As we move closer and closer to winter 2018, it’s time to start thinking about setting our goals and intentions for 2019. Not that we’ve been slacking this year, but is so important to take a moment to look back over this last year and start thinking about how our goals and values have lined up with our actions and our results. this might also be a time of year where as the days get shorter and it gets darker faster, and were running into midterms, finals, performance evaluations, and other end of year projects, we might experienced a relative lack of motivation to slay this last part of the year.
Frankly, here’s the thing– if you want to get ahead, you need to have a clear vision of where you want to go, where your current trajectory say you’re going, and how to close that gap. You also need to have a clear understanding of what you are doing and why you are doing it. While most of us do have a vague perception of things as they are and how they are supposed to be, unless we get entirely focused on getting things done, the time, energy, and even opportunity can quickly slip out of our grasp. With that in mind, today’s topic is goals and how vital they are to fighting against procrastination, getting focused and – finally – getting things done.
Goals Bring Focus and Self-Control
Every goal starts with a decision, and when you firmly decide to begin pursuing something, there will be moments where it seems like the entire Universe is conspiring to get you to the finish line! From there, it becomes a matter of prioritization. It’s important to begin separating all of those items on your to do list into buckets, and asking yourself the important questions. is this priority important, or is it only urgent? A phone call about the same subject as a meeting that is already set up could be considered urgent, since that phone is only wondering for a finite amount of time, but is the subject matter of the phone call important? More directly, is it more important than the job application or application for graduate school admission that you’ve been working on? Once you have your priorities straight, you can begin to clear your schedule of unimportant, urgent tasks that interrupt and distract you, and begin focusing on important tasks that might be part of longer-term projects and so can sometimes feel like they don’t have a firm deadline. Goals, along with clearly complementary priorities help you stay focused and stay away from unnecessary delays and inefficiency. Every goal you set is a little promise that you’ve made to yourself. Why would you want to betray yourself?
Goals Increase Results, but Not Just That – They Increase Self-Worth
Setting goals is more than getting results; setting goals is about visions and accomplishments that lead you to greatness. Put simply, if you get a result but you’re not sure what that result is in service of, how can you know whether it’s moving you closer to leading the life that you want to live? A lot of times, people will apply to a school, recruit for a position, or start in an industry that isn’t right for them. Why? They were seeking results without having done the introspection to get to know themselves and learn what would actually push them closer to becoming the person that they want to be in the future. No matter how big or small, every goal is a new breadcrumb, a new impetus pushing you down the academic or professional path that is right for you. The moment you see that first big goal accomplished, there’s a rush like no other. You’ll prove yourself worthy – to yourself! And the way to constantly win? It is by setting healthy, SMART goals, or goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.
Make YOURSELF the Focal Point of Your Life
Distracted, overworked, exhausted – and yet – super optimistic that we’ll get to do everything we’ve intended and promised, we tend to stretch ourselves (too thin) between people, projects, obligations, roles, commitments. The inevitable result of that is too many (broken) promises to count 8. It is not just that this way of leading one’s life is exhausting; it’s also continually disappointing when it comes to our long-term accomplishments, since they take that much longer to come to fruition when you aren’t at your best.
When you want to do everything, you fail to do anything – and that’s a fact. Have a concrete set of goals will help you move away from what you think you are “supposed” to do and toward focusing your energies on what you know will be good for your improvement, whether it is emotional, mental, physical, professional or academic. The moment you put yourself into focus, you become your first priority.
Goals Help You Live Your Best Life
When you feel like you keep failing, the way to regain your power over your life is to take a step back and make life your own. The first step towards that? Setting goals. Whether you need motivational tools like task lists, calendars, schedules, before and after photos, etc. or you like to monitor your progress through personal introspection using a journal, you are bound to succeed when you know where you are headed. Even if you fail, you’ll know how to regroup when you have a clear focus, a goal, in front of you. And, once you achieve it – your life becomes the best version of everything you’ve ever wanted.
Everything you want to do, you can – when you make the decision and commitment to do so. Decisions give birth to goals and goals, well, they are key to success.