Goals are what take us forward in life; they are the oxygen to our dreams. They are the first steps to every journey we take and are also our last. It’s very important that you realize the significance and importance of goal-setting and apply this knowledge in your life.
“Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey
What Is A Goal?
According to Wikipedia the exact definition of a goal is:
“A desired result a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development”.
Many people try to reach goals within a short space of time by setting deadlines. In other words, any planning you do for the future regardless of what it is, is a goal. So the next time you are planning on going to the gym or meeting up with friends after work, always keep in mind that these small tasks account as goals and while seemingly insignificant you are goal setting.
6 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important:
1. Goals Give You Focus
Imagine having to shoot an arrow without being given a target. Where would you aim? And say you did aim at some random thing.
Why would you aim there? And what would the purpose be? Get the idea?
This is a literal example of what life is like without a goal or target in mind. It’s pointless and a waste of energy and effort. You can have all the potential in the world but without focus your abilities and talent are useless.
Not knowing exactly what it is you want to achieve is the fastest route to failure, so it’s vital you sit down and work out what your goals are in detail. These can be anything from getting an extra rep on your bench press or an extra 5kg on the squat.
It’s important to identify your goal because this will determine the type of training you need to do and how often. This means you won’t waste time on sessions that don’t help you get to where you want to be.
Writing it down is usually helpful. Once you’ve done so, place the note somewhere prominent. This is an important psychological step and it not only shows you’re serious about achieving them, it also gets your head in the right frame of mind.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” -Zig Ziglar
2. Be ambitious but realistic
Adding 10kg of lean muscle in six weeks isn’t going to happen. Nor is going from a XXL shirt to a medium over the same space of time. But just as you shouldn’t set the bar too high, it’s just as bad to set it too low. You need your target to be ambitious and challenging; if it’s too easy you’ll achieve it quickly then lose interest in training.
Goals should always be SMART – specific to you, measurable, attainable, realistic and with a timeframe. There is also the importance of health. We all want results fast, but change that happens quickly is not always healthy or sustainable. Trust me when I say this your health is the most important thing you have.
3. Goals Keep You Locked In And Undistracted
By setting goals you give yourself mental boundaries. When you have a certain end point in mind you automatically stay away from certain distractions and stay focused towards the goal. This process happens automatically and subtly but according to research does happen. To get a better idea, an example of this would be, if you have a holiday coming up and you are looking to lose a couple of kg to get into those brand new clothes you have bought. You will stop at nothing to get to this goal. You subconsciously keep away from distractions and your focus remains only on the goal. And by the way if you didn’t know yet this is how you become successful, you set a goal, you lock it in and then give it your 100%.
“One half of knowing what you want, is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” – Sidney Howard
4. Goals Help You Overcome Procrastination
When you set a goal for yourself you make yourself accountable to finish the task. This is in complete contrast with when you do things based off a whim and it doesn’t matter whether you complete them or not. Goals tend to stick in your mind and if not completed they give you a “Shoot! I was supposed to do _____ today!” reminder. These reminders in the back of your head help you to overcome procrastination and laziness. (*But keep in mind that long-term goals actually promote procrastination.
Most people aren’t good with deadliness 3 month away. So whenever you’re given a long term goal, break it down into several short-term goals so you can complete a chunk of the larger long term goal every week or even every day.)
5. Accept the bad days
Willpower alone isn’t always enough to get you through bad days. So you need to accept that you will occasionally slip up. But take this into consideration when setting your initial and weekly goals by factoring in a cheat meal or cheat day in your nutrition plan so you have something to look forward to during those tough sessions.
And there’s nothing wrong with taking an extra day’s rest. If you are really struggling with energy levels or motivation it may be your body’s way of saying it needs more rest. Rest, recuperate and get fitter then hit the gym harder tomorrow.
6. Goals Give You Motivation
The root of all the motivation or inspiration you have ever felt in your entire life are goals. Goal setting provides you the foundation for your drive. By making a goal you give yourself a concrete endpoint to aim for and get excited about. It gives you something to focus on and put 100% of your effort into and this focus is what develops motivation. Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, these can be changed as your priorities change, new ones added, and others dropped.