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  • Writer's pictureGretchen Fox

The Benefits of Setting Goals and Tips For Sticking to Them

This post originally appeared on the Evernote blog.

Does it ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels but not getting anywhere? Do you want to make more progress in your life and career but aren’t sure how to get there? Setting goals can be the answer. Having clear objectives helps provide direction, focus, and motivation, so you can make better decisions and achieve your goals faster. So, let’s jump right into the benefits of goal-setting and our top tips on sticking to your goals.

The benefits of goal-setting

Goal-setting is an essential part of taking control of your life. When you set specific goals for yourself, it becomes easier to prioritize tasks and create a plan for success. There is also a multitude of benefits that come with setting goals—here are six of them:

More direction and focus

Goals help you stay focused on what matters most by providing a roadmap for success. When you have a clear vision of where you want to go, staying focused on what needs to get done along the way is easier.

Greater productivity

Setting goals is an excellent way to motivate yourself to take action, as they provide something concrete to work towards. Without specific targets, it’s easy to become complacent, as your focus is too broad and there are too many factors to account for. Not having a specific goal in mind also makes you more vulnerable to becoming distracted by other projects or tasks.

More time freedom

Setting achievable goals allows you to manage your time more effectively. It helps you identify areas where you can become more efficient or productive with your time. This extra time can then be used for personal development or simply doing activities you find enjoyable. And isn’t that the true goal of work-life balance: being able to make time for the things you like to do, rather than feeling like every hour is spent toiling away at the things you have to do?

Increased accountability

Having tangible targets also provides accountability, as you now have something measurable that needs to be achieved by a specific date or milestone. Of course, certain people may work better under pressure than others, so you may still want to ensure you’re planning out said targets smartly, but looming deadlines are often one of the surest ways to keep procrastination at bay.

Better decision making

When we have defined objectives in mind, it becomes easier for us to make sound decisions about the next steps for those outcomes to come true. We are less likely to get caught up in “shiny object syndrome” when we know exactly where we want to go—and how long it will take—before making any big leaps forward.

Easier motivation

Finally, setting goals gives us something tangible to strive for—which can help increase motivation and inspiration throughout the process. We are less likely to give up when something concrete is waiting at the finish line as an incentive to keep going, even when times get tough.

6 tips for sticking to your goals

Now that you understand why goal-setting is so important, let’s look at some practical ways to stick to those targets once they’ve been established.

1. Make a plan—and write it down

Writing down your plan makes it easier to visualize what you have ahead of you and what you’ll need to achieve throughout each step of the journey. It’s also helpful to break down large projects into smaller tasks so they feel more manageable, and tackle one piece at a time rather than trying to do everything at once.

Power tip: Use Evernote’s Goal Setting template to list out all of your ideal goals in a central place, and keep your plans from falling by the wayside.

2. Be specific

The more specific you can be when defining your goals, the better off you’ll be when trying to stay focused on them later down the road. Use measurable words such as “improve,” “increase,” “double,” etc., which makes tracking your progress much more tangible.

3. ‘Chunk’ your goals

Break up large projects into smaller chunks that feel easy to complete rather than overwhelming yourself with the whole enchilada from the start. This will help make your goal much less intimidating to tackle over time, and will increase your motivation to stay consistent with tackling each piece one step at a time until completion.

Power tip: Use document formatting options, like checkboxes and bullet points, to organize your goal notes into easy-to-manage checklists.

4. Make it meaningful

It’s human nature to get off-track or procrastinate on the goals that we set for ourselves. To get back to what you set out to do, you’ll need to stay motivated and remember why you set out to accomplish these goals in the first place. Make each goal meaningful from the beginning so you have an underlying reason to fall back during less motivating times.

5. Hold yourself accountable

Consistency is key to achieving your goals. Having already broken your projects into more manageable chunks, you can now set a cadence to ensure you’re consistently making progress. Then you can set reminders to periodically check in on how much progress you’ve been making.

Power tip: Use recurring tasks and set reminders for yourself in Evernote to ensure you’re staying consistent and keeping a record of your progress as you go.

6. Celebrate every win (big or small)

Last, but certainly not least, celebrate your progress and achievements, no matter how small they may seem! This helps boost morale, keeps your spirits high, and ensures you’re staying motivated to keep going toward the finish line.

Setting and achieving goals is no easy task, but with a bit of reflection, determination, and planning, it’s possible to create a roadmap that leads to success. Taking the time to break down your goals into manageable steps ensures you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged by their enormity.

That said, setting goals requires both dedication and consistency to bring your ambitions to fruition. So, if you’re ready to make changes in your life and reach those lofty heights, start with the basics: prioritize what matters most to you, create objectives rooted in tangible realities, and maintain patience as you strive toward them. With those building blocks in place, the sky really is the limit! Good luck, fellow goal-seekers!

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