One thing I’ve discovered as a trend is how much we talk about something, but in reality, we do not fully understand its importance and therefore, do not practice them. I believe that if we understood that a cause is paramount to life, we would take it more seriously. For instance, we do not joke about taking our bath and brushing our teeth daily because we understand that it is necessary for our personal hygiene; how much more would we take goal setting seriously if only we understood how important it was.
Just before we get right into the importance of goal setting, I need you to understand that there is a difference between goals and dreams. The words have been used interchangeably and are sometimes taken to mean the same thing.
Dreams occur as a result of our imagination while Goals occur as a result of our action. While dreams can be referred to as passive imagination, goals are active imaginations. There is no such thing as a goal without action but dreams happen without action. This is why I stated that your goal is only a dream if it is not smart which makes it important to make your dream SMART.
While the differences between dreams and goals are well distinct and should not be used interchangeably, they work well together when given the chance to. Allow yourself to dream but always ensure to turn those dreams into goals. Here’s why.
If you do not allow yourself to dream, you rob yourself of the opportunity to allow your imagination wander on what is possible and become held back by the realities of life that you only set small goals. Allowing yourself to dream can otherwise be termed as visualisation which is one of the 5 habits you need to achieve your goals. Visualisation is a very powerful tool that brings into your life the resources needed to achieve your goals.
On the other hand, your dreams will never be realized if they are not turned into SMART goals.
S – Specific: This is where you have to make that big dream of yours specific. Let it be concise and precise that if you were explain it to anybody, they would understand.
M- Measurable: If your dream must be achieved, then it must be measurable. You should be able to track your progress to know how far you’ve gone in achieving it.
A- Attainable: Your dream must be attainable. Do not pursue a dream of living in a fantasized world that does not exist unless of course, you’re willing to create that world. Most times when we dream, they seem unattainable but the truth is if you sit with those dreams and analyse them well, you might find ways to make them attainable.
R- Realistic: This is very important. Your dream must be made into a realistic one following your current habits. This means that if you’re not willing to put in the extra efforts required to make your dream realistic, then it is unrealistic and you should not bother pursuing it.
T- Time bound: Your dreams must be transferred into actions with deadlines for you to achieve it.
Dreams are good but it is never enough. If your dreams must be realized, then you must take action by setting goals.
Now, lets get into the importance of goal setting.
Setting goals makes you focused
Without goals, you cannot be focused. It is easy to get carried away if you are not moved by a certain goal. It might interest you to know that in the world of today, there are many things striving for your attention ranging from advertisements on social media to challenges, or people in general. Everyone is trying to get your attention either to get you to buy from them or support their cause. This makes it easy to lose focus. This is what makes it important to set goals for yourself. A typical example of this would be that if you went to the market without a budget and a list of items to buy, you wouldn’t even know that you passed a budget because you didn’t have any in the first place. But if you went to the market with a budget and an item list, you would be more focused. With proper goal setting, it becomes difficult to lose focus.
Setting goals makes it possible to track your progess
Recording your progress is very paramount to growth and goal setting enables you to do just that. With goal setting, it becomes possible to check your progress in every area of your life. You can look back on a goal you set years ago to check how much of it you have achieved. When you realise that you achieved most of it, you will be happy and motivated to achieve the rest and even more. And even if you didn’t achieve most of it, you can do a reflection to know what the obstacles were and how you can overcome those obstacles to achieve your goals. With goal setting, you would be able to measure your progress to see that although you might not be where you want to get to, you have made progress in the right direction and you are not where you started.
Setting Goals Makes it difficult to procrastinate
Without goals, you won’t know that procrastination is costing you a lot and it is time to end it. Many times, the reason we procrastinate is because we have not set goals. If you have set goals with deadlines in place, you would understand that procrastination is dangerous and try to avoid it. You would understand the cost of procrastination when you have goals in place and just so you know, it is possible to end procrastination.
Now that you understand the importance of goal setting, I hope you will get a book and pen and set goals for yourself this year. It is not too late.
Are there other importance of goal setting that I haven’t listed here? Please drop them in the comment section, I’d like to read them.