Goals are the key to success. When you have goals to motivate you, you strive towards a better version of yourself, the person you have always wanted to be. As a life coach, one of the most important things I teach my clients is how to set realistic, clear, and attainable goals. Setting goals is basically the same as mapping out your route before you head out on a road trip: Before you know which direction to head in, you have to know where you’re going. Where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? Think big picture, then make smaller goals that act as pit stops along the road to your ultimate goal. When you make smaller, specific goals, you are more motivated to move towards your larger goal because you can experience smaller achievements along the way. A journey is taken one step at a time, and each smaller goal you achieve is a step in the right direction.
Many people realize that they should be setting goals, but don’t go about it in the right way. Their goals are general and open-ended, making it difficult for them to even know when they have reached them, or they are too lofty. This is why setting small, attainable goals is integral to getting where you want to go. Read on for the main benefits you can anticipate from setting specific goals along the way to a larger goal.
Gives You Focus
When you set goals, it gives you something on which to focus. Goals guide your behaviors and thoughts in the direction of where you want to go. When you have a specific goal set, you know what you have to do and tell yourself to be successful. However, if you either have no goals or you have vague goals, you tend to float through life, bouncing between different activities without any investment. When you have goals, you have a purpose. Everything you do and think leads back to helping you towards what you really want. Instead of drifting through life aimlessly, set specific goals and find a greater meaning.
Provides a Measure of Progress
You have a vision of the person you want to be. Maybe this person is physically fit, maybe they are spiritually enlightened, or maybe they have an active and fulfilling social life. Regardless of who they are, you don’t know how close you are to being that person if you don’t have small goals to measure along the way. When you have specific, clear goals outlined towards this larger goal, you have a way to measure your progress. For example, if you want to lose 40 pounds, a smaller goal may be going to the gym four times a week or tracking your calories every day. When you have these small, measurable goals, you know how you are doing in reaching your overarching goal and the person you want to be.
When you have concrete goals in place, you run out of excuses for not making progress. Before, you could talk all you wanted about how you want to be financially independent, but you could still blindly charge everything on your credit card because there was no one stopping you. When you have the goal to save 100 dollars out of every paycheck, when you fail to do this, you feel that failure. Goals make you accountable because they promote certain behaviors and discourage others. When you see your goal written down, you want to be able to check it off. Having your desires clearly outlined on paper establishes accountability.
You are lying in bed in the morning and thinking about all the things you want to do. You plan on working out, cooking yourself a healthy breakfast, going into work and accomplishing this, that, and the other thing. Then, you decide to give yourself another ten minutes in bed to stare at your phone and contemplate the universe, and everything you wanted to do falls out of your head. If you can relate to this, you probably come up with great ideas all the time but have trouble executing them because you always seem to get distracted by something else. Goals can help with that. When you have your goals written out, you have to face your goals. You can’t let laziness or a lack of attention cause you to procrastinate because what you have to do is clearly outlined in front of you. If you struggle with procrastination, goal setting is key.
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