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The Many Benefits of Setting Goals

By Edited Nov 17, 2016 2 7

Years ago, I had a boss that insisted that all employees of the company write their goals every day of the week. New employees were even required to leave her a voice mail daily to let her know what their goals for the day consisted of.

As a new employee, I thought she was at least a little nutty, and I spent the majority of my "goal-writing" time thinking of goals that she would approve of as opposed to, "Find a way to sneak out of the office at 3:30 this afternoon without anyone noticing."

After working for this woman for a year or so, I happened to be out of town with her at a conference. After a few drinks one evening I got up my courage and asked her what the deal was with the nonstop goal writing. Thankfully she'd had a few drinks as well or I would have likely been fired on the spot - she was not the kind of boss that appreciated being questioned...about anything!

I won't repeat her whole response here, but it made sense. What I realized, through the haze of a few vodka tonics, was that my writing goals to please her was getting me nowhere. However, if I wrote goals that were important to me, the results just might surprise me.

After that, I began writing my goals in earnest. I took the time to really think about what I wanted that week, month, year, and even five and ten years down the road. The results have been astonishing. Here's what I've learned:

First, until you take the time to really think about what you want out of life, chances are that you don't know. Sure, it's easy to say that you'd like to be rich. But what constitutes rich? To be rich, would you make $100,000 a year? $200,000? The first benefit of writing goals is that it allows you to define exactly what it is that you want. If you don't know where you are going it's awfully hard to get there.

The next step in setting goals is to write them down so that you can look at them often. This single act has been life-changing for me. There's no real magic in writing down your goals. I'm not naive enough to think that the writing of them has special powers. However, when you write them, it's almost like creating a contract with yourself. When you create this contract with yourself, you feel compelled to meet the terms that you've set for yourself. The benefit here is that, once your goals are written, you have the ability to look at them at any time. You can check your progress and use them to motivate you.

However, simply writing where you want to be or what you want to have five years from now isn't going to be enough. I've heard it said that a goal without a plan is just a dream. Don't be a dreamer - create a plan to reach your goal. For example, if you goal is to be earning $100,000 a year in passive income in 3 years - you've got to have a plan to meet that goal. Are you going to build a website? Blog? Write an ebook? Write for other content sites? Break your goal down into small manageable steps that you can work on each day.

The benefit of breaking your goal into smaller steps is two-fold. First, you're more likely to accomplish it when you take the time to break it into steps. Second, as you go through each day, you can confirm that the things that you are doing are directly related to your goal. Let's go back to the making $100,000 a year in passive income goal that I wrote about earlier. If your steps include building a website, and you find yourself spending your entire evening surfing the internet, a quick look at the steps needed to achieve your goal and you'll be reminded of what you should be doing. In short, writing your goal and how you'll achieve it helps to keep you on track.

If you're still reading, it's time to get out a notebook a pen and a notebook and start writing your goals. Don't limit yourself to what you think that you can accomplish, write your wildest dreams and then figure out a way to achieve them. Consistent goal-writing can help you to define what you want. When you write them down you create a contract with yourself that you will want to honor. Finally, breaking them into specific actions allows you to take steps to achieve them. And you will achieve them if you are willing to put in the work required to get there!



Jul 28, 2009 9:28am
Yes,setting goal for self,is a good motivational technique; when it is put down in paper,it helps us to say focussed and committed to the goal; it is the sure way to success/realisation of the goal...
Aug 28, 2009 5:33pm
Great article.
Oct 17, 2010 2:50am
Fortunately my boss not like that. I dont think I can survive working for her.
Feb 24, 2011 12:09pm
I think the importance of goal setting comes back to thinking big, but acting small on a consistent basis in order to reach that goal.
Mar 11, 2011 6:17pm
I really enjoyed this article. Goals can be set for anything, and they can be met.
I have found, for myself, that living in the minute, had to be a goal as well.
We spend so much time looking forward, that we fail to see the revelation of the very minute we are in.
Sometimes, living in the minute, will actually lead us to the goal that we set because we are more focused when we reach our destination.
Blessings to the Writer.
Apr 12, 2012 5:39am
When you set goals, write them down, and rewrite them every day it always amazes me how 'lucky' things happen to help accomplish them. An old friend calls, you see an advert in the paper, you hear something on the radio.Try it out for yourself.
Jul 15, 2012 10:12am
Thanks for your article. Just what I needed.
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