Why should we set goals? The importance of goal setting

Goals are good to have and write down. But, other than what the self-help Gurus usually say about goals, this post will address the question of why should we set goals in our lives.

All successful people set goals.

They know the importance of setting measurable goals.

In this post, you’ll learn the reasons why you should consider setting goals right after you are done reading this article.

But first, what are goals?

why should we set goals picture of arrow

A goal is the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.

Goals are objects of a person’s ambition or effort. Goals are the underlying desired results we often aim to achieve before, or while undertaking a task.

Goals can be set by an individual person, or it can be for a group of people.

For instance, an individual might have it as a goal to lose 30 pounds in a certain month.

If the company you work for is like most conventional companies, there would be bi-weekly or monthly goals to help guide their staffs.

One of those goals can be to increase the profit margin of the company by 2% for the month of October.

What goals aren’t

Goals aren’t unrealistic. Goals aren’t wishful thinking.

You know why?

Because goals are things that are actionable, measurable, and quantifiable.

If you set a goal, and there’s no way of measuring or marking the completion of that goal, then it is not yet a goal.

For instance;

  • “I want to be rich” vs “I want to earn $15,000 every month”
  • “I want to lose weight” vs “I want to lose 30 pounds in October”
  • “I want to travel the world” vs “I want to visit Italy in June”

The first statement is not a goal. At the very best, it is a dream. And although it is good to have dreams, it is too vague to be classified as a goal. Mostly because when it is achieved, it cannot be easily measured.

The second statement, however, is a solid, measurable goal that will be easy to build a plan around.

And when it is achieved, that is, the day you get that amount in your account as your monthly earning, or you weigh-in and you are 30 pounds lighter, or you get to Italy, you can immediately mark that goal as completed.

Why should we set goals?

picture of a car with a navigational system

I know you’ve probably heard somewhere that without goals, we are like ships without a navigational system.

Well, it’s true.

We just wander around on the open sea and hope that one day, we find land.

Importance of goal setting

  1. Goals put you in control of your life

a man driving a helicopter

This is the most obvious importance you can attach to goal setting.

If you wake up every morning without a goal, you just drift around.

For instance, when you go to your work and there isn’t any goal on what tasks you should accomplish for the day, you are either going to be idle or doing busy work just for the sake of it.

Any boss or co-worker that gets whiff of your idleness or busy work will start dumping their own work on your lap.

At the end of the day, most of the things you end up doing will be things you are not supposed to do or things you hate doing.

A person with a goal has control over the events he/she undertakes during the course of the day. This is speaking on a daily basis level.

If we were to look at this importance of goal over the course of a lifetime, there is an unmistakable difference between the people with goals and people without goals.

If you have life goals, it will be easier to correct course because you know exactly where you are going with your life.

Earlier, we talked about being a ship without a navigational system. Well, if you are without a goal in your life, you have no choice but to go wherever the current takes you.

This is not to say that if you have goals, you won’t get blown to another lane by life’s unpredictable events. But because you have a destination, you would be able to quickly correct course.

  1. Goals help you to achieve your dreams

the word dream inscribed on table

Dreams don’t just magically come true. Dreams that are broken down into daily, monthly, and yearly goals are far easier to achieve.

When you break down your dreams into goals, you are breathing life into those dreams.

What I mean by this is that by setting goals around your dreams, you are making the dreams actionable. For instance;

  • Having a dream of becoming a successful actor can be easily achieved by the goal of getting into acting school and learning how to speak properly and be a better actor—like Mr. Arnold Schwazenneger did.
  • Having a dream of becoming the best-built man in the world can be easily achieved by a goal of growing your body like Reg Park’s by working out like all the time—just like Mr. Arnold Schwazenneger did.
  1. Goals give you more confidence and more motivation

a confident person getting rewarded for achieving his goals

When you start setting goals, and you start achieving those goals, no matter how small those goals are, your confidence level will increase.

You’ll start thinking that if you can achieve a particular goal, you can also achieve other bigger goals.

And not only does success breeds success, but it also breeds confidence too.

The benefit of having confidence in your own ability to achieve something is priceless. That’s literally what sets successful people apart from failures.

When you get into the habit of setting goals constantly, you’ll start achieving little accomplishments and you’ll start believing in your own ability to succeed in life.

That’s why it is important to start with goals that can be easily attained at first. This will help you to rack up mini victories, which will motivate you to go after bigger goals.

For instance, a bodybuilder doesn’t gain all the muscles in a day. It is all broken down into goals of doing certain amounts of reps per day.

