Goals are to your life as oxygen is to your lungs. A goal is what directs the very first steps when you embark on a journey, and it marks the very last steps to the end of that journey. Recognizing the significance of setting goals is crucial for a successful life.
Setting goals isn’t always about the big stuff – it isn’t only about being the slimmest or the most muscular you’ve ever been. Goal setting applies to even the smallest of tasks, the things you don’t even consider as goals – like planning your morning exercise routine. Not every goal is significant in and of itself, but the prospect of having a goal is what is significant. For example, taking a 30-minute stroll might not be significant in itself, but setting a goal to do it ensures that you will do it, and the significance lies in the essence of getting things done.
Not having a goal is like shooting an arrow without having a target to direct it at. It is aimless, pointless, futile, and all sorts of other words that describe doing something for no reason! Whatever you do should be in the spirit of bringing you closer to completing some sort of goal, so that you invest effort in something that has a purpose. No amount of potential is useful without a focus to direct it towards. So don’t waste your time and energy shooting at nothing – aim for something you want!
Having goals set out will help you immensely in measuring your progress. Goals provide a benchmark in order to compare your progress against your setpoint. An example is if a person sets out to begin strength training. If you set a goal of lifting a deadweight of 250lbs, then you can use your goal to help assess your progress as you train to determine how far along with your project you are. However, if you were simply training without any end goals, you will have no idea how far you have progressed.
Having goals in place helps you to form mental boundaries. When you develop these boundaries mentally, you automatically steer clear of distractions in order to stay focused – this is a natural response once the human brain registers a goal and becomes dedicated to achieving it. It is a subtle change but an important one because it takes you closer to the end result. An example of how this works is if you make a decision to be at a specific venue in, say, 15 minutes. Once you have registered your goal of 15 minutes in your mind, you will naturally steer clear of distractions like stopping at the store, having a cup of coffee, or stopping for a chat with a friend. This is the essence of becoming successful.
Another excellent result of setting a goal for yourself is that you mentally hold yourself accountable to complete the job at hand. Doing things in a whim does not give you this effect, and it will not ensure that you achieve what you need to achieve. When you don’t set out with a purpose, you’re not accountable for completing anything at all. This accountability helps you overcome issues like procrastination and the terrible lazy bug that tends to bite often. It is worth mentioning that this is mostly true for short-term goals because long-term goals are found to actually encourage procrastination. A solution to this is to break down your long-term goals into achievable short-term goals instead. For example, don’t set your goal weight at 160lbs for the end of the year and leave it at that. Break it down so you have a goal weight every four months.
What you will find when you reflect on your goals is that they are the root of your inspiration. Goals are the spark that ignites the flames of motivation. Your goals are your driving force. Giving yourself goals to work towards gives you a fixed and concrete endpoint for you to grow excited about reaching. This focus on achievement is your motivation and without motivation, you would not get anywhere. Use your goals to increase your motivation to get things done. After all, the best way to measure your success is to measure how much you’ve gotten done!