Introduction to Setting Personal Goals

I am a millennial, and I go through all the problems typically associated with people my age. We grew up with the idea that anything and everything is possible. But the vast array of options has led to widespread dissatisfaction: we tend to never be satisfied with the things we achieve, always wanting more. After becoming dissatisfied with a job, I quit — having no idea what I wanted to do next.

But I had big plans for the future — a family, a house, a white picket fence. The pressure was on, and I knew my next move — or moves — had to be good ones. My vision of my future depended on it.

It wasn’t until I sat down and created a real roadmap for myself that it all started to fall into place. Scientific studies show that setting personal goals and creating a life plan — rather than just having an image in your head — increases your chances of success. For me, mapping out my own path gave me peace of mind and new insights into my behavior. It helped me realize that the dreams I have for my life are within reach. My advice? Take charge of your own roadmap. Sit down and make a plan!

I have set goals for myself and made plans according to a growth model I created myself, based on models proven to grow, or “upscale” companies. On this website, I will guide you through these models and show you everything you need to know about setting and achieving goals for yourself as you set out on your unique journey toward personal success.

What are personal goals?

Personal goals are the things we want to achieve in our lives. They are much more meaningful than the basic things we need to do to survive. Unlike short-term objectives and daily routines, long-term life goals drive our actions and attitudes over a longer period.

Because all life goals are personal, these ambitions can take a variety of forms. They lay the foundation for a unique sense of direction and serve as a guide as we seek happiness and well-being.

Psychology refers to personal goals as action plans we set for ourselves — action plans to guide us toward the right decisions at the right times. Edwin Locke, a pioneer in the field of goal-setting and creator of the SMART acronym, performed a study on working professionals, and found that individuals who had set ambitious goals for themselves had a better performance and output over those who did not set goals.

Why should we set personal goals?

Almost all of us have dreams. We know what we want to try, and what makes us happy. We might have a vague idea how we can achieve those dreams. Setting personal goals and creating a concrete plan can be beneficial in helping us along the path toward success.

1. Setting goals can promote happiness

When goals are based on personal values, they have meaning to us. Purposefully striving for something bigger and better is a key element in “the happiness theory” in psychology. Along with positive relationships, achievements, emotions and engagements, it contributes to what we think of as “the good life.”

Personal goals are the things we envision for ourselves beyond our daily existence. They can be pursued in unique and personal ways — and provide a sense of fulfillment when we get them. According to 2016 research from Ryan & Huta, just the act of striving to achieve goals can sometimes lead to happiness.

2. Goals encourage us to use our strengths

When we look at what matters most to us, our passions and inner strengths become clear. Setting personal goals and action plans for ourselves is beneficial on its own. But using our personal strengths to get to these goals brings a whole new set of benefits.

Several studies have shown that using your strengths can increase self-confidence (Crabtree, 2014), encourage our engagement (Sorensen, 2014) and promote feelings of satisfaction and good health (Proyer, 2013). Utilizing strengths in pursuit of goals is a good thing for well-being.

3. Goals can clarify our behavior

The theory of goal-setting developed by Edwin Locke places intentions at the center of behavior. The very act of goal-setting directs our attention to how, why, and what we want to achieve. This shifts our intentions toward these goals, increasing focus and motivation.

Merely writing down and recording your goals is not enough to generate the kind of drive that leads to success — but it gives you something to commit to. By writing down and acknowledging your goals, you can take appropriate actions in your efforts to achieve them.

4. Goals allow us feedback

If we set a plan for ourselves, we can assess where we are, and take note of the progress we make. We can even chart this progress and development. This visual feedback gives us the insight necessary to adjust our behavior. When the feedback is positive, our brains release dopamine, giving us an instant physical reward.

By opening ourselves up for feedback, we can assess and re-align our behaviors. Doing so keeps us on track to achieve long-term goals and improve the chances of success.

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