The Unspoken Goal Setting Problem

Why You Need Goals and How to Choose the Right Ones

 

Goal-setting is a powerful way to enhance our well-being and improve the trajectory of our lives. When we don't establish clear goals, we resign ourselves to a passive existence where we become instruments to help serve the goals of others. If you've had a hard time establishing or sticking to goals, these tips can set you up for success.

 

Recognize the importance of goals. Research has shown that people tend to experience greater success when they establish goals. It's not enough to have a general sense of what you want out of life; you need to clearly identify a specific goal and make an action plan.

 

Set goals that will motivate you. It's important to establish goals that will drive you. Be sure your goal has value and will continue to be important to you as time goes by. If you start to lose interest in the outcome, you aren't likely to stay committed. Likewise, if your goal is irrelevant to the larger picture of your life, you probably won't put in the work it takes to achieve it.

 

Focus on goals that relate to the major priorities in your life. To ensure that your goal is motivating, write down why it is important and valuable to you. Then ask yourself how you might convince someone else that the goal is worthwhile. Goal achievement requires commitment; if you have trouble identifying the value in a specific goal, it may be a sign it isn't right for you.

 

Take the SMART approach. To achieve your goal, you will need more than a can-do attitude. Research has shown that people are much more likely to achieve goals that are:

 

S - Specific or significant

M - Measurable or meaningful

A - Attainable or action-oriented

R - Relevant or rewarding

T - Trackable or time-bound

 

By taking the SMART approach to goal-setting, you can significantly increase your chances of success. You can also use the SMART approach to identify meaningful goals that will actually make a positive difference in your life. For more information on effective goal-setting, read over this informative feature on SMART goal-setting from Foundations Counseling.

 

Be realistic. When we are especially motivated, it's easy to believe we can climb the highest mountains. In real life, however, it takes time and dedication to achieve important goals. As the months or years stretch on, it's easy to lose your motivation, especially if you choose goals that aren't practical or don't fit your life. To give yourself the best possible chance for success, consider these effective steps toward choosing realistic goals.

 

Tell the world. If you write your goal down or share your intentions with others, you will be more likely to commit to its success. Not only does this make you feel more accountable, it makes the goal seem more tangible and realistic. It can also help to work with a therapist or life coach to identify SMART, achievable goals and create an action plan that will set you up for success.

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