Have you ever felt like you’re this guy? Running really fast and hard in the game of life but feeling like you’re simply not getting anywhere? Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. I personally have known that feeling and know how bad it sucks. It’s what it feels like when one lives in a continual state of reaction instead of creation. Yes, there are times in life when everything that can go wrong does and all at the same time and is way beyond our control. However, the truth of the matter is that we humans have so much more control over our thoughts, actions, and ultimately outcomes than most people have the stomach to own up to. The good news is, it is much easier to get off the hamster wheel and take control of your life than you may think.
The first step is to consciously decide to act. The second step is to SET GOALS. Even if the first goal you have is to sit down and examine which parts of your life you want to improve so that you can set goals. Do it.
Even the best of us sometimes wake up one day and wonder “How did I get here?”, “This is not where I want to be!” Somewhere along the way, we had dreams and visions, yet we lost focus and got detoured. If that sounds like you, it’s ok, make today the day you turn it around. Let today be the day you set specific, realistic, and achievable goals to have a better tomorrow. Make today the day you write the story of how the next chapter of life will go!
WHY does setting goals matter so much?
We all know it’s easier to act when we have a defined vision. However, besides gaining vision, focus, and clarity, there are many important reasons why you must set goals to be successful.
1. Setting goals helps you become who you need to be to reach them. When you have a clear goal, your motivation boosts and it triggers you to act in line with reaching it. Motivation and goals are akin to the chicken and the egg: it’s hard to decide which comes first but it’s nearly impossible to have one without the other. You will define what is most important to you and then naturally give your attention to what you want. Your thoughts and behaviors shift towards it and you will effortlessly gain momentum. Imagine playing darts with no target. Not only do you have nothing to aim for but why would you even pick up to dart?
2. Goals help end procrastination: It’s much easier to put off what seems irrelevant, intangible, or unattainable. At the root of procrastination is perfectionism, fear, or poorly defined goals (Lieberman, 2019) Using a modal such as SMART Goals will make your goals meaningful, measurable, and achievable! Sometimes to overcome procrastination, you’ll have to set smaller goals. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking at the whole distance to the finish line so let it be ok to focus on the first few steps. Have goals for the short term (daily or even hourly if necessary), mid-term (weekly or monthly accomplishments) and long-term (your ultimate success) so that you are actively pursuing your goals in a manageable way. You have the means to measure progress and know you are moving in the right direction.
3. (Smart) Goals help build confidence: When you have enough confidence, you’ll try anything. When you try new things, you build more confidence. This is where having carefully planned goals and a strategy is crucial. If you have a realistic goal and strategy, even if things don’t go as planned, science proves you’ll begin to feel good about yourself (Will Meek, Ph.D.). However, if you just have a lofty dream without a plan, you are likely to run into unforeseen challenges that could potentially deflate your enthusiasm and shatter your confidence. Don’t let the latter be you. It’s a great idea to have a buddy to help you strategize and hold you accountable in cases such as these. The most successful people in the world work with coaches. A life-coach is trained to work with you on this.
4. Goals define your road-map to happiness: Setting and achieving goals are what provide direction and destination in life; give it meaning, purpose, and fire-up your passion; they satisfy an innate need to live-up to our potential and provide a sense of contribution. Instead of simply reacting to life, letting it just happen and responding to it, going through the motions and merely surviving, why not design a life you love, waking up with a sense of purpose, acting deliberately, and thriving?
It all begins with setting goals.
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