The Importance of Goal Setting

Goals. We all have them. Kinda. Like, once a year on New Year´s Eve. Actually, most of the time in my life, I didn´t even have New Year´s resolutions, not to think of actual goals.

I have heard about the importance of goal setting many times in my life but it took me almost 30 years to apply this knowledge. That was 2 years ago, when I had to set goals like “being back able to sit or walk or talk”. Just one of the positive lessons my trip to hell and back (healthwise) has taught me… Anyway, soon after I figured out that writing down my goals made a HUGE difference.

A study by he Dominican University  supports my experience, having found those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not.

Have you been going to the gym for quite a while and wonder you don´t get to see any results? Let me guess – you don´t have a workout plan, do you? 😉

So following I´m sharing some facts and thoughts about the importance of goal setting and hope you find some inspiration.

Our life is a journey. If we don´t know our destination, we don´t make any progress – we´re stuck at where we are, play a passive-reactive role in our own life and just wait and see what “fate” has to offer.

The importance of having goals becomes clear, when we link it with success (how would we be able to measure success, if there wasn´t a clear set goal?):

Without goals, there´s no success – and without success, we´re not living a truly fulfilled life.

What does Goal Setting mean?

It means to create a deliberate phrasing out of the needs, interests, wishes or tasks that we have. This includes aligning our activities to (reaching) that specific goal, otherwise it will just remain a resolution.

Without goals and the according awareness of them, we are not able to function in an effective and productive way.

Goal setting to me also means:

  • taking over responsibility for my life
  • switching roles from actor to director
  • expressing self-respect
  • being ready for changes

How to get started

Like mentioned before, it is extremely important to take the time and write things down.

I would recommend starting off with either short-term or – the other extreme – lifetime goals, those two, I believe, are easiest to define.

For short-term goals simply write down 2 or 3 things each that you want to get done tomorrow, within next week and within next month.

I´ll share mine as an example:

Tomorrow: be at work early, try a new recipe and post it, go to the gym

Next week: spend time outdoors, have my car serviced, work on my nutritionist final paper

Next month: visit a place I´ve never been to before, visit my friend I haven´t gotten to see in weeks, hand in my final paper

If there´s nothing you can think of, take a look at following categories that might bring up some ideas: health/fitness/nutrition, family/friends, hobbies, travel, career/education, community service or simply commit to treating yourself with one of these 11 tips how to balance your life.

Writing down your lifetime goals requires a bit more time – maybe you make an hour for it next weekend?

Make sure you are not being interrupted, take a pen and piece of paper, get a cup of tea, light a candle and maybe play your favorite music in the background. Just some suggestions based on my preferences, of course you might do this how and where ever you would like to:)

You´re actually going to write what is known as “bucket list”.

It´s not about being “realistic” now – just go with the flow, imagine you could do and have anything you want in the world and start writing and dreaming.

My bucket list has no specific number of goals, I don´t like being “forced” to find “100” or how many ever. That´s too much pressure on my tender soul 🙂

Again, for inspiration think of above mentioned categories or read through other people´s lists (which I find very inspiring) at www.bucketlist.org for example.

Place your goals / bucket list clearly visible, like on your fridge and check mark when completed. The feeling of checking off a goal is just great, no matter how small it was 🙂

Keep in mind that you may change / adjust your goals at anytime, they´re not written in stone and it´s only natural for your to goals to change as your personality and life is constantly changing as well.

My favorite Goal Setting Tools

Bucket List        

check. 🙂

SMART Formula

Using the so called “SMART” formula is a great way of making your goals more powerful.

There are several, slightly different, variations of the acronym but it usually stands for:

Specific – make it clear and well-defined

Measureable – include precise amounts, dates etc.

Attainable – make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set

Relevant/Realistic – relevant to the direction you want your life to go to and within the availability of resources, knowledge and time

Time-bound – your goals must have a deadline

For example, my week goal „spending time outdoors“ is very vague – I rather replace it with „spending at least 3 hours hiking in …. „ (not sure where I´m gonna go yet lol).

Vision Board

I highly recommend creating a “real” vision board (not an online one), it is another powerful tool and it´s fun to do. What you do, is basically collecting pictures from various magazines that reflect your goals and dreams. For me that was a big stack full of yoga, wellness, fitness and travel magazines.

