Imagine having to shoot an arrow without being given a target. Where would you aim?
And if you did aim at some random thing, why would you aim there? What would the purpose be?
This is a literal example of what life is like without a goal or target in mind. At the end of the day, goals are what give you direction and motivation in life. They are a challenge set to excite you and prove to yourself that you can see things through.
Small goals, that are achievable, give you a sense of direction by allowing you to hit your target and reach your goal.
It’s helpful to write them down. This can be done daily, weekly or monthly, but keep the timeframe short and don’t get carried away with saying "in a year from now" because it is much more likely that we will lose our motivation along the way.
It could be really simple things such as; wash the car, spend an hour running, call 10 clients that day etc. Whatever those things are, if you write them down at the beginning of the day you are setting an intention. Then at the end of the day, week, month – whatever you decide to do, you can tick those things off the list. This gives you the most incredible sense of achievement, making you feel good – and then incentivises you to do more. By doing this you are able to measure your progress because you always have a fixed endpoint to compare it with.
By setting goals, you give yourself mental boundaries too. When you have a certain target in mind, you automatically stay away from certain distractions and stay focused towards the goal. This process happens automatically and subtly but according to research does happen.
To get a better idea, imagine this. Your best friend is moving to Italy and her flight takes off at 7pm. You leave after work at 6.30pm to see her off and you know it’s a 20-minute walk to get to the airport. So, you make it a goal to reach the airport in 15 minutes by jogging so that you can have more time to say your goodbyes. Would you get distracted by “anything” along the way? Would you stop for a break or a snack? Would you stop by your house before going to the airport? I bet you answered "no" for each questions and, at the end of the day, this is what a goal gives you…FOCUS! Your goal allows you to stay locked in. You subconsciously keep away from distractions and your focus remains only on the goal.
What I like more than anything when I set myself a goal, is being accountable for my task. For example, if I arrange a run, I always ask a friend to meet me, so the temptation of skipping the run and staying in bed just cannot happen. This is in complete contrast with when you do things based off a whim and it doesn’t matter whether you complete them or not. These reminders in the back of your head help you to overcome procrastination and laziness.
Keep in mind that long-term goals can actually promote procrastination. Most people aren’t good with deadliness 3 months away. So, whenever you’re given a long-term goal, break it down into several short-term goals so you can complete a chunk of the larger long-term goal every week or every day. It's never too late to set a goal either. So, why not start tomorrow?
Note: If you are wondering how to become successful, you set a goal, you lock it in and then give it your 100%.
"One half of knowing what you want, is knowing what you must give up before you get it." – Sidney Howard