Why and How Should You Set Life Goals?

Setting life goals is important. But just because you’re setting goals doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically be successful. That’s why we’ve created this quick reference guide on why and how you should more effectively set life goals.

Why Is It Important to Set Life Goals?

Why set life goals? After all, can’t you simply save time and get to work to being successful? Unfortunately, without specific goals, you’re not going to be focused. Without a clear focus, you’ll never be as successful as if you have goals to strive toward.

As an analogy, pretend you’re a newly-minted FBI agent. Your boss is sending you on a dangerous undercover assignment. You’ll be armed with a pistol, and there’s a good chance that you’ll have to use it. Obviously, that means you need to practice. But you’d never practice shooting your gun without a target to shoot at. 

Without a target – a goal – for your bullet to hit, you’re firing blind. You have no way of knowing what to adjust or what weaknesses you need to improve upon. You can’t measure your progress and won’t get the feedback you need to truly master your weapon.

How Do I Set Life Goals Effectively?

To truly make the most of your goal-setting, you must know how to set goals that are actually effective. Here’s how:

  • Write Your Life Goals Down

When you make a goal, write it down. Be as specific as possible. Without this step, your goal is nothing but a daydream. Once you write a goal down, you’ve made it concrete and are much more likely to do what it takes to achieve it.

  • Make Goals Achievable

Effective goal-setting means balancing ambition and achievability. You don’t want goals to be so lofty that you have little chance of reaching them, but you need to make them ambitious enough that reaching them has a powerful effect.

  • Make Goals Measurable

You should be able to measure your progress on every goal you set. To do this, set a completion date for each goal. Then set milestones that you will work toward, with incremental deadlines for each milestone. If you miss a milestone along the way, don’t panic! Just make some adjustments to your goal calendar and get back to work.

  • Create a Reward System

Once you have goal milestones and dates, create a reward and punishment system. A reward can be something as simple as treating yourself to a muffin from your favorite bakery. A punishment could be something like assigning yourself an extra hour of work on Friday afternoon. 

The important thing is that you use the power of psychology to train your mind toward better habits. Rewards and punishments condition you to work harder, remain focused, and overcome the urge to procrastinate.

What Goals Should I Set?

We’re all works in progress. With so much to improve upon, it can feel overwhelming to narrow down your list of life goals. To figure out what goals you should set, ask and answer some big-picture questions about what you think your priorities should be. 

Do you need to lose weight? Are you disappointed with how much money you make? Do you want to become a more valuable expert in your industry? Figure out what’s most important for you to achieve, and then set a specific life goal for each area.

Examples of Life Goals

If you think you need to prioritize improving your health, maybe your main life goal is to lose 20 pounds in five months. If you feel like you’ve plateaued at work, your goal might be to earn a certain certification in your field by the end of the year. If you have been working so much that you aren’t spending enough time with your family, you might set a goal of spending an additional three hours per week with your kids. The point is, find out what the biggest and most pressing issues are in your life, and then set concrete goals that help you solve those issues.

Effective goal setting is a proven way to become more successful in all areas of life. With success at your doorstep, the only question is, what are you waiting for?

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