Many people just assume that effective and successful people always set goals. If this is an assumption that you have made, please put it aside for a moment. Consider how such an assumption might sabotage your ability to realize your dreams. Too many people who set goals and begin to work on them do not complete them. For example, those who make New Year’s Resolutions – which are goals – often never attain them.
Setting goals is not a requirement for being an effective and successful person. If you feel driven to set goals because you ’should,’ then you diminish your view of yourself as an effective and successful person each time you don’t achieve your goals. Instead, we would like to recommend that you view goal-setting as a technique to assist you in 3 areas:
1. Setting goals helps you define what you want in your life. It does so in clear, concrete, and simple language. Nothing is as useful in determining exactly what you want, and creating a picture of the outcomes in your mind, as the technique of setting goals.
2. Once you have defined the outcomes you want, it’s much easier to design relevant action steps, through the technique of setting goals, to achieve those outcomes. Setting goals clearly defines your destination and enables you to design action steps that point you in the right direction. You can look at your desired outcomes and measure exactly how well each action step you devise moves you closer to what you want to accomplish.
3. Setting goals introduces two states of mind that can improve your life, whether you achieve your objectives or not. These two states of mind are “awareness” and “flexibility”. We’ll explore “awareness” today.
Too many people seem to go through life never fully aware of what they want or could have achieved, until it’s too late. Setting goals provides a framework that encourages awareness. Daily, you can look at your goals and consider how you are living your life.
You can become aware of whether or not your life choices are bringing you closer to your objectives. Without that awareness, it is easy to settle for routine rather than choice. As you can see, if you think of setting goals as a technique rather than an obligation, the entire process changes.© Copyright 2009 Paula Eder, Ph.D.