Why you should have goals?

24 Aug, 2011, by Seema Bhatnagar

Goal setting and achievement are important aspects of our life and many of our major life decisions are dependent on the goals we set and achieve. With the idea to reinforce the concept of goal setting, I am going to share some insight about goal setting and achievement. Goal setting and achievement would be a seven part series.

  • Part I, Why you should have goals?
  • Part II, Frameworks for setting and achieving goals.
  • Part III, Initiation
  • Part IV, Planning
  • Part V, Executing
  • Part VI, Controlling
  • Part VII, Learning

This post is part 1 of series Goal Setting and Achievement.

goal setting


You might have goals about making money? You might have goals about having relationship? You might have goals about having a dream job? You might have a goal to enjoy the best possible health?

How many times it happened that you started with enthusiasm to achieve your goals, devoted yourself with all possible energy and resources, then you enjoyed pursuing it for some period and then slowly started losing interest on finding no results or progress. This becomes a pattern in whatever goals you set to achieve and you start beating yourself up for not being suitable or strong enough to keep commitments to self.

We all have goals in life and we drive ourselves to achieve them. Keeping ourselves focused to achieve goals is one of the most difficult tasks and we usually find it hard to keep our commitments and somewhere in the middle we withdraw and start beating ourselves up for not achieving goals.

Why people fail in achieving goals?

Have you ever thought about the need of having goals in life and the reason behind your failure of achieving goals?

Goals are significant drivers of our life and they drive us towards success and fulfilment of our dreams. Without goals it feels as if we are moving directionless and there is no destination to reach. Personally, I feel very much unorganized and feel myself wasting energy and time when I run my life without setting goals. It is very important for me to have goals however small or big they may be.

Despite having clearly defined goals in front of us, sometimes we fail to achieve those. The classic example is of losing weight. Knowing it very well that you want to lose 2kg weight in next 3 weeks, initially you start with an enthusiasm and within a week's time when you see no progress you lose your interest and fall back in the same habit of eating junk food and start binging. The net result of losing weight is zero. On finding no progress and feeling guity of failure and lack of self discipline you feel depressed and as a result perhaps you put on more than before and you conclude to yourself that pursuing weight loss goal is useless, you are not made for it. But you failed to understand what was that habit/factor which made you to land up in that failure. Probably, your environment was not supportive enough, like you were going around with people who are junk food lovers or you had no healthy food options in your reach or probably you were not sufficiently motivated to hit your goals.

Similarly, there could be many more such example where you find yourself failing in achieving goals and you stopped making goals from that point onwards thinking as if you do not have that level of self discipline.

Making goals without giving sufficient thoughts about end to end planning and execution is a recipe of failure. Out of several reasons of failure in achieving goals, following are some of the main ones:

  1. Not aligned with purpose

    We enjoy and feel energized with activities which are aligned with a purpose of our life. If your goals are not aligned with your purpose of life, you would soon feel the lack of energy and would lose the enthusiasm to pursue them. Your goals must be aligned with your life purpose. If your purpose of life is to enjoy the best of health then your goal of losing weight would be more convincing and appealing to you and it is highly likely you would pursue such goal with your full enthusiasm.

  2. Lack of supportive environment

    If you are in the environment where things or people are not naturally encouraging or inclined towards your goals, you would quickly feel the lack of resolution and would give up very soon on the self commitment part. The good example would be, when people around you are food junkies and you want to reduce your food intake or you want to quit smoking but surrounded by people for whom the first love is cigarette.

  3. Not sufficiently motivated

    Your interest and enthusiasm decides the level of your motivation about pursuing your goals. If you are not sufficiently motivated towards your goals it is highly likely that you would give up very soon on pursuing your goals.

