What actually is a goal?
A goal is a desired result which is planned for in the future.
So why do we need goals?
A goal is the target to shoot your arrow at. Without a goal, you’re aimless, wasting effort and energy.
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. – Zig Ziglar
Goals help you to measure progress.
Goals give you mental boundaries. They help you to choose what to do and what not to do. For example, if you have the goal of going to bed at 10pm, you know that staying up to 11pm is past that goal.
Goals give you motivation, they trigger behaviour. If you have a goal, you know you need to DO something.
What’s the different between goals and vision?
Vision is a big picture goal. Goals are the practical steps towards that vision. We need both- vision to keep us inspired and focused, and goals to know how to actually get there and what to do next.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” –Lawrence J. Peter
Keep it small
Set small goals. Often when we get a vision we get super excited and we set big hard-to-achieve goals. Then we don’t know how to actually get them done, or we get discouraged or distracted. Don’t set yourself up for failure, break it down. Set small, bite-sized goals- just like when you get a big piece of food you chop it up into pieces before you put it into your mouth; do the same for goals.
Have a plan
First work out what you want to achieve, your big picture vision or your goal. It could be something big like seeing every person in the world have access to education or a bit smaller like going for a walk everyday in the sunshine.
Then work out every step to get there, from the first thing you need to do to the last thing until it’s achieved. Don’t skip anything. Then get started with the first step.
When we break things down into achievable steps we are much more likely to hit those goals than if we have a vague idea of what we want to do but have no idea how to get there. So make sure to sit down and actually write out a clear step-by-step plan of how to achieve your goal.
Here’s your reward!
Make sure to have a reward at the end for when you achieve your goal or an incentive for each step of your goal. I’ve had charts where I’ve ticked off if I did a task each day, and at the end of the week if I did five days, I gave myself a trip to a café. Having a reward gives you an extra reason to achieve your goal, and hey it’s good to celebrate wins!
Practical Goal Setting in Our World
At Burn Bright we work with young people running student leadership and wellbeing programs in schools. One of our passions at Burn Bright is for the adults in young people’s worlds to help them with how they set goals and encourage them in their goal setting. Helping them to set goals in a good way may just benefit their wellbeing and mental health. If you’d like to explore practical ways to encourage thoughtful goal-setting habits in your young person, click here to take a look at our courses that explore topics such as goal-setting, values, leadership, and wellbeing.