The Importance of Goals and Goal Setting
To Achieve Your Goals, Get SMART
You don’t need a new year to set and achieve new goals, but the psychological fresh start is undeniably helpful. It’s a prime opportunity to reflect on the importance of goals and to set your intentions.
These goals need to be realistic, though. If you’re recovering from psychological trauma or other issues it’s especially important. With that in mind, let’s explore how to best set goals for yourself so that you can take an action-oriented approach to the new year.
Why do I need to set goals?
You might be wondering why goal setting is important, and it’s a fair question.
Whenever you plan for the future, you’re essentially setting goals for yourself. A goal doesn’t have to be big and life-changing to be important and worthwhile!
Goal setting is important, and here’s why
Setting goals helps you focus your mental energy and effort. Without a clear goal in mind you’re more likely to become aimless and distracted.
If done properly, goal-setting also gives you a means of tracking and measuring progress. You can’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t take into consideration where you started, after all.
And, perhaps most importantly, goals motivate and inspire. They give you something to work toward and the sense of satisfaction you’ll feel after meeting a particular goal feels nothing short of amazing.
How to set SMART goals
If you want to achieve your goals you’ll have to do more than say, “I want to do this thing.” There’s a method behind reaching your goals, and it all begins with SMART goal setting:
S - Specific or Significant
M - Measurable or Meaningful
A - Attainable or Action-Oriented
R - Relevant or Rewarding
T - Trackable or Time-bound
It’s easy to see how a goal like “lose weight” isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you might say, “I will lose 5 pounds over the next 3 months by doing cardio at the gym 3 times per week.”
So, when setting your goals, get specific! You should also think about the reasons behind your goals. Try asking yourself questions like:
Why does this goal matter to me?
How will reaching this goal improve my life, happiness, or overall well-being?
What are some roadblocks I might encounter?
Are there any habits that might hinder my success, like a tendency to procrastinate, or something else?
Do I need outside help to reach my goals?
Which goals are highest priority in my life? Will some goals have more of a positive impact on me than others?
Am I truly willing to put in the needed work to achieve this goal?
Questioning your intentions will help you set SMARTer goals. You might even discover that you need to start small and work your way up toward your ultimate goal. For example, finding ways to cope with anxiety might be a big life goal. How can you break that down into smaller, more manageable pieces?
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Approach your goal-setting with that mindset, use the tips we’ve talked about today, and watch yourself succeed.