Set some goals
By setting goals, you become one step closer to actually accomplishing them. You can consider the goals you set to be stepping stones that bring you closer towards accomplishing a more fulfilled and happier life. The best goals are SMART goals, that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Setting goals can either be for long term ambitions you’d like to accomplish or short term things. Once you’ve identified what your goals are, you are in a better position to start working and dedicating resources towards accomplishing them. You can set goals for yourself as an individual or for your family as a unit. You can also set goals for the workplace or even set goals with mere acquaintances as long as your interests are aligned.
It’s part of our nature as humans to set goals, whether unconsciously or consciously. The difference between successfully accomplishing goals and never managing to attain them is the failure to plan and set goals appropriately. But even when goals are carefully planned and worked towards, unforeseen circumstances can arise and lead to you not enjoying a smooth or easy journey towards reaching them. This is why a bit of flexibility is required while setting goals.
If you disagree that setting goals is a key step towards leaving a fulfilled life and that it contributes to giving the lives of individuals a sense of meaning and purpose, let’s look at some of the other important benefits a life that’s guided by set goals enjoys.
Benefits of goal setting
- Clearer Focus
When you live your life in accordance with your set goals, you will likely be leading a life that’s best suited to your personality and driven towards your happiness. Because goals help clearly state your intentions and desires, as well as the things you would really like to achieve, you can confidently work towards acquiring them without being distracted or losing focus of your target.
- Optimal Use of Resources
When you know where you are headed in life, you can plan accordingly on how to make use of the resources at your disposal to get there. By doing things in this manner, you tend to avoid wasting resources on things that don’t actually matter to your goals, as well as prepare for an eventual shortage. Since resources by their nature are always scarce, having goals help you to prioritise and make the best of what you have.
- Optimal management and use of Time
Time is the only resource that you can’t buy or replace, thus, by having your goals in place and knowing the time frame you have to accomplish them, you tend to make better use of your time before it runs out and your opportunity escapes you.
- Peace of Mind
When you have goals, the fear of the unknown is minimised. By setting a course for your future with goals, your life’s path is to a degree foreseeable and this helps to appease the fear or anxiety of what comes next.
Also, when you have too many thoughts racing through your mind, writing down goals can help appease those tumultuous thoughts because it will give you clarity and perspective, as well as help you chart the best path on how to move forward.
- Clear Decision Making
If your goals are clearly set out, you are in a better position to make the right decisions that will help you achieve your goals faster. When guided by your goals, your decision making process will shun thoughts that contradict or jeopardise your goals while embracing the ones that further them.
- Easier to track and monitor your progress in life
By setting your goals, you are in a better position to track your progress through life as well as how much closer you are to bringing your goals to fruition. If you find that your progress is not satisfactory, you can revise your course of action before proceeding.
- Increased creativity
Knowing what your goals are, your mind can begin exploring both orthodox and unorthodox options on how you can better guide yourself towards accomplishing your goals. With your goals clearly identified, you will start looking for ways to make them happen.
- Easier Communication of your vision
There are times when you would like to carry others along concerning your ambitions. This can be for a variety of reasons such as a desire to partner with them or seeking financing or some other form of assistance from such individuals. If your goals are clearly defined, it becomes easier for you to communicate your vision to such people and inspire confidence in them to believe in you.
The summary of all these benefits simply boils down to the power of goals in steering us in the direction we want to go and leading us towards accomplishing our overall happiness.
But what happens to people who fail to set goals.
Possible Dangers of not setting goals
An individual who goes through life without setting short or long term goals is likely to fall prey to any one or several of the following pitfalls.
- A rudderless life
When you fail to set goals for your life, your existence becomes dependent on external forces to guide you towards whatever eventuality life might have in stock for you. Said eventuality might turn out to be good or bad, but the fact still remains you have no control over it and have no choice but to accept what befalls you. On the other hand, with goals, you can map out your destiny and choose the direction of your life.
- Lacking Focus
Having a goal means you have a target you are trying to reach. It might take days, weeks, or even years to accomplish it, but as long as you are aware of the goals, you can stay on track. But in the absence of goals, you are short of focus and priorities and can thus be blown in any direction by whatever circumstance befalls you. Not having focus can really handicap you if you intend on being an achiever at anything. Even if you have talent but lack the focus to hone that talent, it will eventually be for nought.
- Opportunities might elude you
When you have a goal, you use everything at your disposal to make progress towards accomplishing it. Thus, if opportunities arise, you can channel them towards accomplishing your goals quicker. But without goals, opportunities thrown your way might be poorly utilised as you fail to put them to good use.
- Lack Of Confidence
A lack of goals can lead to a lack of confidence. A person without goals might in due course begin to lose confidence as he/she begins to ask the question, “What is my life’s purpose?” Goals give you purpose and in the absence of a purpose, uncertainty sets in as you fear your place in the world. Thoughts along this line can lead to depression or anxiety attacks which can be bad for one’s health
- No Motivation
With no goals, there’s nothing to get motivated about. With goals in place, you can drive yourself towards achieving accomplishments. But with no goals, life becomes bland as you find yourself being motivated by only the most basic instincts, such as feeding and survival.
