I bet that you have heard the word “goal setting” countless of times in your lifetime. But what exactly is goal setting? And how can it impact your life? Does it really work? Well, you are about to discover the secrets of setting goals in this article.
Goal setting is both the most overrated and underestimated method in achieving what we want in life.
It is overrated because people talk about it too lightly. They treat goal setting as a promise. And all they do is to either think about their goals or to write them down as according to what most experts suggest.
The problem is that by merely writing down your goals are not going to help you in reaching your goals. If you are not doing anything, trust me, your goals will never become a reality.
It is also underrated because a lot of people neglect its powerfulness due to its simplicity. Do not take goal setting as something lightly.
If you are serious and truly committed to your goals, you will achieve them. On the other hand, if you treat them lightly like nobody’s business, you will fail to achieve them.
So what is goal setting?
In my opinion, goal setting is the process of identifying the things or the results that you want to achieve in your life, be it in your career or personal life, within a determined timeframe.
In short, goal setting is the act of finding out what you truly want to achieve in your life. It can be a relationship goal, a financial goal, a career goal, a fitness goal, etc.
Goal Setting is Intention-Setting
When you set goals, you are giving orders to yourself. You are telling yourself what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there.
This means that you are living an intentional life. Meaning, when you have clear and specific goals, you can live your life with intention. You know what to do and when to do.
For example, if you have no goals and no plans over the weekend, highly likely, you will sleep longer hours and wake up late. And you may spend your time responsively according to what comes to you during that time.
When your friends ask you for a drink, you may agree because you have no plan and are free.
Now, imagine if you have a crystal clear goal to accomplish on the weekend. Let’s say that you want to write a 3,000 words article to publish on your blog.
On Friday night, you set your alarm to wake up early because you need to work on your article. In the morning, when your friends call you out for a drink, there is a possibility that you are going to reject them because you have something to do.
Can you see the difference right now?
The differences between living life responsively without clear and specific goals and living life with crystal clear goals are huge.
When you have no goals and no plans, you become reactive. You go through your life according to what happens at the moment.
On the contrary, when you have clear goals and plans, you become proactive. You know what you need to do, when to do it, and thus, you live life according to your own terms.
In short, goal setting is about setting your intention. You are living an intention-focused life when you know what you want to achieve.
Of course, knowing and doing are 2 different things.
Most people have crystal clear goals, but still, they choose not to act on their goals and live a directionless life.
What I want to tell you is that goal setting may or may not determine your success in life, but it is the fundamental and the first step to living an extraordinary life.
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Why It is a Good Idea to Set Goals
You may have heard about the 1953 Yale University study on goal setting. The study said that the 3% of graduates with written goals achieved far more and earned a combined income of 3 times more than the 97% of graduates who did not write down any goal.
As much as I want to tell you that goal setting is powerful because of this study, but the truth is that this study did not exist.
Fast Company published an article some time ago and stated that the Yale University study about goal setting did not exist.
So does this mean that goal setting does not work in helping you to achieve what you want in your career and life?
No, the study only shows that the 1953 Yale University study did not exist, not that goal setting did not work.
We all know that goal setting is one of the most powerful methods that we can use to achieve outstanding success in life, and Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor from Dominican’s Department of Psychology has proved this.
Dr. Gail Matthews recruited 267 participants from a wide variety of businesses, networking groups and organizations from all over the world for a study on how goal achievement influenced by writing the goals, committing to the goals, and accountability for those actions.
You can read the full study from this article here.
Here’s how Dr. Matthews carried out her research. She assigned her participants to one of the following 5 groups:
Group #1 – Those who were in this group were asked to simply think about business-related goals they hope to achieve within a 4-week period and then rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, and other measures.
Group #2 to group #5 were asked to write down their goals and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to group #1.
Group #3 was asked to write down their goals and also write down action commitments for each goal.
Group #4 has to write down their goals, action commitments, and also share the commitments with a friend.
And group #5 were asked to do everything from group #1 to group #4, plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.
And here’s what Dr. Matthews discovered from the study:
“At the end of the study, only 43% of Group 1 either accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there. 62% of Group 4 accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there. However, 76% of those in Group 5 either accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there.”
76% of the participants in group #5 achieved their goals. Meaning, when you write down your goals, action commitments, share them with a friend and also commit to sending a weekly progress report to your friend, your chances of reaching your goals will be much higher.
Therefore, as you can see now, goal setting works. It is just a method of how you approach it.
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How Goal Setting Can Impact Your Life
Like I said, you may have underestimated the power of goal setting and never thought about how it can affect your life.
Even when you don’t reach all your goals, they can still enrich your life in many ways. Goals are like lighthouses that not only show directions to ships in the dark, but also prevent the ships from hitting rocks and grounds underneath the water.
When you have clear goals to achieve, you crafted your own life. Not only that, your goals can also serve as a reminder of what NOT TO DO so that you will never fall into the mediocrity trap.
Below are the 7 reasons how goal setting can impact, change, and transform your life for the better:
1. Living life with a clear direction
This is common sense. When you have a goal, you know what to do. Your goals give you direction in life. They give you the aim and tell you where to direct your efforts.
When it comes to making decisions, you know how to decide because you know what you want and how to get there.
Not only that, goals give you a sense of purpose in life.
Think about it, why do you go to work or wake up in the morning? If you say that you go to work because of your salary, you are right. It means that your goal is income and you pursue money and that’s why you go to work.
However, for many successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson, their aims are not just money. Money is not their priority. They choose to work because they love what they do and they want to fulfill their dreams of creating and leaving something remarkable behind.
