When you hear the words goal setting, do you groan?! In the target-driven culture we live in today, it seems we are always being asked to set goals and evaluate our effectiveness towards achieving them. How many dull work meetings seem to focus on this topic? I get it, we can get pretty tired of always having to constantly put ourselves out there to achieve and then often feeling bad about ourselves when we haven’t reached the mark.
That’s why there is an art to goal setting. And there is a real difference between the kind of goal setting that we might actually like and the kind which we loathe. The difference is that the goals are our own, not enforced upon us, and that we are kind to ourselves in working towards them.
Why Set Goals?
If you feel like you are in a place where you are just going through the motions and letting things happen to you, it might be time to take control of your life. This is where setting goals comes in handy, whether they are small, medium or large goals, or a mix of all three.
Setting goals is not just good for success and moving forward in your life, but essential to your overall health and wellness.
Use Goals to Help You See Your Mission
When you have a goal that you’re trying to reach, it’s extremely important that you have a clearly defined idea of what you want, because having a vague shadow of what you’re going for will make it difficult to determine what kinds of steps that you’ll need to take.
It would be a good idea to write them all down so you can look at the list and make definite choices about which one are going to be taking the majority of your attention in the next few months or years.
If you are looking for a structured journal that has a section for tracking goals, check out the Happy Camper, it’s great fun!
Choose the Best Time to Set Your Goals
When you do this, it should be on a day where you don’t have a ton of prior engagements. In fact, it might even be better if you carried out this process on a day where you completely and actively avoid interacting with others, or absorbing any kind of media through electronic devices.
This will let you be alone with your thoughts so you can make choices without the influence of other people. That way, you can be sure that these are the things that care for your mental wellbeing, and that none of it is coming from some drive to please others.
Use Goal Setting to Identify What is Working for You and What Isn’t
Most people feel the need to be busy to keep themselves distracted from unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Some people use this drive to turn to avoidance through substances, while many others simply absorb themselves in useless pursuits like gossip about others, obsessing over unhealthy situations, continuously moving from unfinished task to unfinished task and so on.
One of the first things that you begin to notice about taking a few moments to organize and prioritize your goals, is that you’ll make a massive improvement in how you utilize your time.
Having an order and rank to your goals helps you to pinpoint what kinds of actions in a day are wasting your time. After you’ve removed the kinds of deviations from the path that you’ve chosen to follow, you’ll naturally align yourself with the thrust that pushes you towards the things you want.
As you can see, setting goals can really be quite fun and really useful. Try and break the associations with stress and targets at work and personalize your own goal setting. It’s an ongoing project and there’s no rush or pressure as long as you don’t put it on yourself! Once you get started, I would wager you’ll want to carry on; it can get quite addictive (in a good way!)