After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not! When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals. Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. Dopamine affects your ability to concentrate, focus and remember information and impacts your quality of sleep. Your body knows that if it achieves an objective, your mind will flood the body with dopamine, causing you to feel happy and fulfilled. Dopamine happiness feels invigorating and energizing. People with low levels of dopamine might deal with depression or other mood disorders and can have trouble staying on task and remaining focused. This is the science of happiness! But do you always apply the rule? Your goal must be clear and well defined. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up. Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have achieved something. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence. However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases, and achievement will come that much quicker. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all the steps that are needed along the way. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Remember, properly setting goals for success is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced.
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