You have most likely thought about your professional future and what you would like to achieve in a certain time frame, but have you really defined your goals? We tend to overlook the significance of clear goal-setting, but it truly can make your journey to success more positive and help you reach your destination faster. During this process, you can discover what you exactly want from your career and life, but also find the motivation to help you get there and explore the roads you need to take towards success. I think this quote puts it in a nutshell.
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.Earl Nightingale
In this article, we will go through the importance of setting your goals, as well as the importance of your mindset while setting them. After providing you with the necessary information on different types of goals and how to actually utilize this process, I think the benefits of setting goals will finally show how valuable this can be for your personal, but also very much for your professional growth.
Why Is Setting Goals Important?
All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.Norman Vincent Peale
Setting goals has an undeniable importance in every aspect of life. No matter if your goals pertain to your professional or personal life, the impact of clearly defined goals will be seen in your success, as well as your own well-being. Setting goals is important because it makes you assess yourself and your present situation and provides you with direction and clarity for your future. Overall, it can lead to improvement in your mental health and satisfaction with your work and life relationship, all beginning with the same small steps towards achieving your goals and success.
End Goals vs Means Goals
If you were to look up different types of goals, you’d find many different classifications. Personally, I like the classification of goals into means and end goals and have been using those two for a while now. For those of you who are not familiar with these two, let me give you a bit more details.
There is a tendency to use the term goals in a very broad sense. Someone’s goal might be to finish a report that is due by the end of the week, while another person would say their goal is to be happy in life. This is why we have to differentiate two equally important types of goals before we decide how to set them for ourselves – end goals and means goals.
In line with what was already mentioned, we can look at means goals as directions and end goals as destinations. Means goals are flexible, often short-term goals that help you achieve your end goals. They should be SMART — specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. On the other hand, end goals are more vague, long-term objectives for your life that reflect your values and ideals which you should never compromise for. With this in mind, means goals should be set and adapted according to the already set end goals.
This is where differentiating the two types is crucial. Let’s say a means goal isn’t working out or isn’t getting you closer to the outcome you’ve been anticipating. This can often seem like a failure or you just get caught up with the little things. The ability to recognize this situation and change your means goals will help you avoid this frustration. After all, it only distracts you from getting to a place you wish to be.
What Are the Benefits of Goal Setting?
We have talked about the importance of goals themselves and the ways we set them, but what about the real benefits that are expected after? Well, closely looking at some of the many benefits it offers should help you realize your situation, take action, and achieve your goals.
Clarity & Direction
First of all, setting precise goals enables you to get more clarity and focus towards your desires. This means you get a clear view of what to do next, making it easier to take the first step towards changing your approach to help you on your way. It gives you a direction to focus on, instead of you being unsure of what to spend your time on. With a clear focus, you will have peace of mind knowing that your time is being used efficiently. Meaning, when you clarify your goals, your energy won’t be spent on decision-making, because you will be spending your energy on actively working towards your goals.
Having clear goals gives you something to aspire for, instead of just hoping something will happen eventually. When you start working towards your goals, not only will you get the feeling of accomplishment through the small victories in your path, but the fact that you are getting closer to your desired end keeps you motivated throughout. What’s more, you will realize the importance of setting both your means and end goals. Every small action you take and succeed in continually motivates you and helps you strive.
More Productivity, Less Procrastination
Another benefit is that there will be more time for productivity and, in turn, less procrastinating. According to The State of High Performing Teams, 59% of tech workers see clear goals and expectations as the most important factor contributing to productivity. Time is a very important resource so being able to manage it properly and knowing how to allocate it makes you more efficient. As we mentioned before, when you have a clear direction, there is no reason to take that road. With clear goals that keep you motivated and excited about finishing even the smallest tasks, procrastination won’t be a problem. In case you do still struggle with being productive, I recommend you check out my article on how to get rid of procrastination.
The momentum of your success begins with your excitement when defining your goals and continues to inspire you to continue and persevere. If you write your goals down and take a look at them after some time, seeing your progress will make you see how good of a decision defining them was. Your improvement here refers to both the achievement of the goals themselves and the personal growth that leads you to better decisions and setting future goals.
Commitment & Accountability
Setting goals for yourself makes you feel responsible and accountable, which is obviously important for both your work and personal life. Commitment to achieving your goals means that when you decide you will do something, you stick to it and find a way how, despite all the setbacks that show up along the way. In turn, this makes you an accountable person for yourself, and as importantly, accountable for others in your possible professional endeavors.
Increased Confidence and Satisfaction
Finally, like a domino effect, you will find yourself consistently progressing and improving in your life and career. This opens the door for new systems and behaviors that will sustain the upclimb to satisfaction. You will feel increased confidence when measuring your progress from the beginning with only a list of goals, and then seeing the fruits of your efforts. On an even bigger scale, the end of this process could help you identify a purpose through deep introspection that, in the long run, is needed to achieve this stage of fulfillment in your life.
What’s Important to Keep in Mind When Setting Goals?
Now that we know the difference between means and end goals and the benefits of setting them, let’s talk about some tips you should know on goal setting before you start.
Think About the Emotion
When defining your goals, they will inevitably be tied in with emotions. Whether this is the determination to finally achieve something you have always wanted, the anticipated happiness of getting to your dream outcome, or even excitement about what the future holds for you, it is important to always hold onto these emotions. This emotional investment into your goals is exactly what will push you to strive to achieve them. Additionally, it comes in handy to remind yourself of the positive aspects that await, especially when it seems like your plans are failing or you realize the road to achieving these goals is not as easy as you expected.
Remember Your Why
Another aspect to consider, not only when defining your goals, but also on your way to achieving them, is the reason why you set them for yourself. You should always keep in mind why you set this goal and why it is important for you to achieve it. Tying in with what was said about end goals, they should be in line with your core values and something you believe in. When we believe in something to be a good outcome, we are more likely to take action and achieve it.
Have an Accountability Buddy or Group
It is probably no surprise to hear that being held accountable for your goals influences your results, but it should be pointed out exactly how much this can be beneficial towards success. Having a person or multiple people made aware of your goals increases your chances of achieving them because they offer support to get you there. Being in an accountability group means you are over 80% more likely to reach a goal, meaning that being accountable for a goal to someone else is proven to be very important. These people may be particularly significant during the times when you feel unsure or think about giving up, as they offer encouragement and the motivation you need.
Sometimes this may be a friend or work colleagues, but a lot of the time, it may feel like this isn’t enough to help you overcome the struggles on your journey towards your goals. In this case, it may be time to consider consulting and working with an accountability coach. In case you’re not familiar with accountability coaching, feel free to read my article on what an accountability coach does. Additionally, if you’re a business owner, I recommend you read my article on benefits of accountability coaching for small business owners to get a clearer picture of what you can get out of it.
Time to Set Your Goals
At the end of the day, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider all of the benefits goal-setting can have on your career and life. Now, knowing the basics of different types of goals such as end and means goals and what to keep in mind when defining them, I hope you feel more prepared to dive into assessing and thinking about what’s next for you. Hopefully, it’ll also make you more aware of all the good things a simple change like goal-setting can bring.
Remember, if you have some questions or feel you might need guidance in defining motivational goals for yourself that will drive you to success, feel free to schedule a free chat with me.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy this journey!