“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”-Albert Einstein
Do you set goals for your future?
Do you have a vision how you want things to be?
Every person who has been successful in life has had a vision and a clearly defined set of goals in life. This helped guide their actions and direction.
Consider when you want to drive to a certain place but you have no idea how to get there. What do you do?
If you have a GPS app in your car you plug in the start point and destination and the app safely navigates you on that journey.
Life’s journey is no different. To reach your destination you need to know where you are going and have a plan how you are going to get there.
So let’s look at how goal setting can help us find purpose and direction in life.
Understanding the Benefits of Goal-Setting
Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation Conscious articulated ideas in the form of goals will always guide our actions and behaviours. It becomes the stepping-stones towards a happier successful life.
There is no better example of how effective goal setting can be than a research study conducted amongst students many years back by Harvard University.
At that time they found only 3% of participants had clear defined written goals for their future.
Thirty years on and the Harvard research team re-visited the students. They found that the 3% of students who had clearly defined goals had financially achieved 10 times more than the 97% of the other students put together.
Now there is some conjecture whether this story is fact or fiction. Nonetheless, what holds true is the importance of clearly defining our goals for achieving the future we desire.
So if you want to be in that 3% here’s what you need to be doing:
Define in Writing What You Want
We all have dreams about a brighter future. There’s always a vague idea of what we think will make us happy. But for dreams to become a reality, and not just wishful thinking, we need to spend time defining what we want.
Your first step is to get very specific about what it is you want to achieve.
So it’s very helpful to ask yourself three key questions:
- What specifically do I want?
- Why specifically do I want this?
- When specifically do I want this?
Now answering these questions is a great start, but not enough. Identifying exactly what you want means taking the time to write down on paper a detailed description of the goal that you would like to achieve.
Writing your goals down forces you to get clear on what you exactly want to accomplish. You need to describe in detail the reasons why you want this specific goal. Without these reasons, there will be no motivation to pursue this goal in the first place.
The act of taking the time to write our goals down has been found to seriously increase the chances of success.
Create a Compelling Reason
Having a strong-enough reason to achieve a goal will make you follow through. If you don’t, you’ll quit.
This idea is supported by a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
It showed that when goals are highly emotionally motivated overcoming obstacles becomes less of an issue.
Think about it. In the past, when you really wanted something badly enough did you do whatever it took to achieve it?
When the reasons are deep, and have meaning you’ll push through every time.
What are some examples of strong-enough reasons for wanting to achieve something?
Security, family and freedom are some good examples.
But why are these things important to you?
It’s important you spend time writing all of this down.
Develop a Plan
Irrespective of what that goal is or why you want it, if you want to follow through, you it’s important to create a plan.
There are a number of reasons why a plan is important:
- It helps you to identify your goals clearly.
- It helps you understand your goal and what you need to do to reach it.
- It makes you work in a goal-oriented way rather than in a loose way where we just respond to issues and crises with no clear plan or goal.
- Planning helps you see in advance those things that can help you achieve your goal and those things that can prevent you from achieving your goal and work out what to do about them.
- Planning helps you to be accountable for what you do.
- Planning helps you decide how best to use your resources (people, time, money, information, equipment) so that they make the most significant contribution to achieving your goal.
Manage, Track and Adjust
Daily management of your goals is important.
This helps you to achieve milestones along the way to those bigger long-term goals. Daily goals allow you to track your results along the way.
If you see that something isn’t working out you can adjust your approach.
Consider a ship that veers a few degrees off course due turbulence or a storm. The longer you leave any adjustment the further away you move from reaching your destination. Quick managed adjustments keep you on track towards reaching your goals.
A Take-Home Message
Goal setting helps us move forward and find the success we desire in life. It provides a roadmap to get us from where we are to where we want to be.
To achieve those dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and ask yourself what you want from this life and then implement some actionable strategies to get you moving.
Do you have some big goals for 2022?
Hopefully some of the ideas above will help you on your journey to success.
If you need any help around goal setting please feel free to reach out- I’m here to help!