Seven Reasons Why Goals Matter

Jan 26 20:04 2007 Kevin Eikenberry Print This Article

There is sweet satisfaction when a goal is met or exceeded. Many - if not all - have heard about the power of goals and goal setting. For the unconvinced - or those who might need a refresher - here are seven reasons why goal setting really matters.

Joanna was a great employee.  She cared about her work.  She worked hard.  And she really wanted to succeed.  But after a couple years of hard work and long hours,Guest Posting she felt like she was just spinning her wheels because she wasn't making the progress – personally or professionally – that she had hoped she would by now.

She talked to Tom, a person she considered a friend and mentor, and shared her feelings.  Tom asked her about her goals. 

Joanna paused, feeling a bit tentative.  Then she shared some general comments about what she hoped to achieve in her work and how she hoped her work would contribute to her life. 

Tom listened carefully, but she could sense he was waiting for more.  And he was.  Then Tom quietly suggested that Joanna’s goals weren't clear enough, and he encouraged her to set some more specific goals for the future.  That action, he said, would be a way for her to both improve her results and lead to higher personal satisfaction.

Joanna walked away from that conversation resolved to set some goals.  She bought a book on goal setting and read it cover to cover.  The concepts in the book made sense, and she decided on the weekend she would set goals using the approach the book suggested. 

But the weekend came and went, as did the whole next week.  Then the next weekend passed, along with the weekend after that – and Joanna still hadn’t set any goals.  She rationalized that she was just too busy.   She was working too hard, and she didn't have time to stop and set her goals; besides she already knew what she wanted to accomplish.

Six months later she visited with Tom again.  He asked how her goal setting had gone and about the successes he suspected she was having since they last talked.  She replied with a mix of sheepishness and defiance that she didn't have time for goal setting, that she knew what she wanted to achieve, and that it would take too long to follow a goal setting process.  She knew she just needed to get to work.

Again Tom listened closely and while he didn't pass judgment, he did tell Joanna that when she was really ready to make greater progress, goal setting would be the answer.  Joanna asked him why goal setting was so important, and he gave her The Seven Reasons Goal Setting Matters:

1.  Goals create accomplishment instead of activity.  Most of us are extremely busy – running from meeting to meeting and task to task focused primarily on how to be more productive and get more accomplished in our day.  But when our focus is on the tasks and the busyness we lose track of any accomplishment – in effect we are focusing only on the activity itself.  Goals help us look beyond the activity and get clear on what we really want to accomplish.

2.  Goals give us direction.  You wouldn't get in your car to go on a trip without knowing your destination.  A destination provides purpose for our effort.  A destination gives us a reason for our efforts.  A destination gives us a way to monitor our progress and keeps us on track.

3.  Goals capitalize on the brain’s amazing powers.  Our brains are problem-solving, goal-achieving machines.  Our brains operate best when they are seeking a solution to a problem.  When we have a goal, our mind sees it as a problem to be solved and gets to work (with or without our conscious influence) on achieving the goal.

4.  Goals make life easier.  If nothing else, reasons one, two and three improve our productivity.  They help us work smarter no matter what the work is.  And when we work smarter, our life gets a whole lot easier.  Who doesn't want to do things that make life easier?

5.  Goals help us go faster.  When we know our destination we can get to it more rapidly.  Yes, any goal setting process requires some planning time, but that time will be repaid many times over.

6.  Goals create satisfaction.  How do you feel when you achieve something you care about?  How do you feel when you don't know if you're making progress?  Goals create satisfaction by giving us the targets to shoot for and therefore the sense of accomplishment when we know we have reached them.

7.  Goals create confidence.  There’s hardly any greater confidence booster than achieving something you have specifically set out to do.  Setting goals and accomplishing them gives us the confidence to set even greater goals; stretching ourselves to greater performance in the future.

Joanna left lunch thinking about the seven reasons Tom had just shared with her and again determined to make goal setting a part of her immediate future.  Only time will tell if she takes advantage of the many benefits goals setting would bring.

But more important than Joanna’s story, is yours.

Do you set goals?  If so, are they ambitious enough and are they focused on the great accomplishments that await you?  If you don’t have any real goals right now, at least consider these seven reasons and the advice they suggest. 

Set some goals.  You can start small, but at least start.  A brighter future awaits.

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Kevin Eikenberry
Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential go to or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.

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