Why Are Goals So Important to Wellness?Apr 18, 2022
Terms like “goal-setting” can be somewhat overused, especially among the personal-development crowd, so today I thought I’d take a moment to examine why exactly goals are so important for us in a tangible way.
As we are working to find healing, and as we are working to find better wellness and more joy in general, goals help us out in several concrete ways. Here’s a quick list of seven "goal benefits":
1. Goals give us direction on a large scale.
They tell us where our life is going. Without them we tend to flounder and move sideways at best or even go backwards. If you don’t believe me, then just try going through all of this year without any goals and see how you feel and where you end up by December (that isn’t an actual suggestion, by the way). Bottom line: We human beings need goals to act as our compass and map.
2. Goals give us structure in the near-term.
They provide a framework for our daily life. Goals help us to set weekly and daily routines and schedules. They give us reasons to wake up in the morning, and they give us something to feel good about at night. If you work toward a goal each day, even for a short amount of time, this helps you to sleep better at night because you feel accomplished and productive.
3. Goals ensure that sure we are always developing and growing.
A quick formula that I will throw at you here is this: Dreams + Goals = Personal Development. Think of a few dreams you might have (whether professional, financial, health-related, or whatever), and set a few doable goals that move you in the general direction of those dreams. You do this, and over time you will see yourself develop and grow. You do this, and you will become stronger and wiser in some capacity, guaranteed. That is seeing results!
4. Goals make use of our talents.
We are each created with great potential and talents, things that are divine and truly unique. The question then is, Do we allow the world to convince us that we are average or worthless, or do we allow ourselves to be special by recognizing and developing those talents? Give yourself permission to be special, and tell yourself each day that you are worthy of sharpening and showing off your talents. Make a list of five gifts that you possess, five talents or strong suits, and set goals related to how you can develop these things.
5. Goals give us self-esteem.
I don’t have to tell you, my readers, exactly how big the business of antidepressant and antianxiety medications is nowadays. People all over the globe are swallowing these pills, and oftentimes it is because they have swallowed the idea that they are somehow “broken.” Now obviously there is the chemical imbalance line that contributes to that and I won’t even get into here, but at the heart of much anxiety and depression lies a problem of poor self-image and low self-esteem. People feel weak, powerless, victimized, heartbroken, guilty, bored, average, angry, or just plain un-loveable, and this all translates into a frightening image of life and self and poor mental and emotional health.
On the flip side, if we want to experience better wellness, it really begins with thinking better about ourselves. This allows us to create a better internal climate which then makes the world look better, too. And goals allow us to do all this.
Each time we accomplish, or even move in the direction of a goal, we feel as if we are strong, sharp, in control, talented, and yes, special. We feel as if the world is full of possibility, and we feel better about our place in that world. And if we regularly engage in this process of moving toward goals, then our self-esteem is fed in a positive way continually. That is a recipe for better health.
6. Goals give us fulfillment.
A sense of fulfillment is crucial to feeling “alive.” We can have all of the riches and all of the security in the world, but if we aren’t feeling fulfilled we will sink into an emotional abyss. We’ve all seen (and at times lived) the reality of just going through the motions of an unfulfilling existence. And maybe this happens because of a dull, soul-sucking job, or maybe it happens because we aren’t developing or expressing ourselves in our personal lives, but either way it needs to change.
Again, goals allow us to change this. Set a few goals with regards to your home life (how can you make it more loving, healthy, or just plain fun), set a few goals with regards to your work life (is it time to plan for a change, even if that means financial sacrifice at first?), set a few goals with regards to productive hobbies such as learning a language, a software package, or some other skill, and set a few goals with regards to spiritual development. These goals will help to fill your life with purpose.
7. Goals make the journey fun and rewarding.
Now this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, but life really is more about the journey than the destination. In the equation I mentioned above (Dreams + Goals = Personal Development), that personal development piece happens more because of the journey goals set us on than it does because of any end result.
So say you want to lose 10 pounds and you do; now you aren’t suddenly a more developed or happier person because you weigh less. Rather you are stronger, sharper, and more confident because of the journey you took to get to that new weight. And alongside the sweat you probably had some fun by exploring new recipes, joining a new gym, finding new walking or running routes outside, shopping for new workout clothes, etc.
No matter what goal you set, if you get serious about reaching it you will dig deep and prove something to yourself and have a little fun along the way. You will find needed excitement, discover measures of fulfillment, learn new things both about the world and about yourself, and make your life richer.
Here’s to your goals this year!
Until next time,
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