While time, money and satisfaction provide great motivation for setting goals, there are at least 5 practical reasons for executives, managers and others in corporate life to set goals.
#1. Goals keep you focused
GOAL SETTING is used widely by top-level athletes, successful business-people and entrepreneurs and high achievers in all fields for precisely this reason – focus!
Goals act as reminders, incentives or as steps that can assist you in doing the things you want to do. Goals enable you to be in control of where you are going. The process of setting goals and targets for your career allows you to stay focused on reaching your main objective (and focus on what education, skills, promotion or experience you need to acquire to succeed). By reflecting on and then recording exactly what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on to do it.
Goal setting can also be a more formal process for career and personal planning. For example you can create sub-goals and tasks under different areas of the larger goals. You can also create short, medium and long term goals. Once you have stated and recorded your goals, you can break them down into the smaller targets and tasks that will take you, step-by-step, towards your long term goals.
“People with goals succeed because they know where
they are going – it’s a simple as that …”
Earl Nightingale (Entertainer/Broadcaster)
#2. Goals avoid distractions
GOALS enable you to separate what is important from what is irrelevant. Goal setting helps you work out what not to concentrate on, what decisions to choose in relation to your career and keeps you focused away from distractions.
Technological has created a culture where the office never closes. We spend a lot of time each day reacting to email, text and social media. It can feel like running on the spot without getting ahead, and frequently feels that we are not in charge. It’s easy to get sidetracked. When we set goals, we are doing the driving. We get to choose where we want to go in life, and how we spend our time during the day. Goal setting prevents us from getting lost, allows us to take a time out to refocus.
“If you don't know where you are going,
you'll end up someplace else”.
Yogi Berra (Hall of Fame Baseball player)
#3. Goals build self-confidence.
SELF confidence in whatever you do is a real asset. Achieving goals builds self-confidence (something critical during the job searching process by the way and important because many organisations place a high value on confidence and communication).
Conversely, if we don’t reach our goals, it feels like failure. Fear of failure is one of the main reasons why most people avoid setting goals. However, when we don’t set any goals the message we convey (to ourselves and others) is that we are leaving our life to chance – or manipulation by others. Without goals, you risk fulfilling your potential and making a real difference in the outside world.
The first step in goal setting is psychological and involves finding the courage to decide that you want more than you have right now. When you set goals you are telling yourself, “there is more to life than where I am”. Attaining even modest goals means you reach higher levels of personal satisfaction (and by association maximize your rewards).
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
Sir Edmund Hillary (Climber/Mountaineer)
#4. Goals foster personal growth
GOALS push you outside your comfort zone, which is when real growth occurs. Without a dream (of something better, or merely attempting something that is hard to accomplish), you probably won’t have too much in life. No stretch!! So the dream comes first. Think of your dream as a long term vision. Setting goals gives meaning to your long-term vision. It focuses your learning and helps you to organise your resources –and especially how you spent your time – and provides short term motivation.
Whenever you achieve something worthwhile you have most likely realised a goal – whether conscious of it or not! Achieving a goal, creates energy. Reaching goals also makes you feel productive. So setting and achieving goals not only helps you look and move forward, it gives hope, optimism and meaning to life (and work). Goal setting also helps to define what you really want out of life – what is really important to you, personally. Goals give direction and purpose; setting goals allows us to dream. By writing down your goals associated to your dreams and aspirations, you are saying, “These things are my priorities; this is what I want to be; here is where I want to go; here is how I will get there.”
Working at personal and professional goals allows us to use our imagination and creativity to turn these dreams to reality by doing things and achieving milestones we might never have otherwise attempted!
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream
with a plan and a deadline”
Harvey Mackay – (Entrepreneur/Speaker)
#5. Goals provide work and life balance
LIFE is like a bicycle wheel – it is supported by many spokes. Each spoke is a goal and to make the wheel go around smoothly, you need to have goals in a number of areas. Your wheel must be balanced. To give a broad, balanced coverage to all important areas in your life, it is necessary to set goals in some or all major aspects of your life. Ideally you can work on 3 or 4 of these at any point in time and keep the wheel turning. These areas can include: health, career, learning, family, finances, attitudes, relationships, spiritual, charitable or public service, friendships, recreation, romance, adventure, travel, fun, and more.
At a deeper level your goals need to be in tune with who you are and what you stand for and focus on areas that are important to you right now (these will vary over a lifetime). If you are not doing that, it is likely you could lose interest and become one of the 80% of people who it is estimated simply don’t have any goals at all.
To help set your goals – and recognise which are important - you also need to understand your core values, your key interests, your personality traits and strengths, and your skills and abilities (but this is a whole other conversation for another time). Contact us for more detail if you are interested in a template for this (see contact details).
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal,
not to people or things.”