  4. Lack of knowledge

    When you embark on pursuing your goals without having appropriate knowledge about what is the best way to reach to your goal you find yourself in confusion and feel yourself unable to handle the complexity. Probably you did not conduct the proper research or did not seek advice from experienced people and straight away jumped in the action mode. When you face a critical situation for which you are not prepared, you find yourself stuck in the situation and look for an escape. This eventually makes you disinterested and you give up on pursuing your goals.

  5. Lack of patience

    We sometimes feels so action driven that we embark on the goal pursuits without giving much thought about the details and approach and want to quickly relish the end results. This results in a progress which is haphazard and goal achievement becomes merely as a game of chance. Our lack of patience is the reason for not giving sufficient time to details about goal planning.

Why should you have goals?

Making goals helps in following ways

  1. Keeps you focused

    Once you define goals for yourself, you find yourself very much focused in one direction and you can channelize your energy in a focused manner. I remember, earlier when I used to make goals in the beginning of a year as a resolution without having any definite plan or details around them. I used to find myself losing interest very quickly in pursuing them and used to land up in cursing myself for not accomplishing my goals. Later on I realized that I was missing on focus and details part about the goals which actually put me off. Once I started defining the goals with details I found myself very much focused and I could achieve my goals timely. It also helps you to manage your time better. You would feel more organized using your time more productively.

  2. Makes you accountable

    Once you define goals and commit yourself towards them it actually makes you accountable to yourself. Somewhere in the back of your mind you have that feeling that if you do not complete the task within a committed time frame, you are running away from your commitment to yourself. So this makes us you more accountable towards yourself.

  3. Brings clarity to desires and dreams

    When you define your goals clearly you experience have more clarity over your conscious mind and you would feel more charged up in pursuing them. Instead of feeling cloudiness you will start having more clarity over your thoughts, desires and dreams.

  4. Enhances motivation

    Motivation is that inner force which makes us to act.You would feel more motivated for getting into action when you see clearly defined goals in front of you. Imagine a situation when you are asked to complete a task for which you have only one line definition as compared to a task which has complete detail and steps about accomplishing it. Clearly defined goals keep you motivated and energized for achieving them.

  5. Enhances confidence

    No doubt, once you achieve your set goals, you would experience a new level of confidence in yourself. You would soon realize that you too can achieve what you set your focus on. This further enhances your motivation. So your motivation and confidence are interdependent on each other, if you enhance your confidence, your motivation will reach new high and vice versa.

  6. Helps to becomes stronger individual

    Making goals helps you to realize about your capabilities. It helps you to understand, gaps and the improvement areas due to which you could not achieve your goals. This in turn helps you to know yourself better. Knowing your weaknesses and gaps is a sure way to enhance your personal power. Your each and every single achievement of goals will help you to become stronger individual which means more trust in yourself and in your abilities.

  7. Helps you to realize your potential

    Your potential is interplay of your strengths, confidence and motivation. Your single achievement will take you one step further in realizing your potential, which means you would soon realize that as an individual you are growing and living your best potential. This ultimately will make you a stronger personality.

Our life demands continuous growth and making and achieving goals is the best way to bring that growth to ourselves. Rather than getting other people or circumstances define goals for you, it is better you define goals for yourself, and take it as a great opportunity to understand yourself, your potential, your trust in yourself and in your abilities and strengths. Think of all those instances when you defined your goals for yourself and you achieved them, didn't you feel confident, smart and thought of taking more challenges in life. So go ahead and make goals in all areas of life to make yourself a well-rounded person. Define goals for your health, career, job and relationships and feel more confident about yourself.

In next series, you will get insight about the framework for goal setting. How you should go about setting your goals and what are the different ways of setting your goals which can keep you more focused and motivated.


Related Posts

Frameworks for setting and achieving Goals
Goal Initiation
Goal Planning
Goal Execution
Goal Controlling
Learning from Goals
Life With Purpose

Seema Bhatnagar
, Blogger, Writer, Life Coach and Founder of Abundance Thinkers, site for personal growth and development. Empowering people in achieving and living the best of personal potential.

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