The importance of goal-setting
At various times during your life, you will decide that you want to change something in your life, or to work towards a significant goal. This process can be difficult, but ultimately rewarding. Alternately, you may feel adrift in the world – even though you feel that you try, you believe that you are not moving towards anything that is important to you.
The process of setting goals helps you to decide where you want to go in life. By knowing what you want to achieve, you will know where you need to concentrate your attention and energy. You will also be able to spot the distractions that can lead you astray.
How to set goals
Goal-setting requires a few steps – before you can know what to do right now, you need to know where you’re heading. The first step when setting goals is to contemplate your overall goal – this might be one for your lifetime, or perhaps one for a long period in the future (5, 10, or 20 years). Setting long-term goals gives you the overall perspective that moulds your decision making.
To begin contemplating the important areas in your life, try to think about setting goals in some of the following categories:
Once you have considered and decided on your lifetime goals, set yourself smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime goals (ie, create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and one-month plan)
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic:
- S – Specific – focused on a specific area
- M – Measurable – quantifying your goal means you can determine whether you have achieved it
- A – Achievable – goals shouldn’t be out of reach, instead aim for difficult but possible
- R – Relevant – choose goals that matter to you, not to society or other people
- T – Time-bound – life often gets in the way of our goals, so including a time-frame helps to keep on track.
When you have met a goal, take the time to enjoy your achievement. Consider the implications of the goal being reached, and assess the progress that you’ve made towards other goals. If needed, adjust your other goals based on your experience with this goal – changing targets, difficulty, or time based on whether the achieved goal was easier or harder, or was completed more quickly or slower, than anticipated.
How Seed Psychology can help
If you are finding it difficult to motivate yourself towards making or achieving goals, or are unsure what you want to achieve in life, we may be able to help. We will help you to explore your current life situation and your desired one, and assist you in planning a pathway between them. Our psychologists can also help with problem-solving, motivation, and building your psychological flexibility to better cope with setbacks as you move towards your goals.