Everyone says you should have goals... but why? Click through to find out and get your free goal setting worksheet.

Goal Setting. It is something everyone is supposed to do, but why? Why have we been encouraged, since grade school, to set and work to achieve goals? What is the point of setting goals?

There are some advantages to goal setting that can help with both professional and personal development.

Why Should I Set Goals?

Setting goals helps us work towards something. I don’t know about you, but I work best when I have something to work towards. Setting a goal allows you to take steps to achieve something big which can be motivating when you are procrastinating or feeling discouraged.

Setting goals allows you to measure your progress. If you effectively set goals, you can easily monitor your progress. If you are getting off track, you will know how to get back on track. But if you are measuring your goals and are on track, it is quite encouraging!

Setting goals makes you a better person. Part of the purpose of setting goals is to make yourself better either personally or professionally (or both). You wouldn’t set a goal and work towards it if it was destructive to you. Think about that when you set goals, that will also aid in your motivation.

Finally, setting goals helps you decide what is important in your life. Once you sit down and really think about what you want with your life, your goals will easily follow. Setting real, achievable goals will help you clearly see what matters to you and what is important to you.

Ultimately, goal setting helps motivate you towards an end game that will help you grow personally and professionally.

Types of Goals

You should set a few types of goals: personal, professional, short-term, and long-term.

For me, I create short-term personal goals, short-term professional goals, long-term personal goals and long-term professional goals. You can define short-term and long-term as you see fit. If you are new to goal setting or getting reacquainted with it, create shorter durations.

For example, set three month and six month goals. Setting goals in two different categories — personal and professional — helps break things down and allows you to equally focus on both crucial parts of your life. Here are some great example goals in each category:

  • Personal: work out three times a week; read one book a month; go to lunch with a different friend once a month.
  • Professional: find a mentor; attend one networking event a quarter; meet with your direct supervisor to find out how you are doing at work.

It doesn’t matter what the specific goals are, but focus on goals that go beyond just work or just your career. You are the sum of both of those worlds, and your goals should reflect that. Additionally, create goals that actually matter to you. You are more likely to work towards achieving them if they are meaningful as opposed to just writing down what you think your goals should be.

Goal Setting Mistakes

Now that you have decided that goal setting matters and what types of goals you need to set, you need to know some of the things to avoid:

  • Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you know you can’t achieve a goal within your desired time frame, don’t set that goal. Break it into smaller, more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t set too many goals. You know what your life is like and what you can handle, so set a few goals that you know you can work to achieve.
  • Don’t forget to write your goals down. If you don’t write down your goals, you won’t remember them and you can’t hold yourself accountable to them. Feel free to get creative when you write them down, or write them down in a place you will see on a regular basis, but you have to write them down.
  • Don’t forget to monitor your progress. There is no reason to set goals if you aren’t keeping track of them.
  • Don’t give up too quickly. Goals can be like New Year’s Resolutions if we aren’t careful. We set them, forget about them, and then just give up. These are supposed to make you better, so challenge yourself to keep working towards your goals.
  • Don’t forget to share your goals! Find accountability partners if you need to, but share your goals with someone. This will help you achieve them. When I tell someone I will do something, I try harder than when I just tell myself.

Now that you have the basics, go out and set goals! Sit down and ask yourself, what is important to me? How do I want to get better? What do I want to learn? Write those things down, form them into SMART goals and start working to achieve them! Comment below with one goal you are working on, remember, writing it down and sharing it helps!

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