You either paste or collage them on a pin / magnet board or big sheet of paper. I prefer magnet boards – it´s much easier to adapt your board when needed.

Depending on your creativity levels, you might draw and/or write what comes to your mind when thinking of the life of your dreams: inspiring quotes, affirmations, your goals, single words, your favorite colors – just anything – it´s YOUR life!

Like you written goals, place your vision board clearly visible (besides the fridge, somewhere you will see your board when you wake up and go to sleep would be a good spot as well).

Once or twice a day (the more often, the better), take a few minutes and focus on your dreams and goals, dive into the feeling of having achieved them and stay in that feeling for as long as you can – this is both, a great way to start and end your day.

If you´re interested in learning more about Vision Boards, I suggest you visit Christine Kane´s homepage at http://www.christinekane.com/ , she´s an absolute expert in this field.

Software & Apps

Goals on track ($68/Year, 30 day money back guarantee)

“Without question, this is the most robust goal-setting program of the bunch. It allows you to record the goal, the purpose (in my terminology, key motivations), start date, end date, metrics, subgoals, habits, and action plans… I particularly like it because it allows you think plan hierarchically, which is how my brain works.

Goalscape (different packages available – 1 project free – $6/month – $60/one time)

Goal Buddy (free online based tool)    

Nozbe (different packages available – free – Pro EUR 10/month – Business)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifetick (free web based software – full version $39/year)

Strides (free App)

Any.do (free App – Premium $2.99/month or $26.99/year)

Golden Scale (iPhone app – $0.99)

Evernote (free App for smartphones and computers)

Wunderlist (free task manger for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire and any web browser)

Clear Tasks (iPhone app – $4.99)

Asana (free web based app – well designed for managing team workflows and task-management. Free version supports up to 15 team members)

Way of Life – The Ultimate Habit Maker & Breaker (free iPhone app)

 Only he who knows his destination will find the way.

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9 comments

  1. I love this and relate to it so much. Goal setting truly is all about taking responsibility for the content of your life and when you take responsibility of all of your life’s outcomes, you become capable of so much more.

    Thanks for this! Love the motivation, keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much for your uplifting feedbach, Ryan! I really appreciate it and am happy that I could pass on some motivation:) Have a great weekend, all the best,
      xx Alexandra

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you! How can anyone shoot for something without a goal right!? I personally set my goals using the SMART formula as you posted. And the bucket list works very well too! Yeah it is really fulfilling once you start checking off this list! Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

    1. That´s awesome Ben! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experiences, I really appreciate that and am sure many readers do so as well 🙂 Keep on checking off your goals 🙂 All the best & have a great weekend, xx Alexandra

  3. I can relate to this article. I recently wrote down my goals in a post on my site, so that they’ll always be staring at me. Having goals (or rather, the fear of not realizing them) is the force that pushes me through self-doubt and worry.

    The Vision Board seems especially interesting. I don’t know if I’d buy one, though. It looks like a physical Pinterest. In any case, this was a great read. Nice work Alexandra!

    1. That´s an awesome idea Mohammad, I have to think about that:) Thank you for sharing! The Vision Board is nothing you buy actually, all you have to buy is maybe a big piece of paper/cardboard which you use as your canvas, and maybe some magazines for the pictures:) I can only recommend it, it´s fun and helps becoming a clearer vision of your goals. Yes, like a physical pinterest:)
      All the best & thank you,
      xx Alexandra

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts and experience on the SMART formula! I really appreicate your uplifting comment, thank you again & all the best,
    xx Alexandra

  5. Goals? Vision Board? Sounds to me like you are a huge fan of the law of attraction. Setting short term and long term SMART goals is really important but you gotta keep in mind you still have to take a lot of action towards those goals in order for them to come true. i feel like, surprisingly, a lot of people skip this step.

    1. Hi Matt, thank you for stopping by and your input on the importance of taking action, which I totally agree with. I actually had that point on mind for another own post – this one was only supposed to be a Little reminder of the importance of Goal Setting in general since I know from my own experience that having goals is not given. I´m not that big of a fan of the LOA for the exact reason you stated;)
      Have a great Weekend & all the best,
      xx Alexandra

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