We all know that it’s important to set goals, but we don’t always know exactly why it matters to set goals. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in daily life. You go to work, come home, then do it all again tomorrow. When you’re exhausted, it’s hard to think of doing anything else.
However, goals provide a lot of benefits. Even if you’re only setting a small goal, like trying to read one book a month, it’s good to always have at least one goal to be working toward. In the long run, goals will help you move toward your ideal future.
Why Goal is Important?
1. Goals can help you focus.
Goals can help you focus on what’s really important to you. This is especially true if you only set a few key goals at one time. When you make your goals specific, they can help keep you focused and motivated.
For example, the goal to “do better at work” is an okay one, although it’s pretty vague. If you change the goal to “learn some productivity habits that will help me get my work done faster,” your goal is more specific.
The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to stay focused on reaching your desired outcome. Even small goals can help you focus.
For example, many people create goals to read more. Each year, websites like Goodreads prompt their followers to set goals for how many books they’d like to read during the year.
Even if you only make a small goal, like reading five books in the next year, you’ll find it easier to focus on finishing books. Instead of starting and abandoning several books, you’re more likely to push through to completion.
“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”
– Venus Williams
2. Goals can help you measure your progress.
When you set goals, you have a better idea of the progress you’re making in certain areas of your life. For example, if your overall want to push yourself to learn more information relevant to your job, goals set along the way can help you measure your progress.
It’s easy to measure progress when your goals are things like “read ten books” or “read an article about my field every day.” You can easily determine whether or not you’ve completed those tasks to know whether or not you’re progressing toward your desired result.
Lots of people set weight loss goals. What’s good about having a goal weight is that you can not only see how many pounds you’ve lost, but how far you’ve come on your way to your goal weight.
For example, if you weigh 260 pounds and want to get down to 160 pounds, you’ll be able to easily calculate what percent of your weight loss is completed at each step of the process.
The same is true for other goals. I frequently make goals to read books during the month and during the year. The reading app I use lets me see what percent of my book goal I’ve completed. That helps me determine whether or not I’m on track to meet my goal.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
– Benjamin Franklin
3. Goals can give you motivation.
If you struggle to stay motivated, goals can help push you in the right direction. Without goals, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the daily and weekly tasks that come along. When you take time to set goals, you can push yourself to learn something new, do something different, or achieve something greater.
I typically make it a goal to read about fifty books each year. Not only does this motivate me to read about fifty books, but it reminds me each week that I need to read a new book each week to stay on track.
This keeps me from putting my reading goal off until the end of the year. With my goal in mind, I’m more motivated to make efforts every day to reach that goal.
“The big secret in life is that there is no secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
– Oprah Winfrey
4. Goals can help you figure out what you want in life.
When you take time to set goals, it forces you to sit and really think about what you want from your life. Instead of only focusing on your immediate needs, it forces you to imagine what you want your life to look like in the next few years.
I have a love/hate relationship with the question, “What do you see yourself doing in five years?” As I completed my degree this year, the question came up constantly. And to be honest, I’m not entirely certain what I see myself doing in five years.
Yet when I really think about it, the time between now and then is a full five years. That’s enough time for me to change my life in the most dramatic ways. Should I go on to get more education, my next degree could be completed by then. If I start a new career, I could be well on my way to my dream job in five years.
The possibilities are endless! When you sit down to make long-term goals, you force yourself to reflect on the kind of life you want to live. Your short-term goals may be small, but if they contribute to an overall vision you have for your life, they can help you better understand what you really want from life.
“Don’t fear death, fear the un-lived life.”
– Natalie Babbitt
5. Goals can keep you from wasting your time on other things.
My husband loves video games. Most of the games he plays have the main storyline along with little side quests. As he’s been playing through his current game, he’s had some days where all of the playings have only contributed to these side quests, leaving him with no progress toward the main storyline.
We often do the same thing in life. We get distracted with “side quests” that don’t help us make any progress toward the goals we’ve set. Without clear goals, it’s easy to spend time on things that don’t actually matter.
Now don’t get me wrong: it’s good to have leisure time to do things that are fun. But it’s still important to spend a significant chunk of your time working toward things that matter to you.
If you find yourself losing hours of time on social media, watching TV, or playing games on your phone, you might need to refocus some of your energy on your goals. Good goals can keep you from losing hours, days, and even weeks on things that don’t matter.
“Many people make the mistake of saving money by wasting time.”
– J.R. Rim
6. Goals force us to take action.
One very important part of goal setting is creating a timeline and a deadline for your goal. Without deadlines, we often let things slip lower and lower on our to-do lists. When we don’t set deadlines, some things just don’t get done.
Even if your “deadline” is to spend a couple of hours of work on something each week, you’ll still move yourself closer to your goal.
For example, right now I am working on writing my first book. A book is a huge undertaking! To be completely honest, I’m not entirely certain how long it will take. Yet I’ve set up a schedule to try to fit in a couple of hours of writing each week, with an overall goal of completing my book within a year.
Setting that deadline (and having a friend hold me accountable) forces me to take action every day.
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
– Thomas Jefferson
7. Goals, when met, are cause for celebration.
Who doesn’t like to celebrate? Setting goals can be important because of the sense of accomplishment you’ll get when you meet your goal.
Since I was about fifteen, I’ve wanted to get a Master’s degree from a specific school. My mentor attended the school, and the dream was born in my heart. I worked hard during my undergrad and worked hard on my Master’s degree.
It took four years to complete the requirements for that degree alone, and the sense of accomplishment when I completed that this past spring was unbelievable.
The best part about meeting your goals is not just the sense of accomplishment you’ll get when you complete them. When you create and meet bigger goals, you see exactly what you can do. When you see what you’re capable of, you have a greater sense of what goals you can meet in the future.
Meeting goals can help motivate you to meet bigger and greater goals in the future. The excitement you get for meeting your last goal can help fuel your motivation. That increased motivation can help push you to the next big thing in your life.
“Take advantage of each small success. In this way you close the gap between what you want from life and what it is giving you.”
– Deepak Chopra
Goals are important. When you regularly set and meet goals, you can radically change the direction of your life. Goals can help you focus and stay motivated while giving you clear insight into your progress. They can help you focus and look past distractions.
When you set good goals, you can get a real sense of what you want from life. And when you finally meet your goals, you’ll get a sense of what you’re really capable of doing.
What are you waiting for? Go set some goals!