3 Reasons to Set Goals
Oh no, not another posting on setting goals! I hear you groan.
Goal setting is the hardy perennial of personal development. Something which is seen as absolutely vital to create the life you want. I've been to both extremes - being both a dedicated goal setter and having few goals (if any) at all. Right now I'd say that I'm in the middle.
Steven Shapiro, author of Goal Free Living is of the belief that goals can actually get in the way of actually living, because they encourage us to focus on the future and can make us inflexible as to the hidden opportunities which await us now. He doesn't advocate directionless living. He states that we should have a general idea and direction of where we want to go, but to remain fully present, authentic and open to other possibilities.
This sounds good to me. And is a pretty good summary of where I am right now.
Even so I still advocate setting goals for the following reasons:
1. To discover your values
Now there are some schools of thought which suggest that you set your goals after you've discovered your values. I agree with this. But this can often feel a little vague. Sometimes it is good to set a goal that you are excited about working towards and achieving (very important) and then the values inherent within that goal often reveals itself. It is a process of discovery (different values at different phases of your life) and a fluid process.
2. To find out what you really want
How you feel about the goal shows whether it is indicative of whether it is truly aligned with what you really want out of life. Your feelings are a fabulous guidance system and you'll know if your goal resonates authentically within you. If it doesn't then the goal is likely to be a "should" "have to" or "ought to" and your spirit will not co-operate in successful achievement of the goal. You'll learn a lot from this process too. But you'll never know unless you set a definitive goal.
3. Goals give you direction
Well that's pretty obvious isn't it? But there's more to it than that. The process of achieving the goal leads you down a particular path and on the way you may decide that you want to go down another route. But setting the original goal was instrumental in bringing you there.
The process of achieving a goal should be just as compelling as its actual completion, if not more so. Because, if you're flexible and open, it'll draw you into avenues that you may not have considered otherwise and which could prove to more fulfilling, satisfying and lucrative. That is the mystery and beauty of life and why you should continue to set goals.