- Your life might seem empty at the end
When a person is close to the end of their life and they look back on all the things they did and didn’t do, it might seem pointless and sad when they realise they didn’t actually accomplish anything during their years in this world. The best way to avoid facing such a bleak and sad end would be to begin setting goals today and start working towards them.
If you already have goals in place but are afraid you might never accomplish them, just commit to them and do your best. If at the end of your road, you still didn’t achieve your goals, you can at least take solace in the fact that you did your best.
How to set some goals
Goals are easier to achieve if you actually set and plan them in a realistic and attainable way.
If you set the bar too high, you might never make it. But if you set the bar just right, that goal becomes attainable and you can easily move on to accomplishing more. So how do you go about setting goals the right way? Following the simple steps below will help you greatly;
- Have faith. The most crucial step in creating goals is to actually believe in your capability to accomplish the goals you’ve set. If you don’t believe in your goals, they might will always seem like a huge and intimidating mountain looming over you that you might forever procrastinate conquering. Start by believing in your goals and you will be able to actually turn them into a reality.
- Visualize what you’d like to achieve. Regardless the heights you’d like to attain or the barriers you’d like to cross, you have to visualise yourself actually achieving them. By picturing yourself attaining victory, you will be motivated to make it a reality. This will also help you clearly visualise the steps, changes and sacrifices you need to make if you are to accomplish your goals. This will also bring your vision into sharp focus as the way forward towards accomplishing your goal begins to formulate.
- Write it down. Penning down your goals is important for various reasons.
One of the most important reasons is you won’t forget that goal. Another reason is writing down your goal in its own special way gives it form. A form is much easier to focus on than something that exists only in your mind.
- Have a purpose for pursuing a goal. The reasons why you are pursuing a goal can be powerful motivators. This is why you should identify your reasons so you can harness them to drive you on when you feel yourself about to give up. For example, your goal might be to attain wealth and the reason might be to provide a better life for your kids. With this reason firmly planted in your mind alongside the faces of your kids, you are less likely to deviate from your target.
- Accomplishing your goal requires actual commitment on your part. You can’t just pen down your goals, visualise them then abandon them with the hopes they’ll manifest on their own. You have to commit to taking the steps necessary to bring your goals to fruition no matter the cost. If you don’t commit body, mind and soul to a goal, you are likely to not follow through.
- Stay focused. While a bit of flexibility is needed while setting and pursuing goals, you still need to keep your eyes focused on the end prize. While your path to accomplishing your goals may change, the goal itself shouldn’t change unless of course you’ve sighted a better one. But focus is important because without focus, you could end up missing your goal altogether and end up with less or nothing.
- Map the course to your goals. With you goals set, you already have a target. All that’s left is to find and follow the best possible means to attaining it. In the ideal scenario, the path you follow will deliver long term results that you can enjoy for a long time to come. A clearly written down list of action steps is beneficial because it will help you stay focused and prevent you from being distracted from your goals. Without a mapped out plan, you could get frustrated by hiccups and quit when all you had to do was revise and tweak your plan.
- Immediately invest in your goal. It doesn’t have to be a financial investment - it could be anything as long as it places you on the first step on the path towards your goal. Even a mere phone call could be the start of your progress towards your destination. Procrastinating taking that first small step can lead to delays which might later on hurt.
- Be accountable for your successes and failures. Whatever occurs as you pursue your goals, you have to learn to be accountable for it. By being accountable, you can accept your faults or mistakes and learn from them. These will make you stronger, better and wiser as you learn what to avoid through your errors and what to keep at from your successes.
- The final step is reviewing your goals as often as possible in order to determine the next line of action to follow. Doing this will keep your goals alive as a priority in your consciousness. This activity will also inform you if you are making good progress, what aspects of your plan might need to be changed, and what aspects require more of a commitment from you.
If you feel you need help following the above tips while setting and pursuing goals, you could hire a life coach to help you along. But if you feel a life coach is too much of an investment, you can invest instead in the following smartphone apps to help you on your path to being an achiever.
Useful Goal Setting Apps
This app can help you formulate and stick to goals. The app will help divide your goals into smaller objectives that you’ll find less overwhelming and can accomplish faster. The combination of successes in all the smaller objectives will all culminate into you finally accomplishing your primary goal. The app also possesses a built-in journaling feature that lets you write down in detail specific aspects of your goals as well as your progress.
This app provides leadership coaching as well as habit coaching. Its interface is easy to use and by using it, you have an effective coach in your pocket that can guide you towards fulfilling your ambitions. By simply selecting a goal, you can track your progress and earn rewards for sticking with plans. There’s also a social aspect on the app that provides great motivation and support.
This app can help you set up reminders in order to avoid forgetting tasks that can lead to larger goal achievements. You use it by simply picking a goal, then setting a target by entering a goal value or a date. Next step is to specify an action you need to stick to in order to turn it into a habit. The Stride app also provides tracking so you can monitor your progress.
The app’s goal is to help and encourage you to hit daily goals every day. It uses beautiful graphs to inform you about your progress as well as about your shortcomings. You can also use the app to separate your goals into various categories such as goals involving your personal life, health, work, or anything else. You can also set reminders to help you avoid straying from your daily targets.
If you are ready to become an achiever, start taking advantage of the time you have left and set some goals to accomplish today.