I am a natural planner or maybe more like dreamer. I love imagining how things could be. I reckon Pinterest was made for people like me! ***Check out all my Pinterest boards here.*** I am the sort of person, who sees old trash on the side of the road and has to stop and pick it up. Oh the possibilities of making that piece of junk into something beautiful and useful again! Never mind that I have more projects on my to do list, than I will ever have time to complete.
So as I moved into my teen and young adult years, that dreaming turned into planning and writing out goals for myself each year. Though often my goals were more lofty than the knowledge, skills and money I had available. Then along came marriage, 3 young kids and mental and physical health issues and well, I stopped dreaming and just tried to survive. For a long time, just getting by was the normal!
However at the end of 2015 something changed for me when I went camping for the first time on my own with my kids, who were 4, 6 and 9 at the time. I think taking that step to do something that felt big and challenging gave me confidence. On that camp, I decided that I wanted to aim for something else challenging, which was hiking again in the Stirling Ranges after a 11 and 1/2 years break. I longed for more of that feeling of confidence and freedom that I can choose how I live my life. I started to dream again! Except this time I gave my dreams deadlines.
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Then the most amazing thing happened! I found setting a few challenging but achievable SMART goals, gave me so much more than just a fun 40th birthday or the chance to do a grueling, 3 day hike with my brother. I discovered setting goals important for me and my well-being!
*** Do you have a goal setting planner to help you start thinking about and writing your goals? ***
Why Is Setting Goals Important And Healthy For You?
1. A Goal Gives You Focus
Reality is, we all have the same 168 hours in our week. So what you do with that time matters! The process of setting goals gives you the opportunity to look at where you are and clarify what your biggest dreams and hopes are for the future.
Those specific, actionable goals you then write down, will give you a targeted focus for your efforts, time and resources.
I find personally that my goals are a great way to help me in deciding what commitments I take on during the year and those activities or relationships I say a polite no to.
Why is setting goals important?
Goals take your values and highest priorities, and create a focus for you.
2. A Goal Gives You A Way Of Measuring Your Progress And Success
Goals help you to define what success means to you and what it looks like. For some people, success is accounted for in the material wealth they have or the professional accolades they receive. For others, it looks like family relationships or contributing to our local community.
They also help you decide on what factors you will use to track your progress and gives you feedback on what is working or not working. Without that your progress and success is vague and ambiguous, and provides no benefit.
3. Goals Give You Increased Well Being and Self-Confidence
This is what I discovered when I committed to writing and working towards a few very practical goals that year. Research also shows that when you are making progress on your most difficult goals, you are emotionally happier and more satisfied with your life. For those of us who struggle with mental wellness, that’s an encouragement! Working towards goals also strengthens your self-confidence. It helps shape how you see yourself while at the same time adds to your sense of accomplishment. You can gain confidence simply by taking action towards your SMART goals even if you don’t get the result you are looking for. Sometimes success is found in the doing and not necessarily the end result.
One of the prints I put up in the boys’ bedroom several years ago, reads “I can do hard things”. I wanted them to have that reminder not to shy away from things that are difficulty or challenging, and to have an inner dialogue that says I can rather than I can’t. It’s also a great reminder for myself when I am tempted to quit because it’s all too hard!
Why is setting goals important?
It changes you! You become a person who tries, and who can…
4. A Goal Gives You Momentum
There is an interesting cycle where progress on your most meaningful goals, increases your sense of well being and in turn those positive emotions motivate you to behave in ways that enable further progress on your goals. The good news is, progress can lead to more progress.
How? By taking note of and celebrating the small wins. That is, the daily actions, that over time make a BIG difference!
5. Goals Give You A Way to Live A Life That Truly Matters
Why is setting goals important and healthy?
Setting goals for yourself is a way of holding yourself accountable for living a life that truly matters. The goals we focus on can give us clarity about what’s truly essential to us and what’s not. If we don’t decide what our highest priorities are, there will also be someone or something else that will decide for us. Goals also help to move forward on the dreams and plans we have.
Instead of talking about a life we would love, we then live a life we love!