Why goal-setting is important in lifeChen Wan Lim
Having goals is as important as having a direction in life – in fact, most counsellors and gurus will akin life-goals as life-missions, life-visions and life-focus. Having goals is similar to having a compass. It will show us the true north in life and help us get there. Goals can be broadly classified into three major categories – short term (less than a year), medium term (one to five years) and long term (above five years). Before you start setting proper goals for yourself, keep in mind that goals should be measurable, positive, bounded by time frame and achievable. So now here’s why goal-setting is important in life:
Focus, motivation and drive
Goal-setting allows us to be more focused in our daily actions. With goals, we will start to ask ourselves questions such as, “Will my effort today bring me closer to my medium term goal?” or “What else do I need to do to get me closer to my goal?”. Also, having goals provides us with the necessary motivation and drive to achieve it, especially when things seem to be getting tougher and when we are in need of that additional boost. Because goals give direction to life, we will also be more focused on where we allocate our finite resources such as energy, attention and money. If an action does not bring us closer to that goal, then a change in action plan is needed.
Similar with your key performance index or KPI at work, goals must be measurable. In this respect, goals act as a type of measurement of where we are in life. When we have goals, we can benchmark our progress against what we have set out to do. For example, if you aim to have an MBA by the time you are 30 years old, then you would need to get the necessary pre-requisites ready, adequate financing and also relevant work experience which will allow you to excel in the course. Therefore, having goals allow you to know exactly what needs to be done in a specific time frame.
Having goals can also provide you with accountability. If you are truly committed to your goals, then every decision you make and every action you take will be held accountable towards the success of those goals. From this respect, you will be held accountable to yourself should you fail to take necessary actions to achieve those goals. Then again, you are only truly accountable to yourself.
Life-goals build character. With goals, you will be driven to be the best you can be. You will naturally seek to move out of your comfort zone and you will have the determination and grit to endure the challenges that come your way. Goals are always forward looking without basking in your past successes. Also, goals set should be something achievable but not in any way easy – this is how you push yourself to new heights!
Remember that goals are meaningless without action. Once you have successfully crafted out the goals you want to achieve, you will need to have a conscious effort to take actionable steps to reach them. American business futurist Joel Barker once said that “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world”.