Updated: Mar 26, 2020
It is not coincidence that all successful people set up goals. Many do it in writing and others picture it. Any good leader knows how important goal setting is.
When we have a goal, we have a clear destination, we prioritize important tasks, we control our future, we get motivated, we effectively manage our time, we live an effective life, and we accomplish our dreams more quickly, achieving better results.
When I did not know about goal setting, I had goals, but they were useless or vague. For example, some of my goals were to make more money, make my car faster, pay my bills, go party over the weekend, and become a waiter (because I was a busboy). I never really accomplished anything except for getting speeding tickets, getting drunk, and wasting the money I made. But yes, I paid my bills.
Now my life is different. I have accomplished a couple of goals that contribute to my happiness, to the world and to my freedom.
For example, I opened Custom Body Fitness Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, founded Canine Outreach Care and Rescue, wrote two books, and own two pieces of real estate. I know many others have achieved more than this, but the point is that goal setting has helped me to achieve my goals. I could never have accomplished these without the help of goal setting. Therefore, I know goal setting works.
Let’s clarify how goal setting helps...
For example, if you know you are losing 30 pounds because you want to improve your health and defeat diabetes, to fit in your wedding dress, or to increase your self-confidence, most likely you are going to be investing your time doing the right things because of your clear destination. We can compare this to going to the supermarket — when we know we are missing tomatoes to make a delicious sauce for our dinner, we go straight to get tomatoes. However, if we don’t know why we are going to the supermarket, we can end up buying potato chips, a pastry, canned food, candy or anything else that may not help us with our sauce.
We prioritize important tasks...
If the goal is losing those 30 pounds, we know that we need to eat on schedule, eat whole foods, stop eating junk food, exercise at least 30 minutes every day and stop drinking alcohol, among other things. Since we have a clear goal, all our energy is focused on achieving it, and even if we relapse, we get up and continue moving towards your goal.
Because our goal is important, instead of wasting time watching TV, surfing the web, or going out at night with friends, we invest the time in the priorities that will get us closer to our goal. Instead of going out, we cook; instead of waking up late, we wake up early and exercise.
Controlling our future...
Many of us lose our temper when we lose control of a situation. Having control of the future helps us be more secure and gives us the self-confidence that everything will be okay. While we are not certain about our future, goal setting is the best way to know what can happen in our future based on what we have control over. For example, if you don’t want to develop diabetes or be overweight, we can control that part of our lives by setting goals. On the other hand, if we have no goals and just make bad choices, the chances of us developing diabetes or gaining weight is greater.
It help us get motivated...
When we predict the future and we know that the future seems promising, we get motivated to practice the right habits. We get extremely inspired because the future seems great. For example, when things happen that were not supposed to happen and demoralize me, I continue practicing the right habits because my future motivates me. This happens to me when I project my future and set my goals. If there are no goals or promising future and we only live for what life brings us, we lose motivation when things become hard.
There are only 24 hours in one complete day. When we don’t have goals we do whatever we feel like depending on our mood. If we feel like sleeping long hours, we do; if we feel lazy and want to watch TV, we do; if we feel like eating junk food, we do because there is no goal at which to aim. This can be compared to shooting. If we don’t have a target we can shoot at the sky, the tree, the car, the other tree and anything that we can think about. Like I mentioned before, when we have goals we invest our time meticulously towards our goals instead of just doing what we feel like because of the mood we are in.
Living an effective life...
Many of you already know that being in shape helps in many ways, from increasing self-esteem, having a better appearance, losing weight, having more energy, being independent, avoiding diseases to setting an example for our family. When we set goals and achieve them, we have conquered only part of our real purpose. We become more knowledgeable, resilient, and a better person over all. That gives us the courage to continue moving forward and live our purpose, leaving a legacy as we do it. This not only improves our lives and our families but improves the whole world.
Setting goals is the fastest way to get to our destination, realizing our dreams.
When I set my goals, I keep in mind a couple of things:
Goals should not be vague. For example, “I want to lose weight.” If you said that, you could get rid of an arm and lose weight, dehydrate yourself or even lose one pound and you’ve achieved that goal. So it should be clear: How much fat do you want to lose per month? Is fat the only thing you want to lose? Do you want to add muscle? Or do you only want to fit in your wedding dress? Or do you want a toned back to show when wearing your dress?
Setting goals should have a purpose, and the purpose should give you a positive sustainable result. For example, my goal was to make my car fast to feel cool and to win street races, but how would that contribute to my future and fulfillment?
Losing weight for the sake of losing weight does not give you enough motivation. If you focus on losing weight, it does not mean anything until you attach it to your emotions. When your emotions are involved your motivation increases. For example, losing 20 pounds to fit into your wedding dress sounds better than just losing 20 pounds. Or losing 30 pounds because I am tired of not enjoying life and doing what I love to do such as hiking, running or anything with my friends because I am embarrassed when they have to wait for me. If your mom died of a heart attack and you don’ t want to die the same way, that is also attached to your emotions.
Set a time limit...
If you don’t set a specific time, you could take all your life trying to achieve your goal. For example, when I bought my first apartment I wanted the freedom not to pay a mortgage, and that helped me to create a specific goal to know how much the apartment should cost and when I wanted to pay it off. Even though I asked for a five-year loan, I ended up paying it in two and a half years. So this goal has a purpose: I don’t want to pay rent, and I want to have my freedom. The time I gave myself to pay off the loan was 5 years; it is very specific. If I hadn’t done that, I might have gotten distracted with fancy cars and wasted my money on one of them when I can’t afford it and have it take 30 years or longer to pay my mortgage.
I did not spend money on unnecessary things, I worked hard to make that money; I could see myself owning the place so I wouldn’t have to pay rent. That gave me the motivation to continue working and improving myself even when I didn’t feel like it. I managed my time and invested it into working and saving money instead of spending it. My life was more effective thinking about the future, and I am living my dream. Same goes to your weight loss, if you have it clear why you want to lose weight and set a time limit, you may even get faster to your desired weight.
Keep track of goals:
The fact that I could see how much money I was paying and how fast I was saving it gave me the motivation to pay the apartment off even faster. When you take measurements and see real results, you know where all the effort of eating healthily and exercising is going, giving you the endorphins that you need to continue moving forward, motivating you eve