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The Importance of Setting Goals, Both Personal and Professional

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People who don’t set goals tend to get tangled up in minutia and begin to devote time to activities which do not help with long-term growth. Everyone has desires. Whether yours is getting a promotion, returning to school, writing a novel, or getting in better shape, it will never come to fruition if you don’t set goals.

When it comes to setting a goal, the first thing to remember is that it must be reasonable. If you set yourself a goal that is unrealistic, you will give up before you even get close to achieving it because you will be disheartened by your lack of progress.

With that in mind, here are three ways that setting goals can help you grow.

  • Prioritization: By setting yourself a challenge to work towards, you are organizing your priorities. This will give you a clearer perspective, allowing you to set your more important wishes and desires apart from the less important ones. For example, if you want to write the first chapter of your novel, you will probably decide that sitting down with a pen and paper is more important than watching your favorite TV show.
    Once you have set your goal, you’ll find it much easier to steer towards productive activities and away from ones which are wasting your free time and blocking the path to your goal. Once you do away with distractions, you’ll find the path to your goal is much clearer, and you will soon have something to show for your hard work and determination.
  • Movement: If you want to get into better shape, one of your first steps might be joining a fitness class. If your wish is to get a promotion, you might sign up for an online course to increase your knowledge of your field of business. If you complete your class or course, you can look back and see what progress you have made. You will also be able to easily identify any challenges or obstacles that made attaining your goal more difficult. This will allow you to make adjustments for putting your next goal into play.
  • Motivation: Setting a goal is making yourself a promise that you will see it through to the end. This type of commitment helps you stay focused and motivated. If you begin to struggle with your motivation, break your long-term goal into a series of more manageable short-term goals, so you can pat yourself on the back when you reach each landmark. Because you stay motivated, you will avoid slipping into the swap of procrastination and getting bogged down by worrying about whether or not to set your goals in the first place.
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Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals

Short-term goals are markers on the way to reaching a long-term goal. It’s important to have short-term goals so that you can see you are making progress and getting closer to your ultimate desire. They can help you minimize distraction and stay motivated.
Long-term goals can take a year or several years to accomplish. Your long-term goal may be to become a senior partner in your company, to expand your business overseas, or to retire by the time you are aged 50. Each time you reach a long-term goal, it is a culmination of all the short-term goals which preceded it. Over time, long-term goals may change or grow even more ambitious.

Personal Goals vs. Professional Goals

Personal goals could include losing 20 pounds, joining your community softball team, saving for an overseas vacation, learning to ride a horse, or improving a personal relationship. You need personal goals in order to feel fulfilled in life. It’s important to keep a balance between your personal and professional goals, if you satisfy one at the expense of the other you will not feel fully satisfied and may soon begin to feel depressed.

Professional goals might include advancing up the corporate ladder, starting your own business, changing careers, or going back to school to advance your current career. Everyone has a unique personal objective for their career. The important thing is to stay focused and motivated and remain on the path that is leading you to the achievement of your goal. Professional goals often have to be timed carefully, so that family and social needs are not neglected.

Whether you need to make some changes in your personal life or your professional life, setting goals is the way to get started. They will help you stay focused, avoid distractions and overcome procrastination. Remember, goals are markers to help you focus your energy in positive ways; they can be changed whenever you wish. You can drop old ones and add new ones as your life changes and progresses.