaches us something about ourselves. Executing a plan and seeing it to fruition leaves us with the sense of accomplishment that feeds our self-confidence. A methodical approach to reaching goals is habitual—and the more we practice it, the more ingrained it becomes, and the better we are for it. Inspire yourself with confidence and the world is yours.