“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
“You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.” – Zig Ziglar
Do you set goals for yourself? What are your goals for the next 12 months? How about 3 years from now? 5 years? 10 years? What are your aspirations in life?
Goal setting is the first step in successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It’s when you switch from a passive state to being involved in life.
Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to set goals:
1. Take Control of Your Life
Many people today are sleepwalking through life. Even though they work hard, they don’t see themselves getting what they want. They feel like life is passing them by. That’s because they don’t really have a direction of where they want to go, what they want to achieve. Students graduate and they’re not sure what to do with their life; adults work for years and get shocked when they reach their 30s, 40s, or even 50s and they’re not sure what to do next.
As Bill Copeland says, when you don’t set goals, you can spend your whole life running up and down and not achieve anything. In reality you’re just fulfilling others’ goals, not yours. It can be the fast food industry telling you that fast food is good for you because you’re “lovin’ it.” It can be the consumer goods company telling you that you need this shampoo with frizz-free formula because it’ll make your life better. It can be fashion labels getting you to buy their clothes because they have convinced you that you look cool in them.
By sitting down and setting some goals, you break out of auto-pilot mode and start living a life of your conscious creation. Instead of waiting for things to happen, you proactively take charge and make things happen.
2. Get Clarity of Your End Vision
What do you want to see in your life 1 year from now? 3 years from now? 5 years from now? When you set goals, you start thinking ahead, after which you can plan your life accordingly. On the other hand, people who don’t set goals live life passively. They get surprised when years pass and their life stays the same. But that’s because they never set their own vision of what they want their life to be. So how can they expect life to turn out the way they want?
Remember, all things are created twice: first in the mind, then in the physical world. The mental creation happens when you set your goals. The physical creation is when you actively pursue and manifest your goal in reality. Without the mental creation, the physical creation can’t happen. When you set goals, you kickoff the very first step in a series of steps to make your goals happen.
3. Creates Laser Focus
Goals give you focus. Whereas having a life purpose gives you a broad direction to move toward, your goals give you laser focus as to what exactly to spend your time and energy on.
Let’s say you set the goal to create a pastry business. Even though you have no idea how to make it happen, the very act of setting a goal gives you a focal point to start. As you brainstorm for ideas, you realize that you can start by studying the local pastry market and pastry brands. Understand the pastries that people like. Then, take baking classes to master your skills. At the same time, test recipes and let your friends taste your creations before selling them.
Think of your time and energy as input and the results as the output. By setting goals, your time and energy can be funneled into the right areas to create maximum reward. You avoid the low-value tasks that do not contribute to your end vision, and consciously work on the high-value tasks that will give you the biggest impact. This then creates maximum results.
4. Creates Accountability
Having goals makes you accountable. Rather than just talk, you are now obligated to act.
This accountability is accountability to yourself, not anyone else. No one knows the goals you set; people also don’t stand to gain (or lose) whether you achieve your goals or not. By setting specific goals, it lets you know whether you are on track in your plans, and if not, what to do about them.
When I started my blog years ago, I set goals such as to complete a certain number of articles a week, to hit a certain traffic target a week, and so on. This made me accountable to these targets. Each week, I would monitor my performance while working on my plan. If I found myself falling short, I would take the necessary steps to address it. I would cut out my Quadrant 4 tasks (time wasters) and identify the 80/20 actions to achieve my goals. Doing so helped me grow my blog very quickly, and within a year I was able to turn my passion into my full-time career.
5. Motivates You
When you set goals, you connect yourself with your innermost desires. They help motivate you and give you something to strive for. This is especially powerful if you’re not in a good place in life at the moment — your goals help remind you of the things you love, to redirect your focus away from the negative obstacles, and to reconnect you with your innermost desires.
To quote Henry Ford, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” When you are feeling negative and down, it’s often because you feel you’ve nothing worth looking forward to. Your goals are the rainbow to strive for, to push you out of the storm.
If I ever lose motivation, I would meditate and focus on some of the most important goals in my life, such as all the people I wish to reach out to and help in the world. I would visualize the scenario with full clarity, as if it is happening now. This connects me with my inner self right away as I remember my WHY (my deepest motivation), after which I’ll feel energized and get to work right away. 🙂
6. Be The Best You Can Be
Goals help you achieve your highest potential. Without goals, you default to a routine of activities that keeps you feel safe and comfy each day. But this familiarity is the nemesis of growth. It prevents you from growing. It denies you from tapping into your infinite potential.
By setting goals, you set targets to strive toward. These targets make you venture into new places and new situations that put you into growth mode. They make you stretch beyond your normal self and reach new heights. For example, setting a time limit for your run lets you know if you should be running faster. Setting a weight loss target helps you know if your actions have been effective in losing weight. Setting a career goal ensures that you are not settling for anything less than what you desire.
7. Live Your Best Life
Last but not least, goals ensure that you get the best out of life.
Whether you want this or not, time will pass in your life. In 1 year’s time, you’ll be 1 year older. In 5 years’, you’ll be 5 years older. Goals with specific measures and deadlines ensure that you are maximizing your experience on earth. If you have already discovered your life purpose, your goals will help you get the best out of your purpose.
Imagine this: The world is your oyster. There are millions, billions of things you can do, experiences you can have, and people you can encounter. There are endless possibilities of what you can accomplish. What if you can do whatever you want? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to see, do, and experience in your life? Set your goals, make them happen, and watch as you create your best life ever.
Start Setting Goals
Ask yourself this: What are my goals for the upcoming 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or even 10 years?
If you just take some time out to set your goals now, I can guarantee you that you will definitely experience more growth as a person. By just spending a few minutes to articulate some aspirations that have been in your mind, you will experience more progress in your life a year from now than if you don’t. 🙂
- A vision board is a great tool to turn your goals into a visual reminder. Watch my video tutorial where I create my vision board: How to Create Your Vision Board [Video]
- My bucket list article of 101 Things To Do Before You Die, where you create your list of things that you want to do and life experiences to have before you die
- So having set your goals, now what? Here is my own goal achievement framework to achieve any goals with success: ESPER: My 5-Step Goal Achievement Framework