The Importance of Setting Goals
Ever wondered why you could play video games for hours on end without getting bored?
Even though you get no rewards from it, no real-life benefits and sometimes not even fun out of it, you could spend days leveling up your virtual character through tedious grinding and repetitive quests.
But when it comes the time to work on yourself and develop your own skills, it takes you a lot more willpower to get things done. You struggle to do repetitive tasks even though you’re capable of doing much worse while playing video games, especially MMORPG’s.
But why is that?
Us humans crave for productive and challenging work, tasks set for us where we can complete and progress through with clear results and context.
And games like Runescape or World of Warcraft are full of work that we unknowingly crave. Work where you know exactly what to do, how to do and what your reward is going to be.
That’s one of the key aspects of video games that keep you motivated (and addicted). You have clarity and a purpose.
While we can take many lessons from this video game mentality, today I’ll focus on one of those key aspects: Goal Setting.
There are many apps that aim to gamify your life and replicate that leveling up feeling by giving you in-app coins for completing specific tasks.
And while this idea gets closer to a game itself, I feel that it doesn’t bring any extra value than just simply writing your goals on Google Keep or writing them down on your moleskine.
Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields all set goals.
Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind.
Advantages of Goal Setting
It gives us a course of action
When we set goals, it is important to not only list our long-term objectives but also the daily actions required to help us achieve them. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to set goals. It gives us a clear set of actions to follow.
Helps us avoid procrastination
Because goals are set with a specific timeframe involved, it gives us a sense of urgency and helps us to avoid procrastination. It is equivalent to setting a deadline that we have to adhere to. Since many people procrastinate, having a set of goals is powerful because it clearly states what we have to do on a short-term and long-term basis.
It breaks down our big goals into smaller chunks
When we set goals, we are essentially identifying our long-term objectives while setting short-term ones as well. It makes our targets seem less daunting because they are broken down into small chunks that are highly achievable.
Clearer Focus on what is important
Your goals give you a clear focus on what you believe to be important in life. Therefore, it is essential when setting your personal goals, you first think about what is important to you and what you really want to accomplish in life. If you take the time to truly reflect on your hopes and dreams, your goals will center on what is important to you.
You then will systematically and consciously focus your attention on what is important to you. If you do not set well thought out goals, you tend to spend your time doing things that are not important to you.
“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” – Denis Watley
It is a visual reminder
When we set goals and review them often, they serve as a visual reminder of our priorities and aspirations. It acts as a visual reminder and, when done regularly, can be extremely useful by affecting our subconscious mind in a positive way.
Call to Action
All these benefits sound very pretty and life-changing, but I bet 95% of the people reading will simply agree and ignore, or start doing this for one day and give up.
Maybe most of you already know about the importance of goal setting and are here just because they’re addicted to reading self-help articles (yes, that’s a thing).
But do you want to know why you won’t stick to this habit even though you know all these benefits exist?
Because you’re lazy to write them down! In video-games your goals just magically appear on your quest list and they even tick themselves when you’re done.
Unfortunately, in real-life we still haven’t found a way to automate that (yet). But there are some things you can do to track some of your stats and keep track of your goals automatically.
The best solution we have at the moment is to get a smartwatch.
A cheap one like this, you don’t need a fancy apple watch.
As long as it can track your steps, kilometers, calories, etc, it’s perfectly fine.
And yes, it’ll only allow you to track fitness related goals (and some more, if you’re creative), but what I’ve found through my personal experience is that once I started recording steps and sleep time with my smartwatch, I started to enjoy seeing those numbers more are more, and eventually I started recording more data, like the time it took me to sprint a certain distance.
And seeing those numbers getting better and better, they kept motivating me to track all the different aspects of my life. Until I got to the point that I started journaling and writing down my thoughts. Only after months of tracking my fitness progress. A true snowball effect.
Remember: Like everything, start with the easy stuff first!