The Simple, Startling Impact Of Setting A Goal
By Dr.Ann on January 07, 2013
We all realize that living fully means living with intention. But what about putting this idea into real-world action? Sometimes, the break-neck pace of life gets in the way of coming up with a game plan for that aforementioned life. It’s often a mini-triumph simply to get through the day.
Yet it is that very break-neck pace of life that requires the most intention. Setting a goal is one of the simplest and most effective ways to do just that.
I know: creating goals requires time and valuable energy. You may feel that you don’t have room for yet another thing added to your to-do list!
But here is a key to thriving in work and life: the energy you put into creating vibrant, relevant goals will come back to you many times over. Consider it one of the ultimate returns on investment.
Given that, let’s look a little closer at what it means to set a goal. Although it may seem obvious and easy at first, the humble act of setting a goal has powerful ripple effects.
There are three ways that goal-setting can have a startling impact on what you do:
1. Setting a goal primes your subconscious. Have you ever primed a piece of wood or other surface before you started using it? You did it so that the surface would be ready for the work ahead. Research from the field of goal-setting has shown that similarly, when you set a goal, it “primes your mind.” Your actions, thoughts, and decisions bring you towards the identified goal. The goal becomes a new background environment, influencing your choices as you go about your day to day activities. I find that amazing.
2. Setting a goal brings you from theory to reality. It’s one thing to say, “I want to do something different with my career.” or “I want to improve my marriage.” It’s another thing to say, “I want to be self-employed within 3 years.” or “I plan to set aside an annual retreat with my spouse the first weekend of every January.” A goal gets you to identify and assemble the nuts and bolts needed to build out your plan.
3. Setting a goal increases accountability. The act of identifying a goal, putting it in writing, and thinking specifically about how to accomplish it increases your commitment to the goal. You’ve highlighted it as important and attainable. This in turn increases your drive and motivation to accomplish the goal, and makes you more likely to follow through.
This week’s self-reflection: Is there an area of your life that you feel needs more intention? Some common life areas that people consider in the coaching setting are relationships, work, health, and faith.
This week’s call to action: Set a goal for that life area! It doesn’t have to be a huge goal – in fact, it’s better if it’s not. Start out by writing down three practical, manageable steps you can take in the next few months that will bring you closer to your goal. You can further boost your accountability and follow-through by telling another person about your goal.
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(photo credit: freedigitalphoto.net/bplanet)
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