Goal setting isn’t a new topic. It’s been the subject of an enormous source of research over many years. In Ancient Greek times, Aristotle spoke about goals when he said that living a good life is, in itself, a goal to attain. Yet, what living a good life means is open to debate, and means different things for different people. The important question to ask yourself is, “why is setting goals important to me?” Sure, the start of a new year always increases the pursuit of goals, but what makes goal setting a must-do for all of us? 


Why setting goals is important 

We need goals to function and thrive, as it’s through our goals that we have purpose that fuels our actions, behaviour, and thinking. Without knowing what to strive towards, we’ll feel purposeless and hopeless, and this impacts our satisfaction and well-being. Over time, your goals are broken down into behaviours that, with repetition, become a subconscious routine or habit. New goals are set with intention, which means that we need to build new habits around them. If these habits are either not meaningful, valued, or repeated, the desired goal fades away. It’s through your goals that you grow and move towards self-mastery, and without goals, you’ll feel rudderless and directionless. 


Take something as simple as the festive season. We were all so looking forward to a few quiet days, where we could enjoy our favourite activities. But, after a couple of days, we started to develop a new holiday routine, which consisted of small goals that supported us to organise our day. Then, after another few days or weeks, we weren’t sure what day of the week it was, or started to lose momentum on what to do with our day. We may have even have missed our structured and organised work days, where we felt accomplished and satisfied. It may not have been exactly like that for you, but you get the idea. 


Why we achieve some goals and not others 

If setting goals is so important in our lives, why are we so dismal at it? Two reasons are worth mentioning. The first is our language and mindset around goals. Do we see them as opportunities, or threats? In other words, is it about stopping something to avoid pain, or is it about starting something for the pleasure and enjoyment? An example is whether you want to stop working late to avoid missing out on quality family time, or if you want to start setting boundaries to experience work-life balance. It’s the same goal, but the mindset approach is different. The second thing to consider is if the goal is extrinsically or intrinsically rewarding for you. Have you chosen it because you believe in its value, importance, and enjoyment, or was it forced on you based on a reward, punishment, or feeling guilty? The more you can choose the goal, the greater your success ratio. 


Key take-aways of why setting goals is important 

  • Goals increase life satisfaction and well-being. 
  • Goals drive your behaviour, actions, and decisions. 
  • Goals give you a sense and purpose in life. 
  • Goals support you to grow and develop. 
  • Choose goals that intrinsically motivate and inspire you. 

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

Why is Setting Goals Important To You?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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