The mission of a coach is simply to find out what the real goal of a person is, and to motivate him/her to achieve it. When changing a behavior, we want to get to the end line as quickly as possible, one strategy is to find the right actions to take - to make a plan. The best results are achieved when a person realizes the benefits of their goal by themself. Knowing the benefits of your goal, and creating an internal motivation to achieve this goal, is the psychological idea of intrinsic motivation. I have repeatedly stated that setting and achieving goals is a learnable skill but sometimes you need to search deep inside yourself to find the motivation to achieve it.
Here are seven of the top reasons for 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 anyone setting a goal like "Start Smoking" or "Drink more Beer". If you want to be a healthy, energetic, productive person, your goals should reflect that. When you make progress towards your goals it reinforces your behavior and helps you realize what you value.
When setting a goal you may get distracted and lose sight of the end results. Setting small, healthy, and realistic goals that are aligned with your beliefs and values is an easy way to stay on track towards your end goal.
2. Learn about yourself
One of the most important skills in life is to know why you do what you do. What makes you tick?
Spiritual leaders teach us to listen to our bodies and the voice inside our head. But too often our constant thoughts and inner dialog make us miserable. Then we use this negative energy to fuel our actions, reinforcing the cycle. To combat this cycle, we need to be aware of our negative thoughts, and create strategies to combat them. The best method to combat negative thought patterns is through mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been shown to help to get rid of addictions, as well as many other health related issues. Are you familiar with the situation where you know what you should be doing, but you just can't find the motivation to get started or you do something totally different instead? This is something that has plagued all of us, but there are ways to combat this behavior. If you have a clear path to reach your end goal, but you often get distracted and stray from the path, try taking a moment to listen to the chatter inside your head. Try to pay attention to the thoughts going through your head, and figure out why your thoughts are not helping you achieve your goal. Find the issues in your thought patterns, and address them and work to change these thought patterns in a positive way. Finding out what makes you tick, and what motivates you, can make a huge difference in taking action.
3. Motivate yourself
Repeated millions of times in every goal-setting book, a clear plan gives you momentum to reach your end goal. When you have:
- A goal or a vision where you want to go
- A schedule or a deadline
- Milestones and clear steps to get there
If you follow these, you will see progress and get the motivation to work towards your goals.
4. Make yourself happier and add meaning to your life
Setting positive goals and making progress towards those goals has been shown to increase happiness. If you have a goal, and you are passionate about your goal, it will give you a reason to wake up.
In the legendary book, The Magic of Thinking Big, one thing to take away from that book is to make a goal which is unattainable. A slightly unrealistic goal gives you the enthusiasm to make a little bit of progress everyday towards your goal. Even if you don't end up reaching your goal, you will still be much closer to your end goal than where you began.
5. Stop procrastinating
Do you have days where you get nothing done at all? Or you seem to be productive but your multitasking generates no real concrete results?
Try to set a goal with a clear plan. Plan out step by step how you will achieve your goal, and what steps are needed to get there. See what happens when you plan things out. As the famous proverb goes: "Well planned is half done."
6. Get and stay healthy
We don't appreciate our health enough until we lose it. Setting goals and following through with them are one of the biggest elements of living a healthy lifestyle. Even if your goal is not directly health related, setting a goal gives you positive energy which leads to healthy lifestyle choices.
Secondly, the ever-growing evidence about how much stress affects our health is clear. In present times, it is so natural for us to contemplate every possible thing that might go wrong. We focus on the small possibility of something bad happening and ignore the fact that 99.9% of the situations we think of will never happen.
Nowadays there are so many opportunities and temptations to choose from that one of the biggest sources of stress is not knowing which choice to make. By making that first choice, to have a goal and plan out how to achieve that goal, you eliminate the stress of making a decision for the rest of the process. You now have a plan, all you need to do now is to stick to it.
7. Focus and get something done
Whether you consciously set a goal or not, every action you take is to achieve a goal. If you are about to eat, your goal is to not be hungry anymore, or to enjoy the food you are eating. But you don't need a written plan for how to eat food - you know how to do that from experience. If you want to achieve something new and more complex, - 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 when you set a goal, you need to remind your unconscious mind about it as often as possible. You might call that "unconscious stuff" bullshit, (like I still often do) because your unconsciousness is by definition, not in your conscious thoughts. But science tells us that your unconscious thoughts motivate the behaviors you take, even if you don't feel it most of the time, there is still something behind the scenes reminding you about the goals you desire.
Goals produce habits
Whatever your goals may be, you need to turn it into a habit. When you keep repeating the positive actions towards your goal it starts to form a routine, or a habit. Habits make us who we are, and healthy habits produce healthy human beings.