It’s certainly no secret that the many benefits of setting goals outweigh any disadvantages. It will come as no surprise that I am a huge advocate of goal setting, and it’s not because I’m a life coach but because I have personally benefited from setting, achieving, and even failing to achieve my goals. From the moment back in 2013 when I took the leap to start my own business, I have personally seen both personal and professional goal setting reap significant rewards for goal setters. Over the years, there has been a lot of research conducted on the ‘behind the scenes’ of goal setting and the benefits it brings to the life of the goal setter. So, what are the benefits of setting goals?
The Benefits of Setting Goals
In the paragraphs below we will focus on four main benefits of setting goals can bring to the life of the goal setter: Better Performance, A Positive Mindset, Laser Sharp Focus, and Overcome Procrastination.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting goals is making them too small and easily achievable. The secret to sustaining motivation is to set larger goals that challenge. I know this may seem counterintuitive, however when you raise the goal setting the bar to a goal that is beyond your reach, you automatically feel motivated. The key is to find the sweet spot between a goal that is too big and, as a result, you feel overwhelmed and a goal that is challenging enough to inspire motivation. A big challenge will promote a higher lever of performance. In other words, if you put more effort into your goals, you get more out.
Leading goal setting theorist (yes, they do exist), Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, suggest, as long as goal setters stay committed, focused, and develop the necessary skill set; there is a direct link between the challenge of the goal and the level of performance put in by the goal setter.
One of the biggest payoffs to reach a higher level of performance is a greater emotional reward. There is a boost in self-esteem that you get when you achieve something big. For instance, I wrote a similar section on the benefits of goal setting in my book, SMARTER Goal Setting last. As I saw the word count getting closer and closer to the books word count goal, there is a sense of excitement, enthusiasm, perhaps a little adrenaline as well, that is building up as I finish the first draft. Locke and Latham discuss this same emotional reward in a multiyear study where professionals reported a greater level of satisfaction as well as well-being, only if their goals were challenging. However, as I suggested earlier goals should challenge but not overwhelm which leads to the second benefit of setting goals.
A well-constructed goal should challenge and stretch but not overwhelm. An impossible goal promotes disengagement because we feel instantly defeated by a looming task before us; this is a mindset or perception issue. A positive mindset is essential for success. Research has been conducted by theorists, on goals that challenge and stretch goal setters. The findings clearly show that you can produce surprising results if the goal setter can imagine the possibility of accomplishing it. This result implies the one of the benefits of setting goals that are challenging without overwhelming is a more positive mindset. This positive mindset will trigger to a greater level of performance.
Various studies have been conducted, where a team of people was given a seemingly impossible task to complete. At first the teams performance was weak. In the second phase of the study, the team was informed by the researcher staff, that another team was able to complete the task 85 percent faster. Upon hearing the news, that the task was possible, the performance levels increased, and as a result, they become more creative and came up with a solution to complete the task. This change of mindset to what is possible is directly correlated with their new level of performance. While you are probably not setting goals as a team, instead setting them for yourself, the greatest benefit you have is you can set the bar as high as you need, to promote a more positive mindset, and as a result, achieve the best possible results.
Laser Sharp Focus
One of the more obvious benefits of setting goals is becoming more focused. A goal will give you focus and direction. A lack of focus and direction will leave you feeling lost and unfilled. As a Life Coach, I believe that everyone can create the lifestyle of his or her dreams, I know this seems cheesy, however, without focus we are left aimless. Life without a focus renders your potential and abilities useless in a similar way that an arrow cannot be propelled through the air without a bow. Nothing can be achieved unless there is an intention set by a goal. Unless you define what you want, you will lack focus and struggle to achieve anything.
‘If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.’ -Zig Ziglar
The last and final benefit of setting goals comes from the process of writing the goals down and reviewing them daily. According to a study completed by Professor Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, the simple process of writing down your goals and reviewing them daily will increase your likelihood of achieving your goal by 48 percent just by doing this one simple act. Reviewing your goals serves you twofold. Firstly it serves as a reminder of what you want to accomplish and to take action. Secondly, reviewing your goals helps you overcome procrastination through accountability.
Setting goals and reviewing them is in complete contrast to doing something on a whim because there is no invested interest in whether you complete the task. When you go through the process of setting goals, you become invested in the outcome. A benefit of writing and reviewing goals is it will stick in your mind, and if they are not completed your brain will start to remind you. These reminders serve as a prevention against laziness and procrastination if you choose to listen to them. Similarly, if you choose to ignore these reminders, procrastination will set in.
Over the last few months, I have been working hard on my second book, SMARTER Goal Setting. This second book not only highlights the benefits of setting goals but helps you setting meaningful goals that are in line with your core values and life vision. As a result, you set goals you actually want to achieve; when set goals correctly, this eliminates procrastination and compels you to take action. SMARTER Goal Setting provides you will the principles to get the life you want. This book is more than just a book with ten principles it contains downloadable tools to help you immediately take action and get the life you want. It will be available in ebook, paperback, audiobook, and eCourse formats. I am super excited to share this with you because I believe the book contains tons of valuable tried and tested principles that actually work.
Better Performance, a positive mindset, Laser Sharp Focus, and an inbuilt system to overcome procrastination are just some of the benefits of setting goals. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that if you don’t put in the work, you naturally will not reap any of the benefits or rewards.
Thank you for reading this long blog post, I really appreciate you reading, commenting, and sharing. Now, I’d love to hear from you. What benefits have you received from setting goals? I would love to hear your story, share your story in the comments box below.