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Last Updated on January 19, 2023

How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

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How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

You can’t hope to achieve much without setting a goal, but it’s not enough to just set them – you have to actively work to attain them. The key here is to become more goal-oriented.

Goals are drivers of success because they allow you to form an action plan to get where you want to be. It’s crucial to set goals both in your professional and personal life because goals give you long-term vision, short-term motivation, and a general sense of direction.

Research shows that only 20% of the population set goals and 70% fail to achieve them.[1] Most people fail despite setting goals because they don’t break their steps into actionable steps, and even if they do, they’re too afraid to actually try and achieve their goals.

Here’s how to focus on the importance of attaining a goal-oriented mindset to ensure you don’t fall in the latter part of the bracket.

Psychology Behind Being Goal-Oriented

What is Goal Orientation?

Goal orientation means to view yourself in a physical and/or mental state relative to a certain goal.[2] This means that you set a goal that you want to achieve and then both consciously and subconsciously direct all your energy toward achieving that goal. Of course, this is only possible if you think long-term.

If you’re not automatically able to work on and achieve your goals, don’t worry because all hope is not lost. It is still possible to learn how to become more goal-oriented. How? Well, that involves understanding the psychology of goal orientation.

A study by Stanford psychologist, Paul O’Keefe, demonstrated that our learning environment and overall surrounding culture have lasting effects on our goals and motivation.[3] This means that we need to be able to focus on the right things – the things that matter, and those that will actually contribute towards the attainment of our goals.

Importance of Having a Goal-Oriented Mindset

By adopting a goal-oriented mindset, you actively seek out challenges and feedback in an attempt to improve yourself and ultimately get a little bit closer to where you want to be. It also helps you develop productivity and persistence since you’re keeping your eyes on the bigger picture and begin to prioritize efficiently. When you cultivate a goal-oriented mindset, you become more adaptable to change and overall have better well-being and positive emotions towards both yourself and others.[4]

Obviously, some actions contribute towards achieving your goal while others like low-priority tasks are not so helpful, or even detrimental. And as someone who is committed to a cause (goal), you must be able to identify and only take on the tasks that would effectively help you reach your goal.

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The thing about goal-oriented people is that they view the world relative to their goal – they naturally gravitate towards the things that would help them achieve their goals. They are not afraid to fall or fail because they have a goal to reach.[5]

They understand that circumstances might change, but they need shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture merely due to external factors. Hence, they think long-term: set a goal, form a plausible action plan, and then take baby steps toward their destination.

They are goal-oriented, which means that their goal is their priority, and thus, they effectively adjust as needed simply because they believe they have a purpose (goal).

To Be Goal-Oriented, You Must Have a Purpose

Life without purpose is actually meaningless. As human beings, we all have a purpose for existing, and we need to work towards that goal. For instance, a doctor’s purpose in life might have been to help people, and a businessman’s purpose might have been to create jobs. And while they are both different, it’s still notable.

So, how do you find your purpose? Well, the answer might come easier to some than others. All our journeys are different. We view things differently, we do things differently, and we are passionate about different things. The first step to finding your purpose is finding yourself – developing a deeper connection with your inner being. This means fully embracing your flaws and allowing yourself to be authentic. And once you accept yourself, you will find your purpose within you.

Remember when we said that goal-oriented people view the world relative to their goal? That’s because that goal is important to them. It matters to them. Theywant to achieve that goal. You need to find your passion and stick to it.

Ask yourself, “can I do this every single day for the rest of my life?” and if the answer is yes, then you have your purpose. If there’s a real passion, you’ll be automatically motivated from within. You won’t have an overpowering fear of failure, and you won’t seek external validation – pursuing your goal is enough to make you feel fulfilled.

To be goal-oriented, you need to have a solid purpose. For instance, if you want to be a doctor only because your parents want you to be one, you might never be able to truly give your all. Extrinsic motivation can only take you so far. Therefore, to truly achieve something, you need to want to achieve it – your intrinsic motivation must be strong.

To be able to focus on the things that will help you achieve your goals, you need intention. Be clear about cost – what sacrifices need to be made to achieve those perceived benefits, and are you willing to make them? This is precisely the importance of having a purpose because it allows you to prioritize your goal and eventually attain it through a goal-oriented mindset.

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Tips on How to Be More Goal-Oriented

Do you find it hard to remain attached to a certain goal despite wanting to achieve it?

1. Find Your Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation means wanting to do something rather than just doing it because you’re told to or you “have to.”[6]If you’re motivated by external factors, your drive will be short-lived – it will not remain constant with changes in your surroundings.

As for intrinsic motivation, it is constant despite external factors that may throw you off course. In this case, you have full control over your motivation and overall drive. This is probably the most important element for developing a growth mindset.

