Chances are that you've come across several resources about goal-setting before.
Whether it's from books, blog posts, seminars, or podcasts, it seems each one of those is designed to help you set and accomplish goals efficiently and effectively.
But then there are those other things.
The unexpected effects no one talks about. The mindset shifts that are required of you. The things you don't realize you'll need to do.
As you dive deep into goal-setting, you may want to consider other factors involved that could help motivate you and steer you in the right direction. Here are five of them.
1. You can’t predict the future but...
When you examine a person's goals, you’ll notice that it’s usually an outcome they need to work towards or a personal transformation that they need to undergo.
Whether it's to start a company, run a marathon, or become fit and healthy, notice how goal-setting is essentially a future-oriented process. But since the future itself is unpredictable, this is where it gets tricky because we don’t know what will happen later today, tomorrow, one year from now, or five years from now.
If our goals for the future are based on a future that we can’t see, determine, or predict, does this mean that goal-setting is useless?
No. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Goal-setting becomes all the more important because it allows us to visualize the kind of future that we want, plan for it, prepare for it, and work towards making it a reality.
Action step: Imagine the kind of future you want and map out a plan to turn that goal into reality. Include all possible scenarios or obstacles and how you plan to deal with them.
2. Consider your environment because...
As you set goals, it's important to recognize that your environment will influence your decisions.
Maybe you and your spouse are expecting a new baby so you're thinking of starting a home-based business.
Perhaps your boss is becoming more and more unreasonable so you're looking into freelancing on the side.
You might have watched a documentary about the effects of poor health habits so you decide to eat better and exercise regularly.
It's critical to keep these kinds of environmental factors in mind because these are all part of your "why."
Your "why" is the foundation necessary to set and accomplish your goal. It will help you overcome obstacles along the way and it will guarantee that you're working towards something truly relevant and important to you, instead of wasting time and effort on things that aren't.
Action step: Identify the factors that affect your current goal and use it as fuel to stay focused and motivated.
3. Goal-setting can take you away from the present but...
Because goal-setting is a future-oriented process, this might mean that there'll be times you're unable to make the most of the present.
Maybe while talking to your spouse, your mind wanders off to how to improve your website conversions.
Perhaps during playtime with your kids, you end up brainstorming blog post topics you could write about.
During Thanksgiving, you might get caught up checking and answering emails on your laptop.
Whether this happens to you constantly or occasionally, know that it's normal especially when you feel so passionate about your goals. But this is why it's extremely crucial to set boundaries.
Pursuing your goals at the expense of living in the moment and being 100% present for your loved ones isn't much of a "win" when you think about it.
Action step: Review when and how long you work on your goals. Make sure this doesn't interfere with making the most of the present, being grateful for what you have and where you are now, and cherishing the company of the people you care about.
4. It's not just about what you'll gain...
Let’s say your goal is to lose 15 lbs. in two months through regular exercise and a strict diet.
You know that by accomplishing this goal, you’ll be more fit and healthy but at the same time, you’ll also have to consider the things you should be willing to give up.
These might include:
- Time (going out for drinks with friends, binge-watching Netflix, shopping, etc.)
- Excuses (“I don’t feel like exercising today,” “We’re on vacation so it’s okay to eat unhealthily,” “It’s too cold to go jogging outside,” etc.)
- Unhealthy habits (eating junk food, no meal planning, getting inadequate sleep, etc.)
As you dive deep into goal-setting, it’s important to always consider the trade-offs. It takes a lot more than just knowing what you want and working towards it. It’s also about giving up what you want now for what you want most in the future which requires self-discipline, accountability, and consistency.
Remember, this kind of mental preparation can effectively help you overcome possible obstacles that could steer you away from reaching your goals.
Action step: List at least three things you’re willing to give up in order to reach your goal. If you think it'll help, get an accountability partner or join a support group.
5. The other positive outcomes include...
Similar to #4, accomplishing your goal isn't limited to the specific result you were working towards. You might also want to consider other positive outcomes.
Using the previous example, becoming fit and healthy aren't the only rewards you’ll reap from all your dieting and exercising. You’ll also gain confidence, increase your energy, and develop a stronger sense of self-accomplishment.
If your goal is to start your own company, you might also enjoy financial freedom and the opportunity to control your time and resources.
If your goal is to run a marathon, you might also increase your self-discipline and improve your time management.
If your goal is to develop reading as a habit, you might also become an expert in your field and a sought-out coach in your industry.
Remember, thinking about your goal's other possible positive outcomes is beneficial because it helps you stay motivated.
Action step: Write down three possible positive outcomes you’ll enjoy when you’ve reached your goal then use it as motivation to continue pursuing it.
There's a lot more that goes into goal-setting but in order to gain perspective, it's helpful to understand how other factors could help motivate you to reach your goals. Consider your environment, other positive outcomes, what you're willing to give up, how goal-setting can help shape your future, and how to set boundaries to make the most of the present.