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Why Goal Setting Is So Important

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Just like every year, many people made new year's resolutions in 2020, but then, COVID-19 happened.

The global pandemic changed the world. 

A survey from the Pew Research Center shows that around 50% of US adults have had difficulties finding the motivation to work since the beginning of the pandemic. (Source: Business Insider)

Now, in 2021, as we're still fighting COVID-19 and dealing with the aftermath, many still feel demotivated as the future seems more uncertain and unpredictable than ever.

Here's one question many of us have likely asked ourselves: 

Why set goals when we're still fighting COVID-19?

We understand creating and pursuing goals is not easy when we have to live under restrictions on who we see, where we go, and what we do. 

Moreover, COVID has forced us to reexamine our priorities, goals, plans, perspectives, and relationships. 

But we move past the upheaval of 2020 and welcome new challenges and opportunities with open arms. 

How?

It's simple: SET GOALS!

Here is the ultimate guide to goal setting and why it is crucial for a successful life! 

What is Goal Setting? 

what-is-goal-setting

Goal setting is selecting an objective or target you wish to achieve. However, it is not all that simple anymore. The concept of goal has drastically changed over the years. 

Traditionally, in precise terms, goal setting was all about two things: 'What do I want to achieve' or 'what are my goals in life’. 

But now it should be 'what kind of pain I want’. Confused? Let's explain. 

Understanding The Concept of Goal Setting

Modern-day experts define goal setting with pain and struggle rather than success and achievements. For example, Mark Manson, internet entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author explains that having a goal is easy; willing to accept the sacrifices and struggles to achieve goals is the real challenge. 

Do you want to put in the effort?

Do you want the brutal, tiring, ugly, and boring process that comes before the glamorous and exciting outcome?

Thus, goal setting is not just sitting around and thinking 'what we'd like to have’. It is about determining what struggles you are willing to put up with to be where you want to be.

You have to think about and accept the tradeoffs attached to your goals of life. It is not about choosing the rewards but also the costs you are willing to pay.

Everybody wants a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.

Importance of Goal Setting 

To quote an expert on the subject, Tony Robbins:

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible."

These words explain the importance of goal setting exceptionally well. But let's dive deeper into the matter and explain why goal setting is of paramount importance to achieve success. 

Do you ever feel like your life has no meaning or purpose? Like you are sleepwalking through life with no real intention? You know what you want but don't know how?

This is where goal setting comes into play. Setting goals is the first step to changing the course of your life. They push you to plan towards a future you want and set you on a path to achieve that future. 

Moreover, setting goals is also fundamental for skill development in different facets of life, be it work, relationships, or personal growth. 

Here are five reasons why setting goals is important:

Why Is Goal Setting Important? 
1 Creates motivation 
2 Improves performance 
3 Makes you adaptable and flexible 
4 Shifts priorities and stimulates a growth mindset 
5 Helps you achieve goals and become successful 

What Are Different Types of Goals in Life?

Different aspects of our life require different goals. To become an all-rounder, you have to strive for success in all aspects of your life rather than focusing on one part. You have to have goals related to career, finances, relationships, etc. 

Setting and achieving specific goals in different areas of life will help you take control of your life and attain success as you step further ahead. Thus, allowing you to live a balanced life. 

To help you define and set different goals in life, here are the types of goals you should know about: 

1.    Time-Based Goals

time-based goals

 International Bestselling Author Stephen R. Covey once said:

"The key is not spending time but investing it."

Time-Based goals teach you how to invest your time wisely by setting goals based on a specific timeline or deadlines. For example, 'I will lose 10 kgs in 3 months’.

Here are the main categories of time-based goals: 

       i.          Long Term Goals

A long-term goal is a goal for the future. They are not quickly attainable nor lifelong endeavors. They are goals that require a few years' worth of struggle. For example, getting a degree or buying your first house. 

     ii.          Short Term Goals

Short-term goals are goals you want to achieve soon or in the near future. The near future could be today, tomorrow, this week, this month, or this year; such as goals to learn a new skill or tool.