Your intrinsic motivation might be derived from a perceived benefit of achieving the goal. For example, a good student might work hard because they want to either get good grades (performance mindset) or develop their skills (mastery mindset). Now, these rewards will serve as motivation for the student to maintain persistence in their endeavors and allow them to stay focused on their goal. And eventually, this mindset helps them cultivate habits that contribute to attaining their goals.

But how do you find your intrinsic motivation?

  • By chasing your passion
  • Feeling challenged/having a sense of purpose
  • Finding a higher purpose

2. Start with the End in Mind

Before you attain a goal, you need to be able to visualize it. If you’re pursuing something, why are you doing it? What’s the end goal? What happens when you finally do it? You need to be clear on these things before you define a purpose or set a goal for yourself.

Remember, to derive intrinsic motivation, you also need intrinsic confidence. You need to fully believe that you can achieve what you want because only then can you genuinely work towards it. If you feel deep down that you cannot do it, you won’t be able to.

So, first and foremost, visualize the winning moment. For example, if that moment is finally opening your dream restaurant, visualize how that restaurant looks, smells, and how the food tastes. Utilize all of your senses.

Developing the right mindset also takes practice, therefore be patient with yourself.

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How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

Action Item

1 Action
How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life
Visualization Exercises: Try a visualization exercise that works for you; create vision boards, do visualization meditations, or write it down using all five of your senses.

3. Set Goals

Goal setting is not as simple as deciding you want to do something – it must be clear. They must empower you. They must resonate with your purpose.

Avoid the shiny object syndrome, also known as a distraction. It’s running after the next shiny thing rather than sticking with the goal that you had in mind.[7]

Success looks different for different people. The grass is not greener on the other side – maybe it’s a different species. But you need to find your own species, work on your own self – find your purpose, and do what YOU want.

Additionally, your goal is your unit for measuring progress. It helps you define how well you’re doing and determine how far you’ve come. It gives you feedback to adjust your future course of action accordingly.

Maybe even write it down, so it feels real and important. Do whatever works for you but at least do it. Make sure you believe it with every inch of your being. But more importantly, make sure that you want to more than anything else in the world – make sure you want it even if you’re the only one wanting it.

How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

Action Item

1 Action
How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life
Set Milestones: Set quarterly, monthly, or even weekly check-ins with yourself and assign each check-in a milestone. If it’s to start a new business, write down when to have your business plan written or when you want to officially launch

4. Create or Control Your Environment

Life is 20% what happens and 80% how you react to it. This means that while you might not always be able to control your environment, you will be able to control your reaction – that makes all the difference!

To focus, you need an environment that allows you to focus. Hence, you must actively identify and eliminate distractions and deal with small issues before they become nuisances. Remember that your work will only be as efficient as your work environment. You can’t expect to be productive in an unproductive, or worse, toxic, environment.[8][9]

So, before you start working, put away your phone, turn off your social media notifications, and let your family know you’ll be unavailable. Make your environment conducive to learning – a messy work environment is way too distracting. You should organize your stuff to organize your thoughts. Position yourself mentally and physically to develop a growth-oriented mindset.

Remember, the goal is productivity, not burnout. So, be patient with yourself because if you don’t take breaks, your body will take one for you. Thus, stay in control by setting reasonable sub-tasks to accomplish your higher purpose/goal.

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How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

Action Item

1 Action
How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life
Stay Inspired: Switch up your workspaces and include things that inspire you. If that’s keeping your vision board in sight or working from a cafe, have control over your working space.

5. Honing in on Your Habits

Developing new habits or getting rid of old ones is pretty difficult. However, if you want to have something you don’t already, you’ll have to be something that you aren’t already. Your goal demands change and commitment.

You will need to acquire new habits that will help you achieve your goals in the long term. This might be in the form of developing or honing skills, getting enrolled in a course, or even just meditating to improve focus. On the surface, these might seem like insignificant actions but cultivating good habits is super important.

Remember to be patient with yourself because it takes around 18 to 254 days on average to form a new habit.[10]

If you’re trying to quit old habits or develop new habits, you should try the following.

How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life

Action Items

2 Actions
How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life
Accountability Apps: If you want to drink more water, get more steps in, or even track how many books you’ve read, there’s almost an app for every type of habit. Use them to your advantage.
How to Be More Goal Oriented and Win at Life
Accountability Partner: Ask a trusted friend or loved one to help keep you on track. Ask them to check in every week to keep you focused.

Final Thoughts

Being goal-oriented means that you’re able to set a goal and stick to it. And this shouldn’t be too hard so long as you want to do it. Purpose is important, and its driving force is intrinsic motivation. So, find your purpose, make an actionable plan to achieve it, and manifest your way to success!

Remember to be patient with yourself. Cultivating a goal-oriented mindset also takes practice.

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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