How Goals Help Us Evolve
This month I’m exploring Evolution, one of the twelve principles in my upcoming book Rewired. Evolution is about reinvention – but sometimes the concept of “reinvention” can sound intimidating and vague. How can we actually reinvent ourselves in ways that are positive and healthy? In my experience, setting goals is one of the most impactful ways we can reinvent ourselves. Setting goals is about charting a course for ourselves.It involves actively articulating where we want to go and the steps we will take to get there. Today, I’d like to explore three ways setting goals can be powerful tools in our quest for reinvention and evolution:
1) Goals help you focus on what’s important
If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping without a list, you’ve probably found yourself wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles, putting food into your cart that looks like it will taste good but food that you may not actually need. You might even leave the store without something you do need. The same way a list can keep you focused in the grocery store, goals can keep you focused in your life. When you articulate a goal, it will help you concentrate your efforts and keep you on track. You won’t just be working hard – you’ll be working smart.
2) Goals are good for your physical health
Have you ever heard of the neurotransmitter dopamine? “Dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement.” This means that as we set and achieve goals, our body gives us a natural reward. The best part? Because our brain rewards us by releasing dopamine, this “means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement.”
3) Goals help you keep track of how much progress you’ve made
This may sound like a simple benefit, but being able to see how much progress you’ve made towards a goal can be extremely powerful. If you are working towards something and you don’t have a goal, you have no way of knowing how far you’ve come or how close you are to accomplishing what you want to accomplish. When you set a goal with a tangible result, you give yourself the ability to look back at how far you’ve come. Seeing that you’ve made progress will motivate you to achieve your goal. Another benefit of knowing how much progress you’ve made is that you can create a positive feedback loop for yourself. Many times we get trapped in the cycle of berating ourselves for what we “should” be doing or haven’t yet done. When you have a goal, you can get a very real picture of what you have done, and celebrate your progress.
If you want help setting goals around your own sobriety or health, please contact me.