The importance of goals:
Do you also know the situation in which you want to implement a plan, but it totally gets out of hand? Are you unhappy with your current situation and don’t know how to change it? Don’t you know where you want to go or what you want to achieve in life? Don’t worry – you are not alone in this!
“There are 900 million people in 142 countries who are unfulfilled with what they do in life.” [Gallup]
If you’re one of them, don’t give up! Because I will show you how to change it!
Clear goals and priorities to live more intentionally
With a few simple steps, you can change your situation, become clear about what you want, and you will gain motivation to work focused on achieving it. The magic word to do so is: Goals! You need goals that motivate you to work on your dreams and visions every day to live a fulfilled and happy life. Already Albert Einstein made clear: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
In the following article, I will show you why goals are so important, how to set them properly and how you can implement them to achieve your dreams.
Table of content:
The importance of goal setting and the reflection of your progress:
Why are goals so important?
“If you don’t know where you want to go, don’t be surprised if you end up somewhere else.” Marc Twain. This one sentence describes why goals are so important. They’re your guide, helping you not to lose sight of what you want to achieve in life. How else do you know when you’ve lost your way?
Without goals, it is difficult to achieve your dreams in life. So, take time to define your them and write them down. According to a study completed by Dr Gail Matthews, a professor at the Dominican University of California, writing down your goals will thereby have a significant impact because it will increase your success by 42%.
That is why it is important to write your goals down:
- It forces you to think about your goals and develop a vision for the future
- It helps you to think big and not limit yourself
- It helps you to stay focused
- It clears your mind so you can think about other things
- It helps you to notice and evaluate arising opportunities faster
- It makes you feel more committed to your goals
- It’s the first step to making them tangible
Therefore “setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible.” (Tony Robbin).
But besides setting your goals is the reflection on your them not as less important, because it:
- allows you to celebrate on your accomplishments
- motivates to continue forward progress
- provides insight into your past
- reminds you to feel grateful for what you have achieved
So, why waiting, if it is that important to set goals?
The fact is: Setting and accomplishing goals is essential but not easy,but with the proper mindset and framework, it is possible and definitely worth it. So, don’t worry, you as well will handle it! Just start today, keep moving and don’t give up!
Are you ready to set essential life goals and achieve them? If so, then you should continue reading, because I’ll give you the basics, which will help you to give your life a result-oriented, purpose-driven and clear direction. Let’s get started!
Here is the breakdown of how you turn your goals and dreams into reality:
- Evaluate your situation
- Set SMART Goals
- Take action
1. EVALUATE YOUR SITUATION
To set and achieve goals, you first need to do a self-analysis by evaluating your past and current situation. This step is important to find out what has worked so far and what do you want to improve in order to find out what you want to achieve. That will then lead to your next steps.
- Take a look back to the goals you have accomplished. Think about all the things you have achieved in life; about all the things that you have and write them down. You didn’t always have those things. And, at one point in your life, you may have wished for them.
- Think about all the things you are grateful for. If this point is hard for you, work on it. It is important to learn to be thankful for what you have and what you already achieved to get the right power and motivation to move forward. It is one of the main points to become successful.
- My tip: Start using a gratitude journal. That might help you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Here is a good one, that I like and which has excellent customer reviews on Amazon.
- Assess your strengths, weaknesses, past learnings, past mistakes, current environment, current resources, current limiting beliefs, mindset roadblocks, actual roadblocks, etc., all in order to get in touch with your “why.”
- Think about whether you are already on the right path to achieve your dreams.
- Ask yourself if you’ve already worked towards achieving your goal.
- Make yourself clear, at what point you are at the moment and where exactly you want to go.
In all these considerations, however, one factor must not be lost sight of: Setting goals does not necessarily mean self-optimisation in the sense of higher, faster, further. It can also be a goal to be happier and more satisfied with your professional or personal situation – and that can also mean taking a step shorter to finally have time for things you really like.
Reflecting on your past and present situation will equip you with more clarity, better understanding, more motivation, and a keen sense of what it would take to set and accomplish goals that are yours. And after doing that, get all your visions and desires out of your head and onto paper.
2. SET SMART GOALS
After having evaluated your current situation and thought about what your dreams and visions are, the next step is to write your goals down.
There are several approaches to do this. One of them is the SMART method.
With the SMART method, goals can be formulated in a simple and promising way and – if you work consistently on their implementation – they can also be achieved very well. It doesn’t matter which goal it is, a personal, professional or growth goal: the SMART method helps you to set clear goals and to stay on track in planning and implementing your project.
How does the SMART method work?
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic, resourced, result-based)
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, timely, time-sensitive)
Formulate goals as concrete and specific as possible.
A goal must be explicitly formulated, clearly understandable and as simple as possible. You should have a clear picture of the goal. In this way, you avoid too much room for interpretation or uncertainty. What is the goal, the final result? But make sure that the goal is not formulated too rigidly; otherwise, you avoid possible adjustments during the project.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
Determine qualitative and quantitative measurement parameters.