This is why most people hate to go to work because they are working for money rather than their passion. They quickly lose their motivation when the money isn’t their priority anymore.
Hence, set goals that you truly want, not due to your life circumstances or what others want for you.
Goals give your life a clear direction, a sense of purpose, and also help you when it comes to making decisions.
“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”
– Les Brown
2. The key to creating remarkable success
Goal setting is the key to creating and producing remarkable success. Without having a clear goal, there is no way you can create outstanding success in life.
It is only when you know exactly what you want that you can work productively toward it.
How can you know if you are working on the right thing or if you are making progress when you don’t know what you want, right?
And when you have a goal, you can measure your progress, understand if what you do is right, and able to make adjustments to reach your goal.
This is why you need to have a goal in order to be successful.
3. Gives you better chances of living the future you desire
Setting goals give you a glimpse of the future that you want. Without goals, you will live life like a lost sheep, going where the crowd is going and drift aimlessly.
When you have a clear goal, you are able to come up with a plan and identify the actions you need to take to get there.
In other words, setting goals give you more control over where you are headed and how you get there. You are taking control of your life instead of letting others decide for you. You are creating the future that you want.
For instance, if you set a goal to build a successful blog, all your actions and how you live your life each day will change. You spend more time creating contents. You spend more time learning and reading materials to reach your goals. Even when you talk, your topics can be about blogging and not just anything.
“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.”
– Jim Rohn
4. Goals can motivate you
You may already know about this, goals give you motivation. When you have a goal, it gives you hope and something to aspire to.
If your goals are what you truly desire in life and they are exciting, simply thinking about them inspire you and drive you into taking action.
Imagine you are living your dream life right now that you have accomplished all your major goals. Perhaps, you are a millionaire and never have to worry about money or not having enough money to pay bills anymore. Perhaps, you are already driving your dream car and living in a big bungalow by the beach happily with your wife and kids. Perhaps, what you want is just to make enough passive income so that you can travel the world and you are already doing that.
When you think about achieving those goals, it makes you pump up and motivates you.
This is why goals are important. It can alter your mood and transform your life. Your goals don’t just serve as a lighthouse to show you direction in life, but also give you constant motivation and maintain your momentum.
“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals, that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
– Tony Robbins
5. Gives you a sense of personal satisfaction
Goals can make your life challenging, especially when you set big goals. However, they also give you a sense of personal satisfaction as you work and make progress toward them.
Setting goals help you understand your capabilities and potential. Goals tell you your weaknesses and where you need to improve when you are not producing the results you want.
Not just that, goals improve and increase your level of confidence. When you are making progress and taking actions, you feel good because you know that you are doing the right thing and are slowly moving toward your goals.
You can never tell how much potential you have until you do. And setting goals is the first step in understanding yourself better.
We have seen ordinary people went on to achieve extraordinary results in life because they have big goals and they trust their capabilities. You too, can achieve amazing success in life when you choose to believe in your own potential that you can do it. But you must start with identifying your goals.
6. Improves your focus
Another great benefit and impact that goals have on your life is that they improve your focus.
When you set goals, write them down, create actions plan to achieve them, and share your progress with other people, you are telling yourself that these are important things in your life. Your goals give you a clear focus on what you believe is important in life.
Your life will be different because you organize your life around your goals rather than the other way round.
People who go through life without a clear goal live life according to what comes to them and are often affected by their surroundings. They let their surroundings to change them.
Things will be totally opposite when you have clear and specific goals. You organize your life around your goals. You change your environment because you have goals and you understand what you need to do.
When you have a goal, you will not be affected by your surroundings, instead, you will be the one to shape your surroundings.
You can apply the 80/20 Rule ONLY when you have a goal. Without a goal, there is no way you can focus and do what is important.
“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals.”
– Og Mandino
7. Goals increase your performance
Another huge impact that goals can have on your life is self-mastery. Goals allow you to improve your performance and build better characters.
When you involve in the process of achieving your goals, you discipline yourself to do what is necessary, you learn to overcome the difficulties in the journey, and as a result, you learn to become a better person with better characters and habits.
For instance, when you set a goal to build a successful internet business, along the journey, you are developing your skills and knowledge about internet marketing and everything that involves. Your goals develop you to become the person who you want to be.
Arnold Schwarzenegger sets a goal to become the best bodybuilder in the world, he did, and he also successfully built a bulky and macho body on his way to his goal.
When you play games, you level up your characters because you want to beat the boss and beat the game. You grow your characters in the game to a higher level.
And the same is true in real life.
When you set a goal and make progress to achieve it, you increase your performance, become better at doing it, and develop a stronger character.
Hence, setting goals promotes self-mastery.
I bet that now you understand what is goal setting and how it can impact your life.
Remember that goal setting is actually about living an intentional life. When you have a clear intention, you become proactive rather than reactive.
There are many ways how setting goals can change your life, and they are:
- Goals give you a clear direction and a sense of purpose in life.
- Setting goals is the first step to creating a remarkable success in life.
- Goals give you better chances of living the future you desire.
- Goals motivate and inspire you.
- Goals give you a sense of personal satisfaction.
- Goals help you focus better on getting what you want.
- Goals promote self-mastery and improve your performance.
So what are you waiting for? Set goals that help you live your dream life right now.
[callout]If you are curious and wonder how I set my goals and what I do to achieve them, allow me to share the secret with you. I learn it from the successful entrepreneur and personal development guru, John Assaraf. Watch this video HERE and learn from him too.[/callout]