What does your calendar have listed for today’s activities? In some ways, people have infinite choices about where they spend their time and how they fill their calendar. In other ways, life can feel routine and scripted. The to-do list can easily dominate people’s schedules. Many people squeeze in activities they want to do when or if they have time. Image for a moment if that situation were reversed. What if your calendar were not mundane but filled you with excitement about the future? Through goal setting, many people are infusing more and more of what they want to be doing into their calendars. In many ways, small but significant changes today can make a big difference in people’s lives for the long-term.
“The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun,
in the short run. It seems to me, though, that
the people who get things done, who lead,
who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”
Many studies have shown the power of setting goals—often high-achievers are also goal-setters. Despite the clear correlation, many people struggle to set goals and make significant changes in their lives. Seth Godin points to the heart of the challenge: setting goals is harder in the short-term but better in the long-term. There is no way to bypass the short-term sacrifice a worthy goal demands, but it is always okay to ask for help. In fact, many people are doing just that—they are turning to a counselor or a coach to help them overcome the sacrifice required for their long-term success.
The mental health professionals at Thriveworks Boston have helped many people add more of what they want to do into their calendar by picking strategic goals that align with what they care about most in their lives.
The Importance of Goal Setting
Every day, people are barraged with distractions that knock them off course from what they want to accomplish. Goals are often the antidote to these diversions. Well-set goals often help by…
- Aiming attention at what is most important each day.
- Stimulate difficult but effective behaviors.
- Coordinate people’s focus and their actions so that they work together, toward the same target.
- Boost incentives and interests so that motivation is sustained during setbacks.
- Strengthen self-control.
Goal Specifics: What to Give Your Time and Effort To
One of the keys to setting goals is to aim at a variety of targets. While goals will always involve some form of challenge and growth, aiming at different types of goals can make the process more interesting. A goal is simply an expression of what people value and the causes for which people are willing to give their time and effort. Therefore, goals can be set for anything. A few examples of the types of goals people can set include…
- Financial: What role do you want to give money in your life? Do you want to prioritize earning? Spending? Giving? All three?
- Pleasurable: Where do you feel refreshed and restored? Who puts a smile on your face? What activities energize you?
- Career: How can your skills, passions, and talents be utilized in the professional world?
- Familial: What relationships do you want to improve or cultivate within your family? What kind of a home life do you want to enjoy?
- Educational: How can you grow, explore, or learn more? What formative relationships or expanding experiences can you pursue?
- Artistic: Where does your creativity come alive? How can time for producing, supporting, or engaging art enrich your life?
- Physical: What changes could strengthen your health? What areas of your health do you want to prioritize?
- Attitude: Who do you want to be? What kind of character do you want to cultivate? Being more patient? Kind? Self-controlled?
People can set a goal for anything…to visit Fiji within the next five years…to find another job within the year…to write birthday cards to all their siblings this year. People who utilize goals within their lives often set big and small goals, professional and personal goals, serious and funny goals. Now, the specifics of a goal will vary, but the form should not. When goals take a certain form, they are often more powerful. Well-set goals are often…
- Time-bound: Every target should have a time frame: a day, two weeks, three years…the amount of time should be reasonable but challenging. A deadline gives people a light at the end of the tunnel and often motivates.
- Written: Goals should always be documented in some form. They can be hand-written or in an electronic document. Putting specific words to a goal often gives them power, and people can review written goals.
- Specific: Details make all the difference when setting a goal. Specific goals allow people to know that they have succeeded and thus trigger a feeling of satisfaction. For example, “becoming stronger” is a vague goal, but “attending a strength class at the gym twice a week for a month” is a specific goal.
- Shared: Asking for help is a normal part of the goal setting process. Let people who will support you know about your goal. Recruit them to be allies, and ask for tangible help when necessary.
Schedule an Appointment at Thriveworks Boston
Friends and family can certainly support people as they set life goals, but often times, people need more assistance. Many people are turning to life coaches or counselors to guide them as they set and achieve their life goals. At Thriveworks Boston, more and more clients are scheduling appointments for goal setting help.
If you are ready to meet with a Thriveworks Boston professional, know that our office accepts most forms of insurance. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and most new clients have their first session within 24 hours of their first call to our office. If you are ready to set a goal, we are ready to help. Contact Thriveworks Boston for more information.