The Art of Goal-Setting
January 9, 2022
Bianca Bravo (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer
“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.” – Og Mandino
The Importance of Goals
As we anticipate the arrival of the new year, it is natural to set new goals as we embrace a fresh start full of new opportunities. Goals reveal our growth and development and reinforce change – the good kind. Since we are constantly learning and evolving, sticking to old, traditional ways does not always work. The initiative to develop new habits and the willingness to improve is a natural part of our human nature in a fast-paced society. Goals are significant, as they keep us focused and emphasize the importance of self-discipline, where we are able to delay instant gratification for more rewarding long-term gratification.
Maintaining Balance Between Different Types of Goals
There are several types of goals, each of them crucial to our own happiness and self-development. When combined together, they maintain a balance between all aspects of our lives. They help us learn new things about ourselves that work and are suited to our abilities and lifestyles. The five types of goals we tend to focus on are career/educational goals, financial goals, personal development goals (including physical health), spiritual goals and relationship goals. Although these are all important, having too many of one but not enough of others can lead to letdown and stress in one subject, and unnecessary focus on another. For instance, as a student, having too many educational goals, such as maintaining A grades, scoring above a 1500 on the SAT and writing my applications to be eligible for good universities could make me feel burnt out if they were my only focus. I like to focus on personal development as well, such as maintaining my mental and physical health and strengthening my relationships with friends and family. Specifically, I plan on continuing to go to the gym for one-to-two hours, four times a week, and taking at least one night to spend time with loved ones. Overall, having one-to-two goals in each category maintains order and increases productivity in our lives. Too much or too little of one area can be more unhealthy than beneficial. Therefore, the key idea is to find a perfect amount of time to dedicate to goals to prevent feeling overwhelmed by other priorities.
How to Set Proper Goals and Avoid Unrealistic Ideas
Although goal-setting is a big step in the right direction, attainable and realistic goals are the ones that prove most beneficial to us. Before setting any type of goal, it is key that we reflect on our own lifestyles so that the goals we set pertain specifically to us. They will be different for everyone, and will vary throughout the different stages of life.
To further compare the difference between realistic and unrealistic goals, we can use the acronym SMART. A well-balanced goal is composed of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound principles. Along with a goal, you should have a specific, solid understanding of the steps you need to take in order to reach that goal. If it is general, broad, and needs more detail to be interpreted correctly, it is easy to slack off or feel unsure of where to start with regard to completing that goal. Additionally, goals should also be measurable and manageable within a specific amount of time, and should fit with other conflicting priorities you have. It is illogical to devote a significant amount of time to tasks of lesser priority or to achieve a long-term goal in a short period of time. Furthermore, reflect on your work ethic and time management abilities. If a goal is unfit for you to accomplish in the time you want, cut it down or alter it to fit you. Goals are meant to encourage, not discourage you. With that, remember not to compare goals with others around you, since they must pertain to your own abilities, passions and needs. Lastly, giving yourself a deadline will force you to put in the effort, which parallels the satisfaction of receiving delayed gratification. Giving too much or too little time for yourself to complete a goal is not ideal. Practice patience, but do not procrastinate, as little-to-no progress will result from it.
The Effects of Realistic Goals and its Role in Success
Overall, realistic goals will help you, in the future, become the best version of yourself. As humans, we are constantly growing and learning. Our potential is based on our mentality and whether we can dig deep enough to achieve our greatest dreams and desires. Realistic goals set us on the right path to becoming successful, happy and fulfilled.
My name is Bianca Bravo, and I am a high school student from Vancouver, BC. Some of my hobbies include writing, going to the gym and listening to music.
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