Set Goals and Measure Progress
Friday, November 22, 2013
Self-help books, psychologists, successful self-starters and millionaires tell us about the importance of setting goals, but research shows that fewer than 4% of people set goals for themselves. If so many people seem to manage without them, then why are they said to be so important?
The Importance of Setting Goals:
- Setting a goal places us in control of where our lies go, rather than leaving it up to circumstances, our bosses, our bills or something else. So if you want to be and feel in control, rather than being and feeling like a pawn of circumstance, perhaps setting goals might help.
- People who are in control of their lives through setting goals are happier than those who see life as a series of random events that happens to them. This is because a life where we aim at a preferred outcome is more meaningful and hopeful than one in which we are victims of random events.
- Setting a goal places us in the position to know what people, information and skills we need to move forward. We can then take action to place ourselves in contact with those things. Without a goal, we don't even know what "going forward" means; let alone what we need for it.
- Once we have set goals, we know what is important and we can prioritize it. We can then do the thing that is important in relation to our goal, rather than answering phone calls or emails just because the ringing noise creates the impression of urgency.
- Setting a goal focuses our attention on what we are trying to achieve. The more we think about something, the more important it becomes in our lives. We all know how our problems seem to get bigger if we think about them all the time. Similarly, thinking of our goals constantly makes it more likely that we will achieve them.
- Goals create energy. It's the fuel that propels us forward. Without goals we leisurely float from one place to the next.
Goal setting alone is not enough, however. We have to formulate a plan of action to achieve our goals. Otherwise we only know our preferred destination, but not the method we will use to reach it. This is the point where measuring our progress becomes important.
The Importance of Measuring Progress towards our Goals:
- If one plan of action does not lead us to our goal, then we need to change it until we find one that does. For example, if a diet alone does not help you to lose weight, then you have to supplement it with something else. If you continue to do the things that have always failed, you will continue to achieve minimal results and your goal will remain a distant dream.
- If we monitor our progress, we can test different courses of action against each other to find the one that works the best or the fastest.
- Success breeds success. Measuring your outcomes will allow you to record your successes, which will energize and motivate you. This can set you up for future success.
If you have ever set a tough goal and achieved it, then you know the feeling that you can have upon reaching goals. Remember that feeling and strive for it the next time you set a goal. Good luck!