It’s the time of the year when we look at goals we have set, celebrate the wins, and let go of the losses. It is also that time, when we gear up for the next year – with new resolutions, new milestones to meet, and the promise of a more successful or productive year. So, we want to help you set goals that work!

Since goals are a part of our daily life, the thought of listing some of them might be exhausting. But, here’s some insight into why goals are important:

  • Goals help you take charge. Research has shown that proactive actions like setting your own goals, timelines and action steps, increases your sense of agency – the ability to feel in control of your life, to believe in your capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior. More agency positively impacts our well-being.
  • Working on goals makes you happy. Intrinsic goals, which relate to our personal needs, like growth (skill-building, learning, stability), relationships, and well-being, contribute directly to our happiness. This, as opposed to extrinsic goals like money or fame. Thus, set goals that match your personal needs. Ask what are they helping you achieve, that can make your life better?
  • Goals help build your identity. When we take ownership of something, we are more committed to it. Called the ‘endowment effect,’ this makes things or experiences ‘ours’, thereby integrating them into our identity. That in turn fuels our sense of purpose. And millennials are all about purpose.

Now that we have the ‘why’ in place, let’s look at how to set goals right. We’ll let the experts speak:

  1. Aim for perfection, stop fearing failure, says Jon Bowers, Manager of Learning at UPS. “Perfectionism is an attitude developed in delivering accurately on small things and then applying them to the larger job. If you can’t get the little things right, you’re going to fail when it counts.” It’s okay if you fail at small action steps. Just redo till you get them right. That’s the way to achieve the goal.
  2. Think beyond the immediate, into the long term, says Ari Wallach, leadership coach. He proposed something called ‘longpath’, which involves three ways of thinking – transgenerational, futures, telos. The idea behind it: “we treat the future like a noun. It’s not. It’s a verb. It requires action. It requires us to push into it. It doesn’t wash over us. It’s something that we have total control over.”
  3. Keep your goals to yourself, says Derek Sivers, CEO of MuckWork. Repeated tests have proven that sharing your goal makes it less likely to happen. That’s right. When you tell someone about your goal and they acknowledge it, what researchers call as ‘social reality’ happens – the mind is tricked into feeling that it’s already done. And because you feel that satisfaction, you’re less motivated to do the actual task.

What is your relationship with goal-setting? If you have ideas that have worked, head over to the comments and let us know.

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