What is one goal you wish you could accomplish? Chances are, you have no problem naming it, so what holds you back from achieving it? Life has a nasty habit of interrupting the best-laid plans, but more often than not, it’s our own minds that get in the way of our goals. We make a litany of excuses for why those goals don’t get checked off our lists, and we become our own worst enemies. Let this be the end of all that.
Why Should You Set Goals For Yourself:
It Gives a Sense of Direction
Taking the time to think about what you want in life gives you a sense of purpose. For example, you could create a 5-year plan based on what you want your life to look like in five years. Having this long-term plan can help you move from just dreaming into actually doing.
It Helps to See the Bigger Picture
Setting goals helps us take a step back and get some perspective on what’s really important in life. It’s the first step toward creating a life full of meaning.
It Provides Motivation
By nature, consciously setting goals gives you something to aspire to. Having a specific goal will motivate you to put your best foot forward.
It Gives You Greater Control of Your Future
Setting goals puts you in the driver’s seat of your life. Just by writing down goals, you are actively acknowledging what you want out of life.
Here are a Few Suggestions — and a Dose of Tough Love — to Help You Reach Your Goals:
1. Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals
Think about what you’re putting off for the “right moment.” What holds you back? What are you afraid of? Write down the worst things that might happen if you fail, suggests investor and author Tim Ferriss. Then think about what you’ll do if they happen and how you could prevent them. Tim calls this “fear-setting,” a practice that can help you break the cycle of self-paralysis. “I can trace all of my biggest wins and biggest disasters averted to fear-setting,” he says.
2. Banish the Word “Fine”
Why are your goals on the back burner? Maybe because of the F-word: “fine,” says motivational speaker Mel Robbins. That dirty word lulls you into thinking that subpar situations — feeling unfulfilled at work, carrying an extra 50 pounds, having a ho-hum relationship — are good enough that you can put off the effort to change them.
Consider this your wake-up call: it’s time to stop settling for “fine” and set your sights on “good” or “great” instead.
3. Approach Your Obstacles with Curiosity
You may find yourself sidetracked at times by a little voice that asks, “Wouldn’t it be more fun to watch Netflix for the next six hours?” That’s not a feeling to fight — it’s a feeling to examine. Curiosity is your best weapon against distraction, says psychiatrist Judson Brewer.
When you find yourself procrastinating, look at what’s going on in your mind. Are you bored? Scared? Frustrated? That insight can help you figure out what you need to resolve to get back on track.
4. Embrace Your Near Wins
Behind every triumph, there are countless near wins — those times when you come close to success but don’t quite get there. Those are valuable, says historian Sarah Lewis. They show you what worked and what you can improve, and they give you a chance to iterate.
“Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constant pursuit,” she says. By embracing your near wins, you can push yourself to attain more than you ever imagined.
5. Reflect and Adjust
Maybe you haven’t achieved your goals in the time frame you wanted to. Maybe your goals were a bit too unrealistic. And that’s ok. Rather than feeling defeated, take time to review your goals and see what you can change. You might need to adjust your goals or maybe just tweak your plan to achieve them.
Personal Goal Setting Tips:
1. Consider Your Passions
Part of the process for how to set life goals should be deciding what inspires you and what your values are. You should be passionate about your goals if you want to achieve them in the long run. Your goals should be meaningful to you and provide you with a sense of pride once you meet them.
2. Set Goals You Can Control
If your goal is based on something outside of your control, you won’t be able to control whether or not you actually achieve it. Your personal goals shouldn’t be dependent on other people. They also shouldn’t be reliant on external factors that you have no control over. Be realistic about what you can and can’t be directly responsible for.
3. Imagine Your Future
Take some time to really think about what you’d like your life to look like. What does your ideal future entail? For example, if you’re setting personal career goals, ask yourself some questions that will point you in the right direction. How much money do you ideally want to earn? Do you want to work for yourself? How many hours do you want to commit to on a daily basis? Even if these questions don’t immediately help you pick a single job, they will certainly make you realize what you don’t want your career goals to be.
Ready to Set Life Goals and Achieve Them?
Now that you know how important goals are, it’s time to take the first step toward setting goals and achieving them. The goal-setting process can help you find purpose and meaning in your life. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Even if you don’t reach all of your goals, just having them written down can provide a deeper sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.