The new year is upon us. For many people, the beginning of a new year represents a clean slate. A fresh start full of possibility and potential. If you are like me, you look ahead to the new year and start planning. I have my goals for the new year laid out because it gives me motivation and drive. Goals help me to move forward with purpose and intention. There are so many reasons to set tangible goals, so let’s have a look at just a few of them.

Keep it Real, People

Let’s be clear. The key word for goal setting is “tangible”. If you set ambiguous goals, it really just sets you up for disappointment and can even sabotage your best efforts. So rather than setting a goal of a new car, go ahead and pick out that car. Look at paint colors and find the one that excites you the most. Choose your features and decide which bells and whistles you really want. Then envision yourself driving that car, smell the interior, feel the seat, imagine that it is yours. Maybe even print out a picture of the car and hang it where you can see it every day. Then write out the steps it will take to reach the goal. Maybe a certain amount of money you need to set aside each month, or how many new clients you need to obtain in a given amount of time.

The point is, the goal must be tangible. It needs to be broken into steps that are reasonably obtainable and realistic. Lofty goals are fine, as long as you can envision the steps to bring them into reality.

Tangible Goals Reveal Our Truest Desires

Let’s talk about the act of sitting down and writing out your goals. Imagine a blank page before you. Much like the clean slate that a new year represents, this blank page is ready to be filled with possibility. You are in the driver’s seat. You get to plan and choose and decide what you really want. You may already know exactly what you are striving for and just need to write out the steps. Or you may look ahead to the coming year and you aren’t really sure where you are headed. That’s okay.

Take some time with this. Spend some time asking yourself some pointed questions. “What do I really want?” “Where do I see myself at the end of the year? In 3 years?” Meditate on those questions. Dig deep inside yourself to find the answers. And don’t shy away from what you find. The answers to these question reveal your values, your character, and your deepest dreams and desires. Now, go for it.

Tangible Goals Give Focus

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18). I have seen this time and time again. People want to achieve more, to move up in their jobs, to experience personal growth, etc. But they don’t establish a vision and set tangible goals to that end. And they stay stuck in the same dead-end job, continue to be unhealthy or overweight, dissatisfied, and, well, stuck.

When you have clear, compelling goals, your focus is naturally mobilized toward actionable behavior.

Goal setting motivates you to take steps to make your dreams and desires a reality. For example, if you have a goal to rank up in your company with no action steps, it is unlikely that you will get very far. On the other hand, if you set a goal of signing up a certain number of people or teaching a reasonable number of classes per month, you will be driven to take steps that will help you reach the desired outcome.

Tangible Goals Give You a Way to Measure Progress

Progress is addicting. Seriously. When we achieve a goal, it causes a release of dopamine in our brains. This release consequently increases desire or motivation towards the reward. So you see, every bit of progress increases our desire and pushes us to achieve more. A bit of success motivates us to keep on keeping on. What’s more, setting tangible goals gives benchmarks by which we can measure our progress and see the possibility of the end goal. Setting goals = motivation.

Tangible Goals Help You Overcome Procrastination

Most people are motivated by goals. When we set our focus on a passionate desire, direction and self-accountability naturally follow. In this way, setting goals helps us to overcome procrastination. If there are concrete steps or intentions planned out, we instinctively know that if we shirk those responsibilities, we let ourselves down.

Think of it as a healthy way of manipulating your frontal lobe. This portion of your brain is in charge of organization, decision making, and problem solving. Give the frontal lobe a task and a deadline, and it seeks to complete the task. It lights the fire beneath those dreams and comes up with the necessary steps to bring them to reality.

Tangible Goals Build Character

Setting goals is a way of being intentional about making an effort to work towards self-improvement. This self-accountability not only reinforces the desires of your heart, it also gives you a means of working towards improving and strengthening different areas of your life. The mere act of setting goals and evaluating what you really want is beneficial to developing a healthy mindset of personal growth. And the pursuit of goals builds self-efficacy. It strengthens your self confidence as you see yourself as a person who can achieve goals.

How about you? Do you have any great tips about setting goals? Comment and share them with the community!

When you are ready to sit and write out those goals, try this Focus Roll-On!

Have you set a goal to grow a business, and need guidance on where to start? Apply for small group coaching in the next session of Brand Strategies Lab.