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Why should we have goals?

It is common sense that in order to get somewhere, you have to know where it is that you’re heading and that in order to be successful, you have to know what you really want from your life.

Nevertheless, few of us are aware that when we know what we want and we take action toward that future, we feel happier and more satisfied with our lives . It is important that we have a vision regarding our future and that we set goals accordingly.

In the following I shall sum up the benefits of setting goals in order to highlight the way they impact our lives.

  • Writing down your goals unleashes positive thinking (because they make you focus on what you want, and not on what you don’t want); it also steers ideas and resources toward accomplishing them. Goals guide your thoughts in the right direction. We become what we think of most of the time, while the outer world reshapes itself as a reflection of what we are.
  • By setting goals you choose what is truly important to you. It also helps you set a course that you commit to. If goals lack commitment, they are worthless. Writing down your goals enhances your commitment.
  • It gives you a feeling of control and increased responsibility for your life. This will make you set more difficult goals, take greater commitment related to them and accomplish more. Once you reach some of your goals, you will want to set higher goals and accomplish more.
  • Goals give you a feeling of significance and purpose in life. Heading toward them will make you feel happier and stronger. The fact that we are closer to our goals (and not the fact that we have reached them) increases the satisfaction we have with our lives.
  • Goals help you manage the flow of change in your life and overcome the fear of change (change that is now a permanent part of our lives).
  • Action is represented in our minds through a hierarchic diagram of goals. When we plan and imagine a future action, our brain (the prefrontal cortex) will process the information in the form of goals and objectives. When we act, we are constantly and naturally setting goals and pursue goals.
  • Challenging goals make us think longer and more creatively in order to find strategies to accomplish them and methods to measure the progress made toward them.
  • Specific and challenging goals make us achieve greater performances in our daily life. Difficult goals do not decrease motivation, on the contrary, they lead to an increased inner motivation, a better output of effort  and an improved performance.
  • Challenging goals are tools for obtaining a series of adjoining positive results as well: pride for accomplishing them, an increased feeling of capability and success in life.
  • Goals help you set a series of learning objectives and develop the strategies that will get you to the results you feel are truly relevant for you and your life.
  • Clear goals raise your self-trust, they expand your skills and raise the motivation level. As we learn how to become better in the process of reaching our goals, our perceived self-efficacy rises (the feeling that we can accomplish a designated task).