Are goals a part of your daily life?
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about goals. That seems like such a random blanket statement to make. To be more specific I mean reasons to set goals. But the reality is that people often fall into two camps when the topic is breached, “goal setting is so cliche,” said in an amazingly snarky voice, or that goals are a critical part of peoples lives. I am part of the critical lives camp. There are endless reasons, but I wanted to be able to share five of my top reasons to set goals.
The truth is people will often set goals without even realizing it. I would imagine most of you as a teenager were looking forward to that fateful birthday where you could finally get a permit and drive. That, whether you realized it or not, was a goal you set. You wanted to learn to drive and you probably had to study and practice to pass the exam or practical test.
Many things seem like a basic part of our lives but if you look deeper, are probably some type of goal you seek to achieve. Do you work everyday for enjoyment or maybe the enjoyment of retirement? Do you workout because you want to lose weight or maybe improve your overall health? These things are all goals party people! No matter the reason!
Take time and set goals on purpose
The benefits of goals are far-reaching, but especially so when they are purposefully and consciously made. To help put that into perspective let me share one definition of the word conscious: Done or acting with critical awareness. Can you imagine how different our lives would look if we did things on a daily basis with critical awareness?
I have days where I can lay down in bed and honestly not even recall half of what went on throughout the day or what I accomplished. If I had simply set some goals, even small ones that were just applicable to the next day, then maybe I would have laid down at night feeling a bit less guilty about a seemingly unproductive day because my day was intentional. I had a plan! It helps to consider the actual reasons to set goals when you are struggling with everyday things. Helps put things into perspective!
So here are the 5 greatest reasons and benefits to setting goals that can help you not only survive but flourish in life on a daily basis!
Reasons to set goals!!! Here we go!
Sense of Purpose
We have somewhat hit on this topic already. Do you ever feel like you are watching your life pass you by? Maybe you are hoping for the next “phase” of your life or a better opportunity to come your way. The problem with waiting is that you could possibly always be waiting! Setting goals can give you a sense of purpose so that instead of literally wasting your life waiting, you can be pursuing your hopes and dreams.
For myself, I often feel that sense of purposelessness simply being a stay at home mom. The days blend together, I am just biding my time until my little girls are old enough to go to school or my baby is old enough so that I can simply go for a run without worrying about when I will need to feed her so that she does not freak out on my husband. I could literally spend my entire day feeling useless when all I did was save the munchkins from starving and maybe, MAYBE I found the time to vacuum my floors.
Find motivation and drive from your purpose
Let me explain something to any other people experiencing these feelings of uselessness during your own personal struggles. If you have set goals whether long term or short term, it can often be your beacon in the storm. You can grasp onto the goal to remind yourself of what your purpose is. I can remember that one of my goals is to raise my two little girls to be a blessing to others and compassionate, caring wonderful human beings. Remembering my purpose will help me to have more patience when I have to repeat for the hundredth time, that my oldest cannot repeatedly poke the baby with a paint brush. “Yes Caroline, I understand the paintbrush is a magic wand and you are making your sister glitterific, but you could also poke her eye out.”
It can become a never-ending mental battle when you have no ultimate purpose to look at and appreciate why you are still doing what you do. Instead of feeling like the day was a waste of time, I can remind myself that every small event, every correction made I am serving a goal that was intentionally made a long time ago.
I am at home with my girls because I want to be and because I love them. My husband and I wanted to make them a priority while they are so young and impressionable so we have a direct role in shaping their fascinating minds. Little disclosure, we also have serious trust issues with childcare because my husband is in law enforcement and has seen some rather terrible things. Raise your hand if you are a helicopter parent, you know it and still can’t make yourself stop!!
There is something to be said for feeling accomplished when you have completed a task or goal you were aiming for. I could do laundry all day long and not think anything of it except that it is the least favorite chore of mine. Or maybe my goal was to actually wash, fold and put away the laundry on the same day. Now I am…..dun dada dunnn Supermom! For real, there is something extra special about feeling like you can do whatever you set your mind to. Not only will you actually be able to get more done, but you will feel so much better about yourself when you can look back and say “Yup! I made that happen!”
Ahhh the Challenge
Who doesn’t love a good challenge? A goal that you set can almost seem like a taunt at times. Your mind is saying “I triple dog dare you!” and you are obliged to act and prove that you can do it. Sometimes a goal doesn’t need to be something you know you can get done.
A goal can sometimes be that thing you truly want but are a little scared you won’t be able to make happen. A goal can be a challenge to yourself. One of my goals is to be able to do my second half marathon race before the year is out. This goal has many purposes, I enjoy running, and I want to lose all that baby weight and get back into my hot mom clothes. Fitting in a running/training schedule with a toddler, and a newborn while nursing is not a piece of cake. Challenge accepted.
I will feel better when the goal is completed simply because it was truly such a big obstacle that took a lot of motivation and perseverance. Sometimes the best things are the ones you had to work hardest for and push yourself to meet. I will let you all know how this particular goal goes throughout the year, which leads to number 4!
One reason to set goals is that it gives you a sense of accountability. If I never set a goal to lose weight then I cannot fail at it, right? Setting a goal, no matter how big or small will give you accountability. It can come in the form of internal accountability or a more external version by sharing it with someone.
There is a reason fitness groups are such a big thing right now. People have discovered that it is much easier to stay on track when you are afraid other people will get on your case if you start doubting or not pushing yourself hard enough. After all, we are all humans and no one can be strong 100% of the time. Simply put…if you don’t hold yourself accountable you lose the drive to not disappoint yourself or others. That drive is super important in our daily lives.
Power of Positive Thinking
My absolute favorite and I believe the most important one guys! Setting goals keeps you pushing towards something. Striving to accomplish your dreams, or maybe just trying to have a great day. If you are pushing for a goal you have some part of your brain tuned in to assume better things are coming!
Haven’t you ever been super excited about starting something? You are excited for school to start so that you can eventually graduate. You are excited about your wedding so that you can begin your lives together. Your reasons to set goals can simply be that it gives you something to look forward to!
Don’t be the Debbie Downer!
The less thrilling alternative is to be pessimistic. Glass half empty, negative Nancy, whatever way you choose to look at things. If you are constantly assuming the worst will come, then why in the world would you want to push yourself past your known limits to try and reach for something you don’t believe in.
Consider the difference in these two things, “We are going to get out of debt so that we can buy a house eventually!” or “We have so many student loans.” The first one had a goal, a driving purpose, and end result. You want to start budgeting and eliminate your debt so you can buy a house. The second version has absolutely no goal mentioned. Why would you want to put in the hard work and effort when you have so many student loans? You aren’t working towards anything and your mindset is working against you.
Simply put….by not setting goals you are accepting the role of the victim. You have already accepted defeat and don’t see a reason to exert the effort necessary to accomplish the things you want. Positive thinking can sometimes mean you are accepting responsibility and believing that things can and will change.
What now? Find YOUR reasons to set goals!
So shall we wrap this up? Set some goals for your life, for your day, for your year. The reasons to set goals can benefit you in so very many ways. You will give yourself a sense of purpose, boost your confidence, hold yourself accountable, challenge yourself, and become a more positive person. Let’s be honest no one wants to be around a Debbie Downer all the time. Get excited about life, and get excited about today. There is no reason you cannot pursue your dreams by taking small steps and putting the goals out there. Take control and press on with a purpose.