Which criteria are defined to measure whether a goal has been reached or how far you have already come? Here it is useful to define concrete numbers (target figures), which you can use to read the individual results, even partial results.
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Plan in such a way that you are motivated to achieve your goals.
A goal can only be achieved if you are motivated and willing to put the goal you have set into practice. That works through a positive formulation that encourages you to get started and become active.
Hardly any goal is easy to achieve, and success will not just fall at your feet. You have to work hard, bite through and be able to deal with setbacks. Only if the goal is attractive to you, you will have the motivation to achieve it.
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
Make sure that the task is feasible within the time and with the existing resources.
Think big! What may be a good attitude in general, is often inappropriate when it comes to setting goals, as excessive ambition leads to frustration and problems. Working towards something big in the long run can be very motivating, but don’t be completely unrealistic and don’t set yourself utopian goals in the shorter run.
If you set yourself unrealistic goals, you will quickly lose your motivation and give up, as it is simply impossible to live up to your expectations. In the best case, the goal should be chosen to be challenging, but definitely feasible.
Realistic goals, therefore, have a real advantage: they motivate much more than exaggerated and recognisably unrealistic goals. However, this does not apply to the big, overarching dream goal, because that should always be unrealistic. Do not underestimate the power and magic of very, very big goals. These have two decisive advantages:
- They force you to evolve.
- Obstacles on the way to achieving your goal appear smaller.
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match my other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to reach this goal?
- Is it applicable in the current environment?
Time-bound planning of goals: What has to be done by when
Every goal needs a time frame, a deadline by which something has to be done. By when should which sub-step and must the final goal be achieved? Clear time frames give your plan a direction. The time targets help you to stay focused and solution-oriented and not to dawdle when there is still a time buffer. Therefore, the target date is the checkpoint. That is where it is measured and recorded whether all that was planned days, weeks or months ago has been achieved.
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Examples for the goal formulation with the SMART method:
Here are three examples that show the difference between wrongly formulated and SMART goals:
- Wrong: I want to save more money.
- Right: I will save €12,000 by the end of the year by setting aside €1,000 per month. I do this by changing my gym to minimise my monthly fee, getting a part-time job and only buying the things I need.
- Wrong: I’m going to lose weight.
- Right: I will go to the gym three times a week and switch to a healthy diet to lose half a kilo every week until my holiday in August.
- Wrong: I want to write a blog.
- Right: I will write a blog about lifestyle, fashion, travel and nutrition for Millennials. I would like to give inspiration and tips. I will write 12 blog posts every month, each two pages long.
The Limits of the SMART method:
The SMART formula has a few minor limitations:
- The SMART method itself does not give a clear guideline for defining goals. The vision or dream must be known so that you can set concrete goals, formulate them SMART, and define further sub-goals.
- The criteria are examined individually during the analysis. In practice, however, there are often dependencies; for example, realistic goals can also be linked to the budget.
- It is not always possible to influence single factors for the achievement of the goals. Some elements are difficult to measure.
The smart method is still useful if you make yourself clear, that
- it is a framework, a guide and one of many strategies out there.
- it is not a perfect system, nor is it a universal answer to goal-setting.
3. TAKE ACTION
Now that you’ve set your goals, you need a plan to put them into action.
Here are 7 steps you can take to move in the right direction:
Visualisation & Affirmation
Write it down: Put your goals on paper so you can describe exactly what your future should look like. In addition, you should represent the goals visually, for example, with the help of a vision board, and hang them up so that you always have it in view.
Commit & Schedule
Bring planning and structure into your life. Create an action list with all the activities that need to be initiated to achieve your goals. Form this list of activities into a plan, which is ordered chronologically and according to the priorities.
Review & Fix
Complete & Achieve
If you want to complete and reach your goals, it is essential to have the self-discipline to remain focused and disciplined. There are two ways to hold yourself accountable: by creating habits and systems, for example, by sharing your goals with others or finding an accountability partner.
Celebrate your wins & Reward yourself
If you want to learn more about how to find goals for yourself and if you want go deeper into how goals can be achieved, read this article:
The SMART method helps you to really pursue your goals very efficiently and also to identify deviations at an early stage and initiate corrections if necessary.
But notice that all successful people have one thing in common: they consistently set goals and accomplish them. It doesn’t matter that they fail, which is inevitable, because they remain focused and continue to learn and improve. They’ve made a dent in this world by aiming for the consistent and progressive kind of success, and that’s done only by habitually setting and accomplishing goals.
Now it’s up to you:
Think about how you can formulate your vision as SMART goals so that you can make your dream come true.
Don’t give yourself any reason or excuse to not work on your goals regularly. Small steps and micro-habits will guarantee a specific dynamic and avoid procrastination.
Share in the comments below:
What’s your biggest takeaway from this article? How do you make sure you set and accomplish your goals?
My book tips for you:
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple: 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career Goals from S.J. Scott.
In the book, “S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple”, you’ll get a ten-step plan for setting and achieving your goals. Unlike other titles, this book will teach you how to turn any idea into an actionable plan. Not only will you get an overview of S.M.A.R.T. goals, you’ll also get a blueprint for turning them into daily routines.