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Last Updated on December 6, 2020

Why You Need to Set Future Goals (And How to Reach Them)

Why You Need to Set Future Goals (And How to Reach Them)

It’s very easy to go through life without ever having worthwhile future goals. It is very easy to avoid the challenge of setting goals and being accountable for achieving them.But if you don’t set realistic goals, your life will drift and lack any meaningful purpose. The worst thing that could happen to you is to reach your final days, look back at your life, and wonder how you screwed up the amazing opportunity you had to build an incredibly rewarding life.In this article, we’ll look into the reasons why you should start setting future goals, and how to set ones that will help you lead a fulfilling life.

Why You Need to Set Future Goals

The Source of Happiness

Having meaningful goals gives your life a purpose. It gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and live life with a direction.Goals give you energy, vitality, and something to aim for each day. Ultimately, your happiness will be enhanced when you begin to see you are making progress on your goals, and as each day passes and you move that little bit closer to achieving what you set out to achieve, you gain more focus and energy to push that little bit more.

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A Roadmap to Travel With

But having specific goals is more than that. Goals give you a roadmap to travel with during the goal setting process.Your professional goals could be related to your career[1]. Imagine you want to one day start your own business. An idea such as starting your own business begins as an image in your mind.As you think more about your idea, you start to visualize what it would be like to be running your own business. No boss breathing down your neck watching what you are doing, no annoying colleagues interrupting you with their problems and complaining about how much work they have to do. Having the freedom to make your own decisions about what you will do and when.As you visualize your idea, you begin to ask yourself: how? How will I start my own business? What do I have to do to start? These questions are the beginnings of a plan, and a goal is simply a plan for the future.It does not have to be as professional as starting your own business. It could be wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro before your fiftieth birthday. Once again, it begins with an idea; you may have seen a documentary about Mount Kilimanjaro, or a friend did it a few years ago and tells you it was one of the best experiences she had ever had in her life.Wherever the inspiration comes from, you begin to visualize yourself climbing to the top, exhausted but exhilarated after having achieved something only a very few people manage to do in their lifetimes because you were able to stay on track.Once again the question “how” jumps into your mind, and once again the beginnings of a plan forms, which creates another future goal.

A Clear Intention to Live

When you think about it, our whole lives are centered around short and long term goals. Getting up for work on a cold, wet Monday morning requires the goal of getting out of bed at a specific time. Not a pleasant goal for many, but it’s a goal nonetheless. Getting home in time for dinner with your family is a goal.Pretty much everything we want to do and achieve in our lives requires an intent to achieve something. That is what goals are: an intention to do something by a specific time.

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How to Begin Developing Future Goals

1. Start With Your Vision

Begin with a vision of what you want to achieve. Whether it is a professional or personal goal, you need to have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve.You can get a little help from this article: The Best Way to Create a Vision For the Life You WantTake some time to really see what the end result will be like. Close your eyes and see yourself achieving your goal.If you want to build a secure financial future for yourself and your family, what will that look like? Will that be cash in the bank or a portfolio of investments?If you want to take a holiday of a lifetime with your closest friends this summer, where will you go? What will you do? Imagine yourself already achieving your goal and how it will feel.Feel those emotions in your imagination. Feel the smile on your face, the laughter, the joy, and the excitement as you board the plane.

2. Ask the Right Questions

The best question to ask is: What do I have to do to…? This is an incredibly powerful question because it opens up your mind to the possibility of achieving your future goal. The way this question is phrased means you are only considering ways to achieve, not ways you cannot achieve.The wrong question to ask is “How can I achieve this goal?” That question often elicits the tempting answer “You can’t.” What you want to be doing is opening your mind up to possibilities and the actions you will have to take to make it happen.Now the “What do I have to do?” question often brings up actions you may at first feel are impossible, so you ask the question again.For example, let’s say you want to build a secure future for you and your family, and your initial answer comes up with a figure of USD$1 million. Now, if you are earning USD$50,000 a year, that means you will have to work at least forty years, saving half your salary each month.Honestly, that is not going to be easy, and for forty years, probably impossible. So you will need to ask the question again. “What do I have to do to have USD1 Million in savings by the time I retire?”The answers you come up with from asking this question again will take you closer towards building your goal into achievable steps.

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3. Look at Your Daily Habits

Our daily habits and behaviors are the driving force behind the results and future goals we achieve in our lives.If you smoke twenty cigarettes every day, drink several glasses of wine each evening, and go to bed slightly drunk, over time, this will have a profoundly negative effect on your health. If it does not send you to an early grave, you are almost certainly going to experience difficulties with your health at some point.Couple that with eating unhealthily and being excessively overweight, and you are going to become a burden on your family and friends later in life.Because our daily habits and behaviors have such a large impact on the results we achieve in our lives, you should take some time to analyze yours.Identify the ones that give you negative results. Unhealthy eating, excessive drinking, smoking, complaining, and gossiping are common ones, but others such as waking up at the last possible moment, going to bed late, and spending all night playing computer games are a few others that, over time, will result in negative outcomes in your life.If you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro before you turn fifty, then get yourself out in the evening and exercise. Turn it into a habit. Spend thirty minutes every morning reading about and researching Mount Kilimanjaro instead of checking your email, Facebook, or Instagram feed. Use your time in more positive ways.This guide can give you some nice advice on how to quit bad habits: How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop

4. Set a Date

If your future goals do not have a timeline and an end date, you will find excuses to put off what you need to do to make it happen.You can, of course, adjust your deadline if you find you were a little too ambitious with your initial enthusiasm, but you do need a deadline.If your goal is to have USD$1 Million by the time you retire, your goal needs to be based on what you need to have saved by the end of the year. For most of us, retirement may be quite a few years away, but by beginning now, you will give yourself enough time to build up your savings and investments.Likewise, if your goal is to run a full course marathon before you turn forty, then depending on how old you are today, you may want to set attainable goals for running a 5KM, 10KM and half-marathon each year before you run the big one.Setting dates and deadlines gives you the sense of urgency you need to make progress. You do not have to achieve the “big goal” in the first year, but you do need to have an annual goal that is taking you a little closer each day, month, and year toward the big, future goal.

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5. Visualize and Review Regularly

Whatever your future goals are, you should have some form of vision board to keep you reminded of your final destination.Whether that is having a secure financial future, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or running a full course marathon, having some form of vision board—either digital in the form of a photo album in your digital photo storage, a board on Pinterest, or a physical board with photographs and clippings of what you want to do—will help keep you motivated when you feel “not in the mood.”It will give you something visual to help you review your progress and adjust deadlines if necessary.

Final Thoughts

We are all different, and we all want different things in our lives. Many of us want to build a successful business, while others want to develop a successful career in medicine or law.Whatever it is you want out of life, it is up to you to create it. You have the good fortune to be able to decide, act, and achieve, and it all starts with an idea and a vision, and a few questions to offer a plan and a destination to travel towards.You do not want to end your days full of regret and disappointment. You want to end your days knowing you lived an extraordinary life on your terms and accomplished your goals.

More Tips on Setting Future Goals

Featured photo credit: Kalen Emsley via unsplash.com

Reference

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Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

How to Set Goals Instead of Resolutions for the New Year

How to Set Goals Instead of Resolutions for the New Year

For many people, a new year is a fresh start, a do-over of sorts, that motivates you to try something new or to recommit to those tasks you put on hold because you were too busy tending to more important things. When we talk about the new year, one word often comes to mind: resolutions. You may ask your friends or co-workers about their New Year’s resolutions, finding that yours are similar to theirs: lose weight, get out more, save money. But, what exactly are resolutions? To make a resolution is to resolve to do something.The dictionary says that to resolve is “to make a definite and serious decision to do something.” That sounds promising. But, what happens after you’ve made that decision? How do you carry it out?

Instead of making resolutions, setting measurable goals is more likely to lead to success in seeing your hopes and dreams come to fruition. Want to increase the chances of seeing your dreams become reality? Here are five goal-setting tips that will get you started on your journey towards reaching your goals.

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Be S.M.A.R.T.

When it comes to goal setting, S.M.A.R.T. is a familiar acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. Too often, people set goals that are vague and unrealistic. Not only does this lead to frustration, but it also decreases the likelihood of actually achieving the goal. The S.M.A.R.T. method can be applied to a variety of goals, whether professional or personal, giving you the tools you need to succeed in your goal setting endeavors.

Write it down

The daily minutiae of life is enough to rattle even the most skilled multi-tasker. With family dinners, kids’ sporting events, and household chores, life is truly a juggling act. Still, we manage to fall into the routine of getting those things done without a need to write them down. When it comes to goals, however, we are not very likely to simply fall into a routine. Achieving goals involves deviating from the daily monotony, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and challenging yourself. Writing down your goals allows you to free up some of that mental clutter so that you can visualize those things that you want to achieve. Also, tracking your progress by checking things off will give you a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to keep going. So, pull out that journal that has been collecting dust and write down those goals!

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Avoid comparisons

When you are working towards improving your life, it is common to compare yourself to other people. Your perception is that they are superior to you, or more privileged in some way. The social media phenomenon doesn’t help; your ‘news feed’ overflows with announcements of your friends’ new love interests, weight loss, and new jobs, quickly turning you into a green-eyed monster. How does this serve you, exactly? It doesn’t. When you compare yourself to others, you rob yourself of time you could be spending on your own self-improvement. It is also important to keep in mind that everyone’s journey is different; although we have similar destinations, our paths are often quite different. Follow your own path.

Embrace failure

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says that “successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it is necessary to learn and grow from.” Setting goals involves learning what you need to do in order to achieve personal growth. Embracing failure by seeing it as a necessary part of achieving your goals will only make you stronger and more resilient as you continue on your road to towards achieving your goals.

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Enjoy the process

Big success is made up of small victories. If your weight loss goal is 20 lbs, chances are that you will not lose it all at once. Still, you can celebrate your pants fitting a little looser every week. Having goals is important; however, we don’t stop living while we pursue them. Life happens while you are in the midst of seeing your dreams realized. Don’t allow your focus on the outcome to keep you from enjoying the process.

Featured photo credit: Hannah Jacobson via unsplash.com

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