“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Japanese Proverb. The gathering of human wisdom throughout centuries has gifted the people of today with valuable lessons. One of the most precious teachings that we all affiliate with, is the importance of setting goals. Is it true that no result can be achieved if we don't set specific and applicable goals?
Use your consciousness
Since the issue has philosophical implications, it would be useful to adopt the approach of the father of philosophy: Socrates. His innovative mindset was based on one phrase: “I know one, that I know nothing.” As a result, his whole teaching was based on two aspects: Taking nothing for granted and asking continuous questions for every single topic of life. Let us now try to figure out how using our consciousness is a critical part of our path in life. Why should we use it at all? Wouldn't it be better if we just followed our impulsive tendencies and let things come accidentally or as a result of “fate”? Well, firstly we have to acknowledge that humans are the only living beings on Earth, who have consciousness.
Therefore, by not using it in our lives, we set a major setback in taking full advantage of our potential. Then, of course, consciousness is largely what distinguishes us from other people. It is a valid indicator of our unique existence. Consequently, to bring back the discussion to the issue of setting goals, if we don't use our consciousness for setting our goals, chances are that we won't achieve happiness. To give an example: Following unwisely the wishes and commands of other people could have devastating effects not only on our psyche but also on the greater good. The election of Adolf Hitler is a sound example of that. Setting goals is essential for reaching your consciousness, as it will help you realise what you want from your life. Your goals should be your goals and not someone else’s. “Listening” to what your mind and heart tell you, is the first step for success.
Setting goals brings results
Since rationality leads our actions, there has to be a purpose for what we are doing in life. No one wants to wander purposelessly, like a leaf in the wind. In most aspects of our lives, the purpose is correlated to results. If our purpose is to lose weight, we weigh ourselves frequently. If we want to become competent swimmers, we calculate how fast we are swimming day by day, week by week. This is how progress is made. The will to become better in what we are doing-either it's a job-related or personal matter issue—is innate. That's why we keep trying for the best. It's important though that our goals should be realistic and manageable. There's no point in setting a goal for climbing the Everest Mountain in three months if you don't have a background in climbing. Apart from the impossibility of succeeding, setting unrealistic goals could damage your morale and lead you to false assumptions about your abilities. You are not a useless person if you fail to climb Everest. You just put too much pressure on yourself. The technique of setting milestones before reaching your final goal is proving to be the most successful one. Step by step and little by little, great achievements can be made.
Setting goals creates motivation
The whole context of setting goals is a mental one. By focusing on achieving our goals, we give meaning to our daily activities. Instead of spending our energy on meaningless movements, we take control of what we do and why we do it. But what's maybe even more crucial is the build of our motivation. Motivation to act, motivation to improve, motivation to achieve meaningful results. This is significant and can be the thin line between success and failure. People with stronger motivation are more likely to succeed, in all terms of our current lives. Wanting something badly is the first step for finally getting it. Motivation functions like the fuel in the car: It is what makes us moving.
This is why top athletes always try to find new sources of motivation, this is why some people are keeping their performances high for a long period. Take, for example, Michael Jordan or Michael Phelps. Why have they managed t to excel for so many years, in basketball and swimming respectively? Was it just their pure talent? Certainly, it was a big factor. But if it was not for their determination and their continuous effort to set new challenges for them and keep constantly motivated, it would not be enough to lead them to glory. Their solid mental state and their constant setting of new goals was the decisive factor that made them legends.
Setting goals gives control over your life
Reaching a state of mind, where the conscious setting of goals becomes like second nature, provides you with another magnificent advantage: It gives total control over your life. It's you who decides what you want to do, it's you who sets the milestones you want to reach and it's you who “judges” how well you are progressing. It makes perfect sense, as we are the ones who know ourselves better than anyone else. And it's extremely relieving to rely on you for evaluating your performances and not on another person who would constantly be over your head and command you. It all has to do with the sense of accountability. Regarding the issue of accountability though should get us thinking out of the box. Managing to become the fairest judges of ourselves can be a major step for upgrading the quality of our whole life. It's not the easiest thing to do and this is probably one of the main reasons why we usually rely on others to evaluate our performances levels. It certainly takes time to reach that point. Most certainly it is rather the outcome of a combination of numerous different factors than a linear chain of events that are based solely on cause and effect. There has to be strong will. There has to be passion. There has to be a belief. The biggest issue is what is at stake: Living a purposeful life that is worthy of praise.