“Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ve gotta have goals,” I can hear you sneering right now, “Tell me something I haven’t heard!”
Am I right?
And I would agree with you, except. Except for the actual experience I have with my clients.
So many of the clients I work with know they should have big, challenging goals for both their business and their life–and maybe at one point in time they did–but they’ve veered from this fundamental discipline. In so doing, they’re adrift, driven by the wind and waves of circumstance and the demanding expectations of others.
Does this describe you?
Here’s some encouragement to get you back on track, 21 amazing benefits to having big goals:
1. Goals focus your energy
With so many things to do in a day, how do you choose from the myriad of options? Big goals, well-chosen and well-defined, help you cut through the clutter of the urgent and do that which is truly important.
2. Goals measure your work
What gets measured gets done. It really is that simple. It’s the way we’re wired as human beings. Specific goals provide measurement so what you need to get done–exactly what you need to get done–gets done. Without fail.
3. Goals activate your emotions
There’s something about the human spirit that’s inspired by a challenge. We get fired up to do that which is out of the ordinary and pushes the envelope. That’s what big goals do, they fully engage the heart, activating our emotions.
4. Goals strengthen your will
And when you face unexpected obstacles in the pursuit of a goal, the goal itself keeps you going. You just can’t let it go! Even when your emotions tell you to quit, your volition doesn’t allow it. Big goals produce dogged determination.
5. Goals make work fun
Why do we love playing games? Because it’s fun to keep score. Try bowling all day without keeping score. Boring. Trying working all day without knowing how you’re doing. Also boring.
6. Goals help you get better at what you do
Keeping score has an additional benefit. Yes, it’s fun to keep score, but it’s even more fun to improve that score and get better at what you’re doing every day. Setting a big goal and measuring its progress does that for you.
7. Goals tell you when to take a break
If you’re like me, you need someone to tell you when to stop working. Right? A big goal does that, because, when it’s achieved, you know you can stop and take a break for awhile. At least until you’ve set another big goal.
8. Goals give you a reason to celebrate
When a big goal gets done, it’s cause for rejoicing. Go out to dinner, pop open the champagne, order the finest steak in the restaurant. A completed goal is cause for a party. Throw one!
MORE: How Many Goals Should You Have?
9. Goals force you to ask why
Any big, challenging goal should make you think more deeply about it. “Why am I doing this?” you ask yourself. That’s a good question! Answer it and you just found high octane fuel to send your goal into orbit.
10. Goals force you to ask how
Another question a big goal forces you to ask is this, “How in the world am I going to get this done?” Again, answer it! When you do, you just got your marching orders to move forward with your goal.
11. Goals are the mother of invention
Many times when asking how, no answer comes to mind. But you’ve got this big goal you’re committed to completing. So you think and think and think and bam!, the perfect solution comes to mind. Goals provide the necessity that gives birth to innovation.
12. Goals get you living in the present not the past
Yeah, I got stuff in my life, as I’m sure you do too, that I’d rather not remember. What will keep you from brooding on that stuff and spinning into a depressing black hole? A big goal. It pulls you out of your own pity party about the past and places you squarely in the present, doing that which is positive and productive.
13. Goals give you a way to tell others what you do
Try explaining what you do to someone, and watch their eyes glaze over. Tell them the big goal you’re working on, and that’s a different story. They’ll be on the edge of their seat and just might join you in getting it done.
14. Goals give you a way to encourage others to put aside their differences
There’s nothing more frustrating as a leader that to have the members of your team bickering among themselves. It sucks energy from the group and keeps important work from getting done. Getting people focused on a common goal, however, forces them to put their differences aside. There’s no time for such nonsense, they’ve got a job to do. Big goals put pettiness in its place.
15. Goals provide the yes that allows you to say no
One of the trickiest things we have to do in life is saying no others’ requests for our time. A goal however, is a yes that allows you to say no. “I’m so sorry, I would love to do that, but…” You’re not being lame, you’ve got a big goal to complete and there’s only so much of you to go around.
16. Goals get you thinking about what might go wrong
When you really care about a goal, a big goal, you start thinking about the things that threaten it. Good thinking! Now address that threat so it won’t derail the goal. Clouds in the sky shouldn’t keep you from going on a picnic, it should remind you to bring an umbrella.
17. Goals give a deadline to a dream
It’s fun to dream, but most dreams never actually get done. Why? Because they’ve not been turned into a goal, and, as a result, they’re just empty wishes. Give that dream a deadline, and now you’ve got a goal. And goals, as opposed to mere wishes, have a good chance of getting done.
18. Goals bring greater personal satisfaction
The ultimate indignity in life is to do meaningless work day after day with no sense of accomplishment in it. That’s the fate of Sisyphus, a fate we must fight with every fiber of our being. Setting and achieving big, challenging goals fights that fate for us.
19. Goals give people a reason to respect you (even though they may not like you)
Deal with it, not everyone is going to like you. I know that’s hard to accept, being so wonderful as you are. But let me ask you this: Who can argue with results? When you become a person who sets and achieves big, challenging goals, even the most grudging in their approval will not be able to withhold it.
20. Goals get you up in the morning with a spring in your step
Nothing is worse than another dreary day with no reason for it to exist. When you’ve got a reason to get up and get going each day–insert your big goal here–getting out of bed is no problem. You can’t wait to get working on that goal.
21. Goals give birth to other big goals
“What else can I do?” you ask yourself when you’ve completed a big, challenging goal. “Anything you set your mind to,” is the answer you can give, because you know how to set and achieve goals. You have power, awesome power. Bring on the world!