Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world.  They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile. A key reason they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves formal goals.  After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts.

You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray. 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.

When my friend gained 25 pounds in the five months after losing her job, her resolution for the New Year was to lose weight. But this goal had no real meaning or direction and didn’t help her lose any of those pounds. Basically her resolution was “to lose weight”, which meant her motivation soon waned and she cheated on her diet as soon as she was faced with a piece of cake! It wasn’t until she read an article about how to make a “SMART” weight-loss goal that she could transform her “lose weight” resolution into something clearer and more exciting. “SMART” is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Timeframe.

A goal needs to be as specific as possible so you can work toward it and achieve it. “Lose weight” as a goal was too vague. What exactly do you want to achieve and how? Why do you want to do it? If you don’t make your goal measurable, you can’t know when you have reached it. How much weight specifically do you want to be? Find an easy and fun way to be accountable, for example, an online food journal where you can track everything you eat and drink. Make sure your goal is realistic for you. Don’t make it too difficult or you’ll get discouraged. Do you believe it’s possible for you? Finally, set a time limit. If your goal doesn’t have a time limit, you’ll probably have trouble starting and staying motivated until the end.

Did you know your mind is like a missile? Once a missile locks onto a target it seeks it out no matter what. Well your mind is the same way. When you set a goal in the correct way, your mind will do everything to help you. For example, have you noticed that when you decide to buy a particular car, you start seeing that car everywhere? Well that’s the beginning of the goal achieving process!

There is a part of your brain called the RAS. It stands for Reticular Activating System. It is responsible for bringing all relevant information about your goal into your awareness. So perhaps being in the right place at the right time isn’t all chance! Your mind is actually helping you. But you do need to be clear about what you want in order to get the best out of it. Vague goals will only bring vague results.