Discover 10 things about goals that will propel your success. Plus, get a free goal planner to help you achieve your goals.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend who told me that she just never sets New Years resolutions anymore because they don’t work. Almost as if a New Years resolution were kind of penny wish that you drop into a wall and you hope that it will come true.
It made me stop and think because goals are really good for your life. I found this just through the personal experience of living for quite a long time never setting any goals in my life. And then setting goals and the difference has been astounding.
And so I wanted to share today 10 things that you need to know about goals and how they can really benefit your life. Also, be sure to grab the free goal planner from our stationery brand Paper Me Pretty here:
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1. Goals need to be written
The reason why I say this is because when a goal is right written down, you have a greater likelihood of achieving that goal, just from the fact of it being written down. Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University did a study on groups of people to do with goals. And the groups of people who wrote their goals down had a greater achievement rate than those who didn’t.
In fact, they were 42% more successful at achieving their goals than those who didn’t write their goals down at all. That’s just crazy! That’s almost half!
If you can increase your ability to achieve your goal by almost half, just by writing it down, you bet your bottom dollar, I’d be writing my goals down all the time! I wouldn’t just put my goals out there by saying them, and then hope that they would come about. I don’t think you’re giving your goals the best chance of success if you do that.
So your goals need to be written. That’s number one.
2. Goals are not dreams, wishes, or even resolutions
Now, I know, towards the end of the year, or the beginning of the new year on January 1, everybody is beginning to set resolutions for the year ahead. But the reason why I think my friend said she doesn’t set goals is that she’s set resolutions in the past, and they haven’t come about. And that’s because a goal is not the same thing as a resolution, they’re completely different things.
A goal is like a battle plan for achieving an outcome. A resolution is a statement of what you want. You may be resolving to do something, but until you put it down on paper (tip number one), and until you have a plan of getting there, your resolution isn’t yet a goal. It’s a resolution. It’s a declaration of what you want. But it’s not yet a goal. And that’s why resolutions are not goals.
It’s also the same reason why dreams and wishes are not goals. Because dreams and wishes don’t have action plans, backing them up, to turn them into actionable goals. And that’s what you want. You want an actionable goal.
3. It directs your daily planning
If you have a goal, and it’s actionable in the sense that you can see the actions that you need to take to move toward that goal, those actions would direct what you do throughout your week. If one of your goals is to jog a mile three days a week, then you know that in the next couple of days at least, you’ll want to jog a mile. Or you’re going to do an action that relates to your jogging goal.
Because you can see the actions that are needed for your goal, you can plan out your days accordingly and your goal should affect your daily planning for your week.
4. Goals give you purpose
When you have a goal in your life, you have something that is directing you in a particular area. And that gives you a lot of purpose in your day. If you know that you’ve got to achieve this goal then it really helps you to wake up in the morning, jump out of bed, and get started. Especially if that goal is something that really excites you. It gives you a purpose.
And that’s really key to your personal happiness. When you have something purposeful and meaningful in your life, you are a lot more happier than somebody who doesn’t.
5. It improves your quality of life
Going back to point number four, because you have a purpose, and you have something that you are working towards in your days, your weeks, and in your months, you have a better quality of life, because you’re forward-looking.
And because you’re forward-looking, that also helps you to become more optimistic, because you are hopeful about your own future. So you improve your quality of life, just by having a goal.
6. It builds your character
Now, if you have ever had goals in the past, or you ever set resolutions and failed to achieve them, you’re not alone. I think everybody who sets goals, fails at their goals.
There’s never been a year where I’ve achieved every single one of my goals. But that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, because the process of going through goals or even failing at goals helps you to build character. That’s because it’s through the process of striving or working towards something (even when you don’t achieve it), and learning from that process, that helps you to build your character. Which is so key to your personal growth and your personal development.
7. It strengthens your critical thinking
Now the way that goals do this is, if you’re setting a goal that is a big goal, chances are you wouldn’t have done it before. And if that’s the case, you need to start getting creative about how you’re going to achieve the end result of that goal.
If it’s a big goal, like writing a book, or taking your family around the world for a whole year, you’re going to need to start thinking creatively about how you’re going to achieve that goal. And that’s why it strengthens your critical thinking because it starts firing off pathways in your brain to get you thinking outside of the box. You’re going to need to do things you’ve never done before. So you’re going to need to think differently.
8. Goals generate happiness
Now, if you’re somebody who’s always failed to achieve resolutions in the past, you’re thinking “No, they don’t! They just cause me complete misery and that’s why I’ve done away with them!”
But the reason why I say they generate happiness is that there have been several studies on happiness. And one of the pervading themes is that happiness is a byproduct of making progress toward a desired outcome.
So it’s the progress that you make in your life that generates happiness in your life. And by setting a goal, you’re actually helping yourself to generate happiness as you make progress toward that goal.
Obviously, happiness is not generated if you just don’t make any progress at all, but happiness is generated as you make progress towards your goal. And that’s why I say generates happiness because it can.
And if you have a growth mindset, which is something that I talked about in a previous post, then you’ll know that even if you have a negative circumstance like you failed to achieve a goal, that is not necessarily a bad thing, you can grow and learn from that and move forward and take your learning forward with you.
9. It builds confidence
This goes back to achieving your goals. So if you have a goal and you have achieved it, it builds your confidence. You might be thinking, “Wow, I accomplished that goal! What else can I do? Maybe I can do something even bigger, even better!”.
And when you achieve something, even if it’s just an action step towards your goal, or a little stepping stone or a milestone towards your bigger goal, just the fact of achieving that generates confidence. And you start something called the Competence Confidence Loop.
This is a psychological term that describes how the more you do something and the better you get at it, the easier or the more likely it is you will achieve it again. Which then cycles around the loop of creating more confidence, enabling you to get better at doing that thing. And then you’ll achieve that thing a lot more. And the cycle continues and grows.
That’s why goals help you to build your confidence as you achieve the actions or the to-do lists related to your goal. Or as you complete the milestones, or even as you complete your goals.
10. Setting goals actually help you to set even bigger goals
When you look at people you admire or the mentors in your life, and you think, “Wow, they’ve done this or that!”, the likelihood is that they didn’t start off achieving that big thing.
For example, Richard Branson didn’t start off with 400 companies. He started off with something a lot smaller. But as he achieved the goals along the way, he set his sights for bigger and bigger goals. And that’s what goals help you do.
When you achieve the goals along the way you can build your confidence and set yourself even bigger goals going forward into the future. And you can achieve amazing things just by completing the goals that you create for yourself along the way.
So I hope you liked these 10 characteristics of goals. If you’d like to get a free goal planner from our stationery brand Paper Me Pretty, grab that from the button below. And let me know in the comments below, which of these 10 points helped you the most.