The mission of a coach is simply to find out what is the real goal of a person and motivate him/her to achieve it. We also want to get to the goal line as quickly as possible so one assignment is to find the right actions to take - to produce a plan. The best results are reached when a person realizes the benefits of the goal herself what in psychology is called intrinsic motivation. I have repeatedly stated that setting and achieving goals is a learnable skill but sometimes you need to search deep in yourself to find the motivation.
Here are seven of the many reasons why you should set goals.
1. Where do you want to end up in life?
Goals reflect your values and standards. I have never seen someone setting a goal like "Start Smoking" or "Drink more Beer". If you value and want to see yourself as a healthy, energetic, productive citizen, your goals will reflect that self-image. When making progress it reinforces your values and realizes your values - actually makes it real.
When setting a goal you get the direction where you want to go and it's harder to slip into the side paths. Setting small, healthy, and realistic goals that are aligned with your beliefs and values is an easy way to stay on the road of progress.
2. Learn about yourself
Maybe the most important skill in life is to know why you do what you do. What makes you tick?
The spiritual leaders teach us to listen to our bodies and the voice inside our heads because the constant thoughts and inner dialog make us miserable. Then our actions reinforce the thoughts and other way around. When you set a goal and start working towards it, you will learn important (and really interesting!) things about yourself - like the mind game of motivation, going out of the comfort zone, and the inner dialog (of excuses) why not to take action.
Mindfulness has been shown to help to get rid of addictions and people around the world seem to find benefit from it. Do you know the situation of knowing what you should do but you just can't seem to get started or you do something totally different? If you have a clear plan for what you should do (the goal or a milestone) but your actions (behavior) are not towards it, you know what I'm talking about. Taking a moment to listen to the chatter inside the brain can make a huge difference in taking action.
3. Motivate yourself
Repeated millions of times before in every goal-setting book a clear plan gives you momentum. When you have
- A goal or a vision where you want to go
- Schedule or deadline
- Milestones and clear steps to get there
you see the progress and get the motivation to work towards accomplishment.
4. Make yourself happier and get meaning
Setting goals the right way and making progress has been shown to increase happiness. If you have a goal you are passionate about it gives you a reason to wake up.
In the legendary book, The Magic of Thinking Big one take away is to make a goal which is slightly unrealistic but it gives the enthusiasm to make little progress every day towards it. Even if you don't reach your goal exactly how you planned it, you will still proceed in the right direction where you want to go in life.
5. Stop procrastination
Do you have days when you get nothing done? Or you seem to be productive but multitasking generates no real concrete results?
Try to set a goal and a clear plan. See what happens. The famous proverb goes: "Well planned is half done".
6. Get and stay healthy
We don't appreciate health before we lose it. Even if your goal is not directly about living a healthy lifestyle, setting a goal gives you positive energy which leads to healthy lifestyle choices.
Secondly, the ever-growing evidence about how stress affects our health is clear. The preset direction in life keeps you busy and let's less time to ponder all the negative things - from which 99,9% will never happen. Nowadays there are so many opportunities and temptations to choose from that one big source of stress is not to know what to go after.
7. Focus and get something done
Whether you consciously set a goal or not, you will get nothing done without a one. If you are about to eat, your goal is to get your stomach full but you don't need a written plan for it - you know from experience how to make yourself satisfied. If you want to achieve something new, more complex and time-consuming - like saving money or changing your diet - you need a clear plan to be successful.
One thing every self-improvement guru emphasizes in their seminar is that you set a goal and remind your unconscious mind about it as often as possible. You might call that "unconscious stuff" bullshit (like I still often do) because you actually need to work hard,even if you don't feel it most of the times, but there is definitely something behind reminding yourself about the goals you desire - at least you remember what your goals are!
Goals produce habits
It doesn't really matter what your goal are. When you keep repeating the positive actions towards your goal it starts to form a routine. Habits makes us who we are and healthy habits produce healthy human beings.