“From the bodybuilding days on, I learned that everything is reps and mileage. The more miles you ski, the better a skier you become; the more reps you do, the better your body.”— Arnold Schwazenneger

  1. Goals help you to manage your time effectively and achieve in record speed

a hand holding stopwatch

When you have goals, you already know what you are supposed to be doing as opposed to just drifting around the day like a paper kite in the middle of a hurricane.

This helps to conserve quality time that would otherwise be spent on your indecision.

When you create a goal on the conscious level, because it has been laid out into specifics, your subconscious mind starts working on getting you the solutions and mapping out the course to reaching that goal.

When you eventually take the actions required to achieve the goals, the solution comes to you faster, thereby making it easier to achieve the goal as soon as possible.

I’m not saying that people with goals will automatically achieve everything they want quickly because there have been people that have goals and it took them a long time to achieve it (and not for their lack of hard work).

But if you start setting goals today, the time it will take you to achieve things in your life will be considerably faster than the time it will take you to achieve those things had you not set a goal beforehand.

This leads to the next importance of goal setting, which is;

  1. Goals help you overcome procrastination

Have you ever heard of the nasty word called procrastination?

I’m guessing you have.

So, have you ever procrastinated at one point in your life?

I already know the answer is yes. But don’t worry; it happens to the best of us.

Procrastination is the nasty word associated with putting off important work and engaging in different types of time wasters.

When you start setting goals constantly, you start reducing the rate at which you procrastinate.

The main reasons why you procrastinate are because of the number of time-wasters out there in the society, your fear of failure (perfectionism), fatigue, and in some not so rare cases, your fear of success.

Fear of failing is a lack of confidence in your ability to succeed in a specific task.

But when you start setting goals and start completing them, no matter how small the goal is, confidence levels increase and this gradually removes the fear of failure from the equation.

So, the key here is to get into the habit of setting short-term and daily goals regularly and seeing them through.

With time, as you become an expert in setting goals, procrastination becomes something you only hear that other people who don’t have goals do.

  1. Goals make you more focused and more productive

When you start setting goals, you are giving yourself a point of attention.

And in life, success can only be achieved with a focus of attention.

I want you to imagine any successful person you know that didn’t set goals. I know you probably won’t find any.

When you set goals, you create a laser-like focus for your life. You know what you want and you are able to map out a plan on how to go after it.

Your goals will give you what you are going to spend your time and energy on and when energy is this focused, you are able to be more productive.

  1. Goals make you happier

With every goal you accomplish, there comes an accompanying feel-good chemical secretion in your brain.

These feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin will chemically induce happiness in you.

Goals can make you happier in any of the following ways;

  • The increase in confidence that has been associated with goal setting increases your level of happiness.
  • If your goals are things that really matter to you, the act of doing the activities related to that goal will give you a sense of accomplishment and happiness.
  • If the goals are worthwhile, when you think of the positive effects that achieving the goals will have on your life, you become more positive, and you are happier as a result.
  • Goals also make life more meaningful and purposeful.

Living on purpose

It is important to live life with a purpose. Life has more meaning and color when you live with a purpose.

When you figure out what your purpose in life is, it is easier to build goals that are centered on that purpose.

Not only is it easier to build goals when you have a purpose, but it is also easier to achieve those goals when they are purposeful.

You’ll be motivated to stick with those goals come hell or high water.

The mistake that most people make when it comes to setting goals is that those goals might not be based on their own life’s purpose.

To start with, most of the goals that people set are not theirs. They are either what other people like their parents require them to do, or they are goals based on what they think is convenient.

So, when they set goals, they stick with it for about two weeks, and after that, they run out of motivation and crash and burn.

A purpose-driven goal will last even if it is long-term, even if everyone you know is calling you crazy and discouraging you.

Let’s talk about the at one time the best-built man in the world, at one time a United State Governor, and still a box-office record-breaking actor Arnold Schwarzenegger again for a moment.

He was born in a small town in Austria. His father wanted him to be a policeman like him, but he knew his life had another purpose. So, he set other goals that at the time, where he lived, seems impossible to achieve.

Despite all the criticism and the ridicule he faced in his country, his purpose continued to fuel his goals.

When he came to America, even though he faced a lot of criticism because of his accent, his purpose kept fueling his goal of becoming a successful actor.

When he announced his intention of running for Governor, critics and skeptical people began saying that it was an impossible feat and yet, he accomplished it.


Because at that time, his goal of becoming Governor was being driven by the purpose of giving back and public service.

“Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life” — Arnold Schwazenneger.


Always strive to live your life on purpose. Live every moment, take every action on purpose.

After that, don’t be afraid to dream.

Dreams do come true!!

The next thing to do is to set goals on how you are going to achieve those dreams of yours.

If you would like to share your experiences on goal setting, use the comment section below. Spread the word by sharing this with others too.