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    iii.          Lifetime Goals

Lifetime goals are goals you achieve during the course of your life. These goals define what sort of person you want to become in life. They can take anywhere from a year to a whole lifetime. For example, building a reputation, mastering a skill, or saving for retirement. 

    iv.          Stepping Stone Goals

Stepping stone goals are minor short-term goals that help you reach the big vision. For example, if your main goal is personal development, attending a seminar, having a mentor, and reading self-help books are all stepping stone goals. 

Stepping stone goals are also known as enabling goals or foundational goals. They can be considered as 'objectives.' 

2. Life-Based Goals

Life-based goals are goals in different areas of life. These include the following: 

  • Career Goals

  • Financial Goals

  • Relationship/Family Goals

  • Educational Goals

  • Business Goals

3. Personal Goals

Personal Goals are goals you want to achieve to improve yourself; your performance, personality, appearance, etc. These goals include: 

  • Physical and Health Goals

  • Personal Development Goals

  • Spirituality Goals

Now, let's talk about the benefits of goal setting!

Benefits of Setting Goals

Here are the benefits of goal setting:

1.    Goals Give You Direction

goals give you direction

Setting goals gives a sense of direction to your life. If you don't have any objectives and long-term plans, your efforts will become confusing and disjointed.

2.    Goals Give Clarity in Decision Making

Setting goals tells you what is essential and urgent. This allows you to make better and timely decisions.

3.    Goals Keep You Motivated 

Setting goals help you maintain focus and stay motivated to achieve what you want. 

4.    Goals Help You Beat Procrastination

Goals keep you motivated, helping you avoid procrastination and keeping you laser-focused on achieving success. 1 out of 5 people procrastinate so much that it jeopardizes their relationships, job, finances, and even health (Source: Brandon Gaille). 

5.    Goals Help You Measure Progress

Setting goals allows you to keep track of your progress. They keep you prepared for any challenges and hurdles. 

How To Set Goals?

Active goal planning and setting boosts your motivation and adds organization to your life. Here are some tips on how to set goals and prioritize them: 

1.    Write Them Down

write goals down

42% of people are more likely to achieve goals if they write them down (Source: Inc.). Journaling or writing down your goals is one of the most effective goal-setting strategies. 

According to neuropsychologists, vividly describing your goals in writing strongly increases the chances of goal success by 1.4 times (Source: Forbes)

2.    Personal Strategic Planning

Brian Tracy, author of Goals!, says goal setting and planning require personal strategic planning. Decide which goals are attainable when and set them accordingly.

3.    Set Intentions

Setting goals without setting intentions is a waste of time. To achieve goals, you have to set daily intentions that come from a growth mindset. They define the lifestyle you must adapt to achieve your goals and keep you focused on the present. 

4.    Create Smaller Goals

create smaller goals

92% of people don’t achieve their goals and the remaining 8% do so by setting smaller goals and objectives.

Effective goal setting involves smaller short-term goals that you must complete to reach the bigger picture. Divide your lifetime goals into a five-year plan. Further categorize them into one year, quarterly, and monthly plans. Finally, create a daily To-Do List. 

5.    Have SMART Goals

Use the SMART mnemonic for goal setting. While there are many variants, SMART usually stands for:

  • S – Specific (or Significant)

  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful)

  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented)

  • R – Relevant (or rewarding)

  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable)

6.    Be Precise

Setting precise goals by putting in dates, times, and amounts helps you set realistic and measurable goals. 

7.    No Resolutions 

60% of people give up on their new year's resolutions, 25% of which abandon them only within the first week. (Source: Inc.)

The biggest reason people give up or forget their resolutions is that they are not specific and serious. 'Losing weight' or 'earning more' is not adequately defined goals that you can achieve. Thus, instead of resolving certain promises to yourself, set time bound attainable goals. 

Wrapping Up 

If you want to achieve something in life and leave behind a legacy, you must set realistic goals. You should know that you will have to pay the price in terms of effort and compromise on time and leisure for your future. 

Set goals by writing them down and reading them as often as possible. Take baby steps towards each of your goals, and ultimately you will witness your dreams become a reality. 

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